Togetherness over the past few years has been a mixed bag of emotions.  At times, due to the pandemic, not being able to be physically together but possibly feeling a sense of togetherness as we all go through the tough times.

Have we over the decades lost a sense of togetherness as our work becomes more remote and we no longer live in the villages or towns of our family generation?

In the 20th century people weren’t so mobile in where they could work or chose to live.  We stayed within the reach of our family; bound by constraints of work and tradition.  There was no need to move beyond the boundaries of the village or town.  Generations would work in the same employment, babies born and cared for within the extended family group.  Togetherness was familial and cultural.  There was a safety, a surety, of knowing where you belonged and who was there to support you.

This togetherness was amplified during the two world wars.  People came together for the good of the country, doing their bit for a wider purpose.  I expect information that was available was heavily censored but people felt a sense of duty “we are all in it together”.

As we neared the end of that century and into the 21st we were able to leave the towns and villages of our birth, to seek better employment, opportunities.  Communication advances still gave that connection of belonging, if not being able physically to be in the same space.  As technology has increased we have expanded even further away across the world but remained in touch with our nearest and dearest.  But is there still a sense of togetherness, a sense of belonging or has that been eroded?

Hands together

Is the opposite of togetherness loneliness?  If so, we know that there has been a huge increase in people feeling lonely which increases the impact upon mental and physical wellbeing.

How do you create a feeling of togetherness?  It is the basic need of being human, a sense of belonging, a social connection with others around you and that can be hard to find for some.

Being online through social media can create loads of connections but are they meaningful?  We may know so many more people in our current lives but do they all bring togetherness?

The pandemic created, initially, a sense of belonging – of trying to navigate our way collectively through uncertainty.  We shared a common problem, being confined in lockdown created more understanding and kindness with each other.  However it also exacerbated loneliness, neighbours not being able to pop in to others’ houses, support services for the vulnerable being restricted, and fear of not joining in with groups.

We need to get back to a state of togetherness, of kindness with each other, of creating meaningful relationships, of feeling that we belong.  Joining groups or activities that have a common interest is a great way to be together.  Being aware of what is happening in your town or village, getting to know your neighbours.

Like most change it comes with effort and persistence but let’s try to be inclusive of everyone and amplify that sense of togetherness once again.  In his book “Hello Stranger” Will Buckingham explores the joys and pitfalls of being a stranger and how with openness and curiosity a sense of togetherness can be created.