When you are annoyed or upset about something at work, who do you naturally want to talk to? A co-worker, right? Or if you are a momma of littles and you are struggling with some parenting whoa’s, who do you call? Do you call them ghostbusters? Or your cousin with no kids? Or do you reach out to a friend or family member who also has littles? If you are an entrepreneur, you likely are surrounded with other entrepreneurs. These types of peer to peer comparisons could continue on exponentially and there is great power in peer to peer support.
Peer to peer support, community, villages, etc are not only completely natural and have been around since the test of time, they can be a really powerful way for people to feel accepted and validated. Every human being has a longing for belonging, we all want to feel loved, we all want to feel accepted, and we all want to feel validated.
Here are 6 additional benefits of community (from Tiny Buddha):
Collective wisdom. No one person ever has all of the answers, and regardless of the amount of Google-fu you may have, consulting with experts is always going to give you better information.
Pushing our limits. When working alone, it’s oftentimes too easy to give up when things get hard. By surrounding yourself with others working toward a similar goal or objective, you’ll get motivation, support, and friendly competition to push yourself just a bit further than you would have done on your own.
Support and belief. Some days those big goals just seem impossible. On those days when you most want to give up, you need to lean on your community the most. They believe in you—probably more than you belief in yourself.
New ideas. I truly believe that when you are working within a community of like-minded people that the wisdom of crowds is considerably greater than any one person working alone. Our divergent world views and lenses mean that we all approach the exact same problem slightly differently.
Borrowed motivation. Even on those days when your belief in yourself isn’t waning, doing what needs to get done can seem overwhelming. Look around your community and be inspired!
Accountability. If you’re an uber-responsible person, you may not want to admit to people you care about who are pulling for you that something didn’t get done. There’s nothing like having to be accountable to others to up your game.
And most importantly, a community can allow people to meet people they might never have met otherwise. Friendships are made and life long bonds are made. There is no price that can be put on this value.
As you are navigating your own healing journey, it is highly recommended to seek out community. Surround yourself with like- minded individuals and be open to being in a community. Once you are in a community, it is important to both make a commitment to not only yourself but also the community to be present, be supportive, be willing to be supported, and most of all compassionate (towards yourself and others).
In addition, here are 3 more keys to being an integral part of a community.
Listen – making connections with others is about listening to others, even if some viewpoints or experiences are different. Listening also allows you to identify with questions and/or struggles that you may be having that you didn’t fully recognize were there. Listening allows you to pause before responding which opens up your ability to respond versus reacting.
Contribute – communities survive and thrive when everyone contributes, of course in a way that works for each individual. When you give or think about how you can help others or add something positive, then energy will be returned to you and something good could come your way. Be sure to speak up when it’s relevant and be open, quiet and listen when necessary too. If you find yourself joining to simply take from the group and others, you will likely not feel fulfilled or find the value in the group.
Acceptance – We have to accept that not everyone holds the same views as us and may be at different level of healing. You can choose what you do with what someone has said, you don’t have to agree or act on it, but you can listen and accept what they think and allow them space to say it. You will learn more about yourself and your healing by listening to others.
If you have had a bad experience within a community or have had your trust broken for one reason or another, just know there IS a community for you. There is so much support out there, so many communities. You are completely worthy to be included. If you have tried one or many that have not worked for you, first reflect on the content of this article to reflect if it was the community or if you were not allowing the power of the community. If it truly was not the right fit, try something else. Find the community and support that lights you up!
There are so many options now with our dive into the tech world. You can really get to know people through their podcasts, their writings, their social media, etc. And as you are navigating finding your community to support you on your healing journey, keep in mind that it only takes 1 other person to “create community”. It does not have to be a large group of people. Your community could even be a professional on the topic you are focusing on for your healing.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes about community. Let me know which one is your favorite :)
"The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members." – Coretta Scott King
“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” – Helen Keller
“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb