“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”–Jim Rohn
The months of pandemic isolation were lonely for many people, especially for those who love lots of social interaction. Many of us were separated from friends, colleagues, and loved ones. It was a period without meeting new people and forming in-person relationships. And yet, if there’s any silver lining, it‘s this: we’ve had (and might still have) a rare opportunity to meet ourselves.
Two years ago, I was sitting behind a desk as a data analyst. Coding, a repetitive process, allowed my mind to wander. I started listening to the late Alan Watts, a philosopher and lecturer, on YouTube. His talks changed the way I look at life and my surroundings. He famously said, “Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.” It’s near impossible.
He followed this up by saying, “We seldom realize, for example, that our most private thoughts and emotions are not our own because we think in terms of languages and images that we did not invent but were given by our society.” Read that again. It truly is a challenge to understand who we are, and all too often we let others try to persuade us of who we should be. The first step is understanding who we are not.
Find more Alan Watts quotes here.
We recently published an article about the power of community. In it, I wrote about how building a community has to start with yourself. It’s important to have a support network of people around you, and a good way to start is with positive, internal affirmations. After that, you’ll find the people you surround yourself with are more in line with who you are, and they will become your strongest supporters if they are not already.
The pandemic has been tough, and quarantine has been lonely, but we’ve been gifted with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn about who we really are and to envision ourselves anew. It’s also an opportunity to build our communities anew.
Here are three things you can do to build a positive community:
- Reach out.
- Be genuine.
- Build connections.
It’s easy to forget how exciting it is to receive an unexpected phone call or text from a friend. Reach out to people with whom you’ve had long relationships, short relationships, and just budding relationships, as well. Even a simple text of “Hey, hope all is well. Just wanted to check in. Have a great rest of your day!” can be meaningful.
For those serendipitous conversations, a phone call is an awesome way to catch up. And if your call goes to voicemail, remember to leave a message; the other person will appreciate that you did so. Reaching out will reaffirm that you think of them as a part of your life and your community. Even if they don’t reciprocate with the same energy, never fear! You’ll have a better understanding of who you can count on.
Just be yourself! Most people usually sense when someone is inauthentic, and phoniness usually is off-putting. By being genuine, you feel less anxiety about pretending to be something or someone you’re not, and your relationships will flourish as a result. Furthermore, being genuinely excited or happy for another person’s success brings joy to you, too. Their success indirectly becomes your success.
Consider also that just being yourself is one definition of happiness.
An important step for building your community is to make sure you’re welcoming new members. One of the best ways to do this is by connecting members from your network who might have similar interests and goals or otherwise help each other. And through connecting others, they’ll connect with you as well. By doing so, you’ll watch your community continually grow.
With the Presence Hive app, you can add some of your closest connections to your community hive. If the Hive app detects that a hive member may be struggling, all of that hive’s members will be alerted and encouraged to reach out to the person in distress. A hive can be a great tool for parents wanting to safeguard their children from the dangerous regions of the web. For more information about the Hive app from Presence Global, go here.
For more suggestions on building a strong and positive community, Inc. Magazine has a great article linked here.