Our need to connect and to feel loved is extremely powerful. In primitive times being accepted as part of your tribe meant safety in a world that was unpredictable and potentially hostile. Today humans continue to need to feel accepted by their tribe however, unlike primitive times, today we belong to more than one tribe.
Our family is just one tribe we belong to, so are work colleagues, school friends, friends we socialise with etc and yet despite being a member of several different tribes, the fear of being ostracised and abandoned is still very real for some people. Positive human relationships are vital for us to feel connected. When we feel rejected by our ‘main’ tribe we will seek out a replacement tribe which may or may not be beneficial.
The world of social media often fulfills this need but the relationships can be one dimensional and often built on dishonesty leaving participants or tribe members extremely vulnerable. Disillusioned young people are often drawn to become gang members out of a need to feel they belong and yet often become embroiled in gun violence as one tribe seeks to dominate another or seeks to protect it’s ‘territory’ or business ‘activity’ with gang members often paying the highest price.
Never before has the need for connection been so unfulfilled by human relationships and yet never before has the need for human relationships been so important. What can we do? We can reach out to family members, to colleagues, to old friends as a means of maintaining and strengthening a sense of connection but also by being prepared to pursue activities which offer the possibility for new positive connections with those from other tribes because the most important tribe we all belong to is the human tribe and our basic human needs are the same.