by Kayla Morgan, MS, LPC
A quote I have heard repeatedly, is “it takes a village.” According to Wikipedia, the original quote “it takes a village to raise a child” is an African proverb meaning it takes a whole community of people interacting with a child to ensure he or she grows in a healthy and safe environment. Regardless of which stage of life you are in: parents raising children, married with no children, single, or late adulthood, we need community.
What has caused us to become disconnected?
Over the past few years or even decades, we have entered the technology age, which has caused us to become more disconnected from face-to-face interactions. Our society has become more isolated and withdrawn. The American life has taught us to compete or compare ourselves to others. Another factor that keeps us from investing in community is time; we live in the hustle and bustle of life and relationships are the first thing to suffer.
Our community provides us with a place to connect.
Brene Brown says, “Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.” Over the past few years, feelings of loneliness have increased. Covid has shown us that isolation can cause a host of issues including addiction, depression, and anxiety. A brief study by World Health Organization reports a 25% increase of anxiety and depression during 2020. Community provides us with a sense of belonging.
Community provides us with a place to be seen, heard, and validated.
Our community must be a place that provides us with a sense of safety and belonging to encourage vulnerability. Vulnerability encourages connection. We need people who will not only be around for the good, but walk with us in our darkest moments. We must humble ourselves enough, to allow people into our darkest moments. Our community must consist of people who are trustworthy; we can’t allow everyone to know our deepest hurts and secrets. Some people haven’t earned the right to know our story.
“Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: ‘Who has earned the right to hear my story.’” – Brene Brown
Our community should not only encourage and support us, but challenge us.
Being corrected or challenged isn’t a pleasant experience, but we need people in our circle that will be bold enough to challenge us when we are showing unhealthy traits or falling away from our purpose.
Community is a biblical concept; throughout scripture we are shown the importance of being in community. God created us for community. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says,
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Jesus surrounded himself with people who walked along side him during his ministry; he called them the disciples. Jesus had 12 men that he allowed in his inner circle; were these men perfect absolutely not, there were times where they betrayed Jesus, doubted him and even denied knowing him.
Who is in your village – friends, family, therapist, pastor or church community?
Connect today! There are multiple ways to begin to find a community.
- Common interests – get involved in a hobby, recreation league, exercise classes
- Church community – bible study, Sunday school, serving
- Parent friends – play dates, school activities, sports activities
- Support groups – Celebrate recovery, AA, NA