Does One Truly Need to Belong?: A Case for the Need to Meaningfully Exist


Baumeister and Leary's (1995) seminal work on the 'Belonging Hypothesis' proposed an important theory which catalyzed an abundance of research predicated on the hypothesized essential need for humans to establish and preserve interpersonal relationships. However, this premise cannot fully explain certain human phenomena that have historically occurred, including the existence of psychopathology, self-selected seclusion, and unrequited love. Thus, the need to belong is unlikely to be a vital motivation capable of encompassing the needs of all human beings. Instead, this paper proposes the need to meaningfully matter, or, to find meaning within one's life, regardless of one's relation to others, as a primary motivation from which the need to belong emerges.

Last updated on 02/09/2016