When you tell someone that a bunch of keys belongs to you, what you mean is that they’re yours.
You own them.
If, however, you talk about belonging to a club, society or religion, it’s almost certainly not the case that you’d regard that particular organisation as ‘owning’ you.
You may simply mean that you’re a member.
But of course the word ‘belong’ can infer something more emotive than mere membership.
In my childhood, the television puppet pigs Pinky and Perky sang ‘We belong together’, in a way that I guess was supposed to suggest that their being together was meant to be.
I just discovered, by the way, that Pinky and Perky’s high pitched singing was achieved by recording, and then speeding up, the voice of Mike Sammes, whose group The Mike Sammes Singers – much to my astonishment – also performed backing vocals on The Beatles’ ‘I Am The Walrus’.
But I digress.
It’s often said that feeling you’re part of something bigger plays an important role in maintaining a healthy state of mental wellbeing, but rather than this necessarily implying that you have to be one of a large crowd of connected others, it seems to be more about the thought of belonging to something which is somehow bigger than the sum of its parts.
Whilst this could indeed be brought about by active involvement in some kind of giant religious, political or social movement, I think it can also manifest itself at a more modest scale when you and one other person have some kind of special relationship.
This could be through a life partnership – a marriage, for example – but it might equally come about through a close friendship with someone, one in which the two of you support and bring out the best in one another.
Pinky and Perky’s rather obvious strings would have made it hard for them to not belong together, but why not have a think today about who in your life either is, or has the potential to be, someone that makes you feel you’re part of something bigger when you’re with them.
Then, if this relationship needs a little tender care, don’t be afraid to administer it.