Such a simple word for a huge concept. Whether it’s a part of a family, friends or coworkers, most people have an inherent desire to be an important part of something greater than themselves. Most people strive to be part of a group or a profession where they feel valued, appreciated, respected and where they can truly make a difference.
Never, in modern times, have so many nurses been so challenged to reframe or regain their sense of belonging and purpose. COVID’s tentacles run wide and deep, and continuous, fueling an emotional rollercoaster full of highs, lows and everything in between. Anger, fear, exhaustion, lingering sadness, intense hope, loneliness, isolation, profound pride, helplessness and numbness…these are just a partial description of the feeling’s nurses have reported. In some cases, the effect has been so difficult to navigate that they have chosen to leave the profession.
If this resonates with you, how do you regain your sense of belonging and purpose? Start with improving the way you treat yourself. Creating a stronger foundation of self greatly aids in creating your own philosophy of life and your own personal laws. Observe yourself in different situations and make sure you are honoring yourself with your words, thoughts and actions. Is your self-talk supporting a positive vision of yourself or is it destructive and toxic? Are you unknowingly dragging around an emotional ball and chain that is robbing you of your sense of belonging and purpose?
Realize that, just as you tell your patients, you also need to take the time to heal yourself. When you don’t take that time, you may find yourself belonging to the wrong group of people for where you want your life to go. Be mindful of falling into the trap of an emotional vampire, and commit to belonging to groups with others who are positive, uplifting and want to see you live your best life. Forgive where you need to, including yourself, and be open to new opportunities to express your talents. You may find that you feel a renewed sense of belonging and purpose in an area you never thought of!
When we develop our own philosophy of life and create our own personal laws—those beliefs will nourish and support us through uncertain times.
Reflective practices such as journaling, meditation or investing in a professional life coach can support your efforts to feel unstuck, lonely or unsure of your life’s direction. Friends are wonderful and necessary but may only tell you what they think you want to hear, don’t want to hurt you or even have their own agenda. MAKE the time to sit in silence and deeply listen to what your heart is trying to tell you. This is where the magic happens!
Thoughts and beliefs are changeable. Our nursing world is one of unlimited possibilities and ways to contribute. We have an incredible opportunity to reinvent ourselves but this requires courage, vulnerability and a heavy dose of self-love and respect. Nurses have taken a gut punch in the past couple of years. Now, more than ever, our profession needs an inspired, healthy workforce. Find your “True North”, your tribe with whom you deeply belong and renew your sense of purpose by making and taking the time to reconnect with yourself. YOU make a difference in so many lives so bring your best YOU!
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Kim’s featured article in Liquid Compass.