Is it better to feel rooted or feel free to move?

The article talks about feeling rooted or free to move in today's world. It discusses the benefits of having roots for stability and relationships, and the advantages of being unrooted for personal growth. The author shares their journey of finding a balance between stability and freedom, stressing the need to understand changing needs and find inner belonging.

Maayan Szmelcman Yerushalmy

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Smoozitive Magazine/Family & Wellness/Is it better to feel rooted or feel free to move?

The concept of belonging is a fundamental aspect of human existence. Having a place you feel safe, comfortable, and connected, is something most of us long for. But in today's globalized world, the idea of belonging has become more complex. With the rise of global mobility, people are constantly on the move, leaving behind their roots and searching for a sense of belonging in new places.

This got me thinking, is it better to feel rooted or free to move? And can you have both?

In this article, we will explore the benefits and drawbacks of both options.

The Importance of Having Roots​

Feel Like You Belong​

Having roots means having a sense of belonging. It's the feeling of being connected to a place, a community, and a culture. This sense of feeling rooted is important for our well-being and mental health.

Simone Weil said "To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul." And while I highly appreciate her, I am not sure I agree.

But I do understand why roots, and feeling rooted can be something so important for our well-being.

Some studies even researched the connection between the feeling of belongingness and people's self esteem. They found that people who feel like they belong have higher self-esteem, are more resilient, and have better overall mental health.

Finding Stability and Security​

Roots give us a strong feeling of safety and stability, which is important for our health.

When we have a place to call home, we are able to establish a sense of permanence and continuity in our lives, which in turn helps us navigate through the ups and downs that life inevitably throws our way.

This foundation of stability becomes even more important during times of change or uncertainty, as it gives us a solid ground to stand on and helps us weather the storms that may come our way.

Having roots helps us feel in control of our lives and gives us strength to deal with challenges.

Building Strong Relationships

Having roots also allows us to build strong relationships. When we are part of a community, we have the opportunity to form meaningful connections with others. These relationships can provide support, companionship, and a sense of belonging. They can also help us grow and learn from different perspectives.​

Free like a bird

After exploring the need of having roots, you might think it's better to stay all your life in one place, feel strong, secure, surrounded by great relationships and feel great emotionally and mentally.

But where is the fun in that?

So let's explore the other side of the roots - the freedom to move.

Experiencing New Things​

One of the main drawbacks of having roots is the feeling of stagnation. When we are rooted in one place, we may feel like we are missing out on new experiences and opportunities.

One of the biggest benefits of being unrooted is the opportunity to experience different things. When we allow ourselves to move, we are exposed to new languages, new customs, new cultures and ways of life. This broadens our perspective and helps us understand and appreciate others.

Broaden Your Horizons​

Having roots can also limit our perspective. When we are part of a community, we may be surrounded by people who share similar beliefs and values. As comforting and reassuring as it is, this can also create an echo chamber and limit our exposure to different ideas and perspectives.

​One significant advantage of uprooting yourself is the opportunity to broaden your horizons.

When you leave your familiar surroundings and venture into new territories, you expose yourself to diverse cultures, perspectives, and ways of life. This exposure can expand your worldview, challenge your preconceived notions, and enrich your understanding of the world around you. By uprooting yourself, you open the door to endless possibilities for personal growth and learning.

Embracing Change and Adaptability

Having strong roots can make it difficult to adapt to change. When we are used to a certain way of life, it can be challenging to adjust to new environments and situations. This can lead to feelings of discomfort and anxiety.

On the other hand, being unrooted and free enables us to cultivate the crucial skill of adaptability. This is essential in our fast-changing world. By constantly moving and exploring new environments, interacting with different people, and facing unfamiliar situations, we are pushed out of our comfort zones and forced to adapt. This not only helps us become more resilient in the face of challenges but also fosters a sense of open-mindedness as we learn to navigate uncharted territory with flexibility and grace.

Pursuing Personal Growth

Being unrooted, moving outside of our familiar surroundings, can present unique opportunities for personal growth and development. When we find ourselves in a new environment, we are challenged to step out of our comfort zone and explore new experiences.

These experiences can help us discover hidden talents and strengths that we may not have realized we had.

By exploring ourselves, we can learn more about who we are and how we can improve.

The Search for Stability and Security

One of the main things that was hard for me, after years of moving between countries, is the lack of stability and security.

When we are constantly on the move, we may not have a place to call home or a community to rely on. This led me to feelings of isolation and insecurity.

It was difficult for me to create deep connections with others. Which led me to feel lonely and disconnected.

Loss of Identity

Years of feeling unrooted even got me questioning my identity. When we are constantly adapting to new environments, we may struggle to maintain a sense of self. This created a lot of confusion in my head.

So What Is The Best Option?

After years of looking to find roots in one place, to make myself feel more secure, more grounded and more stable, I decided it wasn't always the best option. At least not for me.​

Finding a Balance

The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Both perspectives have their benefits and drawbacks, and the key is finding a balance that works for you.

For some people, finding roots is essential for their well-being and sense of belonging. For others, the freedom to move and experience new cultures is what brings them fulfillment. The important thing is to understand your own needs and find a balance that allows you to feel rooted while also embracing new experiences and opportunities.

digital nomad woman enjoying life in a petaled flower field abroad Photo by Olga on Pexels

(Photo by Olga on Pexels )

We Change over time

It's important to notice that with time, we all change. And as we change as persons, our perspective changes as well. Our goals change, our way of thinking change, and sometimes our beliefs and values change as well.

It is only natural that with our own personal change, we also might have periods of time where we need to feel more rooted, more secure, and other periods where we feel the urge to spread our wings and fly.

It's by being present, and noticing what are your current needs, that you can adapt yourself and your situation, and fly or stay accordingly.

In conclusion...

... the debate between feeling rooted or feeling free to move is a complex and personal one. Both perspectives have their benefits and drawbacks, and the key is finding a balance that works for you. Whether you choose to put down roots or embrace global mobility, the most important thing is to understand your own needs and find a sense of belonging within yourself wherever you go.

Maayan Szmelcman Yerushalmy

Written by Maayan Szmelcman Yerushalmy

Founder of Smoozitive and creator of SYLA app - the #1 app for those living abroad. 
Maayan is an expert in expat mindset training, who blends her own life experience (relocated 7 times, and lives in many more cities) with her substantial yoga, energy healing, and mindfulness skills. She has helped countless see the good in their life, make changes and feel better about themselves throughout the years.

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