Community is about belonging, not just fitting in. It’s about knowing and believing that who you are is enough. You don’t need to become an airbrushed version of yourself just to fit in with the gang or to fit into the corporate culture.
Community also is about connection. You show up in your truest and fullest sense and let others see you so that they can love and support you.
Finally, community, at least the sort of community I’ve described, leads to fulfillment. Maslow speaks of this in his hierarchy of human needs. He says we need the most basic of needs, things like food, water, sleep, warmth, and security. But to access the higher levels of personal esteem and self-actualisation and reach our full potential, we need love and belonging.
This is where community gets hard. The realities of our lives crowd in as we try to juggle all its aspects. It’s all well and good talking about building a community around us, but where can we possibly find the time to create or nurture one?
Well, hell’s teeth. Do you hear yourself? Do you really not have time to build community?
More often than not, the real challenge has nothing to do with time. It’s this: When the going gets tough, the tough dig in and shut out everyone else. We hole up with a bar of chocolate. And who can blame us. When the weather is cold outside, who wants to brave the elements?
I get that, but you do know that hiding yourself away isn’t good or healthy, right? You have got to get out and nurture your relationships. Let yourself be seen.
How can you do that in only five minutes? Here’s an idea. Think about friends you have not been in touch with for ages. Send one of them a text or email to say hello. Or, if you’re feeling especially brave today, pick up the phone and make a call. I know nurturing relationships can seem like a lot of work, particularly when we have a lot on our plates, but it’s not like we need to some grand overture. We just need to take five minutes to let someone know we are thinking about them and then arrange for a meet-up over coffee in the next week or so.