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Building Community

‘Girl Tribe.’ ‘Boys’ Club.’ ‘Mom’s Group.’ ‘The Crew.’

These are all examples of ways we look to find collective mindset, purpose and companionship as we travel through life. And this quest is a particularly critical part of living fully!

It's in our DNA to share in community with people who support us, who give us a place to express ideas, overcome fears, celebrate wins, grieve over losses and turn to for help. As human culture emerged, having tribe and community meant survival. Each person in the group played a role to support the collective whole through offering protection, farming, rearing children, caring for the ill, hunting or building fires. Each part of life was dependent on the other and meals and time were shared together, giving comfort that no one was alone.

As humanity has advanced, with less immediate risk to mortality, we’ve evolved to be far more independent and self-reliant. We no longer share in responsibilities, and instead satisfy essential needs through career-focused work and commerce. We’ve become a more transactional culture than a collaborative culture. From this shift, the need for space to grow collectively and feel less alone is higher now, more than ever. Social norming tells us to ‘get over it,’ or ‘figure it out,’ increasing our sense of feeling singular, stressed out and unsupported.

In our modern era, socializing often shows up through connections at work, in our hobbies, or within familial groups. Increasingly, we are finding virtual social networks through the mainstream use of social media, especially since the start of the pandemic. For many, these relationships are rewarding and provide opportunities to gather in a group setting. For many others, these social gatherings can feel superficial and centered around an activity or task and not necessarily about truly connecting with one another. What is lacking is a sense of community.

Finding true community takes first understanding ourselves. It requires a hard look at our lives and an honest assessment of what we truly desire. For some, this may come naturally, and for others it may take incredible bravery to identify what we want and accept our true needs. As we gain clarity about what we want in life, we can begin to evaluate our current relationships and what they offer us. We may ask ourselves, ‘what is the quality of my relationships?’ ‘Are they superficial?’ ‘Am I able to be my authentic self?’ ‘How do my relationships support me?’ ‘How do I contribute to supporting these relationships?’

With a clearer picture of what we desire from relationships, we then have the knowledge to begin our quest for others seeking similar qualities. We aim to build community by living in deeper relationship with people who enrich our mental, emotional and spiritual selves, versus our social calendars. This is recreating the ancient collective life experience and learning, growing, sharing and evolving with others. We begin to experience a greater sense of self and purpose when fostering relationships with people who enrich us and propel us forward on our life journey.

Part of contributing to the community comes from living in our truth and suspending judgment. It involves seeing and accepting people for who they are, not as we wish them to be. In exchange, we find space to show up as our authentic selves, trusting that others in our community are also honoring us in the same way. There is a lot of grace we begin to practice, with both ourselves and with others. Meeting people where they are in their journey, with all their past life experiences, struggles, triumphs and heartbreaks, allows our judgmental biases to fall aside and for us to all live in our personal truths.

There is a community for each of us out there. We need to get honest about our personal truths, our hearts, our desires, our ambitions and what we need for support through our lives. By better knowing ourselves, we can reach out to find our community and be at peace in the space where we can collectively be the best expression of ourselves. When we build this with others, we create a shared space which is larger than ourselves and where the burden of life eases because we can hold dialogue and feel less alone.

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