Lennox’s experience of finally feeling like she was at peace in Ghana is an example of one of the most human needs: the need to belong. From as far back as the era of hunter-gatherer communities, we have existed in groups and our children have always been raised by a village. In the book What Happened to You by Dr. Bruce Perry & Oprah
, Dr. Perry explains that “a strong connection to community is as important today as it was thousands of years ago. The tragedy of the modern world is that community like this is harder and harder to find… Not everybody feels like they belong. There is a direct relationship between a person’s degree of social isolation and their risk for physical and mental health problems.” What I have come to learn through my childhood living in Malawi, Kenya, and different parts of the world is that the essence of belonging is acceptance — one doesn’t exist without the other. When someone looks at you for what may be the first time in your life and says, “I see you for everything that you are and you are welcome here,” it’s not only empowering but it can give you a sense of home that you may have never felt before.