Belong by Radha Agrawal is about connecting with people by joining and building communities. The premise is we all feel happier when we are connected to other people. In fact, Radha says “having weak social ties is as harmful to our health as being an alcoholic, and twice as harmful as obesity” – scary.
The aim of the book is for you to become “aware of who you are and intentional about what you want so that you can go out and build your dream community.” Therefore the book includes sections on understanding yourself and caring for your own wellbeing and energy levels as well as interacting with other people.
Why I wanted to read it
I had the opportunity to read a pre-release electronic copy of Belong through Netgalley*. And I was keen as I’ve struggled to make friends and join communities. I think because I’ve feared being rejected, which happened frequently when I was at school.
As I’ve got older, and more confident in myself, I’ve started building stronger friendships and communities. However, I’m not sure how. Is this because of my own actions or other people’s? So basically I was keen to read Belong as I felt there was a lot I could learn about connecting with people. Plus I have started a local blogging group and hoped it would give me some tips on how to make it more of a community.
I have to be honest that I found so many intersting points in this book I initially had a ridiciously long list here. However, I’ve focussed on the points that really had an impact on me. If you’ve read Belong, I would love to know which messages had an impact on you.
- Belonging is about shared values and responsibility, and the desire to participate in making your community better. It’s about taking pride, showing up, and offering your unique gifts to others. You can’t belong if you only take.
- Appearing to be perfect can actually be intimidating and scary for others and can make it hard to be approachable—it’s tough to relate to someone who projects perfection! Our weird quirks and unique qualities make us relatable.
- When you are dedicated to showing up daily, weekly, or monthly, your friends and community can count on that and in turn, will start showing up for you too.
- The energy you put out is the energy you get back. Negative energy breeds negative community. Positive energy breeds positive community.
- Your energy is felt by those around you and it is within your power to control and change it with our thoughts and actions
- Saying no to misaligned or depleting communities will give you the space to be a [great friend] for those who inspire a real sense of belonging.
- Showing up means helping out. Showing up means adding value. Showing up means wagging your tail. It’s also about being CONSISTENT and patient. Belonging develops over time.
- If we don’t know what our voice is, we’ll constantly seek validation from others to tell us what is “acceptable” or “cool.”
- To feel connected to anything in life, participation is KEY
Should you read Belong?
You have probably already picked up that I really liked this book. It has helped me understand more about myself, what I can do to build communitities and actions other people have taken to build communitities. For example, eating together and dressing up. During my life, I haven’t been to many fancy dress parties, but I’ve been to two this year and had an amazing time. Probably because as Radha says “life is way more fun when we make excuses to dress up. When you dress up together, there’s a camaraderie that’s created and you feel a deeper sense of belonging.” What costume parties have you enjoyed?
The only negative I have about the book is the use of so many acronymns such as FYF (fuck year friend) and FOBLO (fear of being left out). Some of them were used through out the book and I didn’t remember what they were so I had to keep looking back to remind myself.
I highly recommend Belong to people who want a greater sense of belonging or just want some tips on how to build a strong community. I’ll finish with a quote that is my biggest take away from the book “the big secret to keeping community alive is to Give Give Give.”
*Disclaimer – I received an electronic version of this book in exchange for a review, all comments are honest and my own. This post also contains affiliate links which means if you buy something after following a link I will earn a percentage of the value but it does not cost you any more.