The Luxury of a Natural Community
One of the things that sticks out to me from last year was the isolation so many of us felt. Prior to the pandemic times depression and loneliness were already rampant in our society. We were disconnected from each other on a very human level being completely lost in our phone apps. Yet once the pandemic took hold so many of us realized just how disconnected we had become. Our very human physical connection to others became a luxury.
It is challenging to make friends as an adult. We want to be included and liked but most of us have this natural fear holding us back from being bold enough to put ourselves out there to even try. We are afraid of being rejected and even worse of being hurt by someone we open up to. If we share our honest opinion what will people think? Friends become a luxury we don’t afford ourselves very much of because good friends are just hard to find and it’s a lot of work to develop those relationships. We already have very busy lives so friends take a back seat to other things we need to focus on.
The truth of the matter is the desire to belong doesn’t go away no matter how much we ignore it. We can say we don’t need it but at the heart of it that is bull. That connection we have with others we can rely on when we need it and just be there through the thick and thin is what gives us hope. Sheer determination and willpower to go it alone only gets you so far. You may cross the finish line alone but having that fan club there celebrating with you is what makes it worth it.
It feels good to belong and feel like we have that space with others where we can be ourselves. It is as if we find people who understand us and accept us just the way we are without judgement. A very healthy luxury in the form of friends that fill our lives with laughter and love. I believe friends are a natural luxury we should afford ourselves more of more often. Like anything worth having in life, a circle of good friends is worth working towards. Friendships are a connection to nature itself in that we can feel the heartbeat of what is important in life. I believe we experience so much depression in life because we don’t have strong healthy connections to nature and to each other. We overlook these things because of other more pressing things demanding our attention, like phone apps, work, errands, and more. Yet our hearts call for these real connections. The ones that heal our soul and give us that fulfillment to know we are alive and going to be alright.
That sense of community we get through friends is one of the best ways we can become healthy. When I think about what has been influential in my own life for improving health it has been the cheering section of my tribe. Friends, family, my virtual personal trainer, social media fans have all been there to say something encouraging and let me know I’m inspiring them. What better way to know you are making a difference than someone telling you that seeing you do 50 squats a day for 30 days is inspiring them to start doing something! We build relationships by putting ourselves out there and connecting with others by being ourselves.
Building that tribe though takes time. It is again difficult as an adult to make friends because we have all been hurt by others so much that we lack trust of those we don’t know. We can join all the groups and hobby circles we want but if we are not willing to put ourselves out there to let others see who we are then these activities won’t help. It all starts with us doing the work to heal and being willing to try again. It is us letting go of our preconceptions of what the ideal friend is and enjoying the process of learning about others. It is showing ourselves to others and letting them know who we are too.