4 Reasons why community is important to your life.
The saying goes that “it takes a village to raise a child.” While a time-tested piece of wisdom, such insight often gets pushed to the wayside once adulthood arrives,
bringing with it a multitude of responsibilities, ambitions, and the inevitable concerns. Yet, the secret to the success of many is being a part of a community that can help one professionally and personally.
If you’ve entered a point in your career or life where you feel isolated and stranded while pursuing your goals, considering the importance of community for personal growth and well-being may be the answer to maximizing your potential.
Why is community important for personal growth and well-being?
One of the fundamental drives that humans exhibit is a desire to be among other people. This tendency became most pronounced during COVID-19 when quarantines and lockdowns forced many to “socially” distance from others; for many, this distancing was a stressful process in and of itself that only amplified the personal and professional concerns that many experienced during the pandemic.
Although solitude can be constructive in personal growth when done voluntarily and used constructively, even voluntary solitude inevitably cultivates a desire to want to be around others, albeit in a meaningful manner. Ultimately, humans are a social species that crave community.
While being a part of a community is important, being a part of a community that is directed towards personal growth amplifies the benefits for all involved. Working with others evokes emotions and attributes that you would not normally experience in solitude, increasing one’s emotional intelligence as well as one’s understanding of one’s strengths and weaknesses.
Recognizing one’s strengths and weaknesses allows one to appropriately focus one’s energy on personal improvement rather than “keeping up with the Joneses” based on isolated assumptions.
Being a member of a community provides members with the opportunity to gain feedback on how they behave, act and progress to further refine one’s efforts.
When you are a part of a community-directed towards community growth, you can learn from others’ efforts to improve your own while helping others with their personal growth process, bringing greater collective improvement.
Community membership has multiple benefits from a well-being standpoint as well. Community involvement provides emotional outlets and support during stress and a more festive atmosphere during times of celebration.
Community members can share advice, health tips, or even help each other with projects or tasks, easing the burden that some might experience if they live alone or experience hardship.
Given the inherent human drive for companionship, being a part of a community helps to satisfy that need; for those struggling to overcome addiction, trauma, or any personal struggles, a community can provide a sense of belonging and motivation that can overcome obstacles in the path to recovery.
Overall, community involvement is integral for personal growth and well-being because it intensifies and expedites the personal growth process.
How to find a community for personal growth and well-being
The challenge for many is to find a community that suits one’s personal growth and well-being goals. To find an appropriate community, one should first identify what one’s goals are.
For example, if your goal is to learn how to meditate, then finding classes through a meditation center or at a meditation retreat will offer in-depth exploration in a community setting.
Likewise, if your goal is to lose weight or improve your diet, a variety of community weight loss programs exist that can assist with group exercise classes or dietary counseling while providing the motivation and inspiration one experiences as a member of a like-minded community.
In many instances, pursuing communities based on your well-being goals can help with personal growth and vice versa. For example, if your goal is to walk more, joining a walking club can help with improving your empathy as well as coping skills that can translate to your work and home life.
Ultimately, refining what one wishes to accomplish will ease the process of finding the appropriate community.
Some might also find that, in searching for a community, there are many goals that you have that aren’t met within one community. It’s hard for a group of people to accommodate each individual member.
Still, one of the benefits of community involvement is honing your interests within the community while embracing the collective spirit that often diminishes individual concerns. That being said, depending on how much time, energy, or resources you have, being a member of multiple communities offers its own intrinsic benefits.
Increases in human capital from skills gained, learning capital from knowledge gained and social capital from relationships gained are some of the many benefits one can generate from multiple community members.
Being engaged in a professional community, recreational community and spiritual community allows one to concentrate energy within these respective community endeavors while gaining crossover skills that can aid in interacting with the differing communities.
Overall, identifying your goals and finding a community that can accommodate at least one of those goals will facilitate community membership.
How to create a community
In some instances, you may not find a community that meets your needs. It may be because you are in a remote setting with few people of similar interests, you have a niche interest or you aren’t sufficiently trained or experienced to identify what specifically you are looking for.
In such instances, you can try two options. First, trying to expand upon pre-existing communities can allow greater differentiation which may attract more members. For example, a youth organization oriented towards sports that offers dancing as well may provide additional outlets while attracting a more diversified and flexible group.
If the expansion fails, you can always try and start your own community. Having an area to meet, goals that you wish to accomplish, and sharing your mission are important starting points when starting a community.
Aspects of community formation that help online communities, such as establishing leadership, rules, and meeting schedules, are valuable on the internet and in person.
Promoting your community through flyers, ads, or even starting a website can also help to garner interest while keeping your community abreast of developments and activities, though this may require sufficient interest and membership prior to the investment. In the end, having an idea and sharing it with others is the first step to starting a community.
What is required to maintain a community for personal growth and well-being
There are individual and community expectations necessary for helping to maintain a community:
- – Openness to new members, ideas, and an organic change to the communities goals and objectives as time passes.
- – Being transparent with goals and expectations and understanding all community members’ personal limitations.
- – A willingness to share with others on an intellectual and personal level while contributing one’s time, energy, and insight to the group.
- – An attitude of resiliency and creativity that can foster greater collective growth and a more communal spirit.
- – Consistency in community participation and enthusiasm to support and grow the community
Some communities are more strict and focused with regard to their goals, membership, and expectations, which may suit some personal growth objectives and alienate others.
This is why it’s important to know your personal growth expectations and what you are willing to contribute to the community to help meet the collective desires of those who participate.
In many instances, communities change over time because of collective interests or a change in leadership, which can be both refreshing with regard to accommodating new members and ideas while also requiring flexibility among those who have been members for some time.
Ultimately, being a part of a community that improves one’s personal growth and well-being is as much a task for being open to improving one’s self as it is to be improved by others.
In the end, benefitting from a community-oriented toward personal growth and well-being requires a desire to participate, learn and grow. Once you have established your goals and expectations, an open mind and a willing heart are all that are needed to experience the benefits of community involvement.
Whether you’re trying to become what you always wanted to be or help others along in their journey, a community for personal growth and well-being is a blessing to all who are involved.