Have a quick review of the last 6 weeks: where did you spend most of your time? Who did you spend significant moments with? With whom did you share your highs and your lows, your doubts and your dreams? And how did you feel on the inside afterwards? Honoured? Listened to? Inspired? Motivated? Or was it the opposite?
Parents/adults tend to counsel their young ones about where they hang out, the importance of being with people whose ways of being and doing are considered acceptable by society; they worry that if their young ones hung out with the ‘wrong’ crowd, they could get influenced in all sorts of negative ways. And, if it turns out that their young ones are not very sociable, then they worry that they might be lonely, or that they might lack social skills which would be a disadvantage to them as adults or that they might be dealing with a mental health challenge…
I won’t get into the stats and reports that researchers have published about the impact of community on us as individuals. This is because we know at an instinctual level that we are wired for connections, for interactions, for associations.
At an instinctual level, we – to a large extent – feel more comfortable being a part of, rather than completely standing apart from; because of this great desire to belong, we can develop a blind loyalty to the group(s) we feel we belong to. And this is largely why we tend to just hang out passively with communities that we find ourselves in – even if they are disempowering. Or perhaps we actively chose to be part of them at some point, but the ethos/dynamics may have since changed and it is now a misfit at best, even toxic, but you still remain…
Conversely, somebody may have been so hurt or so scared to trust that they take the lone ranger route, leading to loneliness and isolation which can also be very detrimental to one’s health and well being.
As grown-ups, we can actively choose to be part of communities that support our values; where we are accepted for who we are and where we are in our journey of life; where we can grow; support others in their own growth and development; where we can receive support ourselves; where we can empower and be empowered; where we can water, and be watered…
Whether we like it or not, we are constantly being influenced: we can choose which influences to be exposed to, at least for some of the time!
If you are journeying through life alone, I would encourage you to reach out for healthy connections and support.
If you are in disempowering, dysfunctional and toxic communities, I would encourage you to find your way out of them, and into ones that are empowering, healthy and functional.
If you would like to be a part of an online community that would support your on your journey towards living your life fully, freely and at ease with yourself, then you are welcome to join us here.
Remember, although you cannot stop it from raining on your parade, you can choose to continue on your parade, irrespective of the weather. This is what I mean when I say: You ALWAYS have a CHOICE!