By: Amber Brandt, the Coziness Consultant
You’ve heard the saying, “good fences make good neighbors,” but I actually think people who say “you belong with me" make the best neighbors.
As part of a volunteer training I took a few years ago, our leader identified three core needs that are central to every person: identity, mission, and belonging.
- Identity - When I’m seen for who I am and what I can uniquely offer, I’m empowered to live into my identity more fully.
- Mission - When I’m able to contribute to something larger than myself, I realize my significance and impact in the world.
- Belonging - When I’m welcomed and celebrated, I feel connected and at home.
Naming these three needs has become central to how I interact with others, and to understanding my own personal motivations. As I’ve become more keenly aware of my need to satisfy these longings, I’ve noticed that when they’re met, I experience greater fulfillment and peace. There’s a strong and direct correlation.
Why wouldn’t I want to do my part to make sure everyone I encounter feels the same?
As The Coziness Consultant, I spend much of my time helping people create spaces that are welcoming and cozy, but I’m always after something even deeper — asking: what do they value? How do they want to live in their space, and how they want other people to feel when they visit? I personally believe the best way to create cozy is to create spaces of belonging. When my home becomes a true extension of me, it’s easier to welcome people in and let them know just how much they matter.
So then, what does it look like to create a safe, cozy space of belonging for your neighbor? Here are a few ideas:
- Buy and gift a cozy blanket
- Share a meal and sit down face to face and connect
- Learn the bus route so you can help them navigate the city
- Take a walk together
- Stay informed on community issues and vote
- Buy them a bouquet of fresh flowers or a wreath for their door
- Drive them to the store
- Share and swap holiday traditions
- Discover their favorite hot drink and surprise them with a cup
- Bake together
- Love their children
As we lean into the Christmas season and welcome the new year, take stock of the home you’ve created. Is it a safe place to land? Does it extend a cozy welcome to our newest neighbors and friends? If not, tap into and name those deeper values you wish to extend—and I guarantee, you’ll cultivate a place of belonging for those who need it most.