Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Power of Community: Guest Post by Paul L

Humans are social beings, we flock together and create relationships.  This is not news to anyone.  However, an article by my friend Michael Patrick on Suicide Awareness and Prevention sparked a conversation between the two of us.  The conversation, lead me to the awareness of how powerful our relationships really are.  Ringo Starr may have said it best, “…I get by with a little help from my friends, I get high with a little help from my friends, I’m gonna try with a little help from my friends…”
As the discussion progressed, I said this, “They say it takes a village to raise a child, but that is only the start. Members of that same village have to, collectively, sustain the community. This means they need to produce and fulfill the basic needs, such as food and shelter.  It also means that they must be able to support each other in times of danger or times of need.”
Early in human history, this may have meant fighting off wildlife or invaders from another village.  These were real and true dangers in those days.  However, today our governments and military are supposed to provide those securities and in most places, wildlife is not considered much of a threat anymore.  
These days the relationships that we make get us through things like, work stress, loss and financial hardships.  They may seem less life threatening but they are not.  These are just as much a threat as the invaders from other villages and wildlife.  Problem is, these new stressors come from within the walls of the “village”.  This is where building a sense of community is SO important.  Anyone who has played a team sport knows that the team bond is essential to winning.  There can be a full roster of superstars but without the leadership to bring everyone together as one, that team will still have a hard time winning.  
Community allows us to share our experiences and learn from one another.  We take the lessons from others and can therefore, avoid the same pitfalls.  Community gives us a sense of identity.  When there are shared beliefs and values, individuals become a group.  This group can focus on a goal and by working together it can be achieved.  This is the mentality that the military uses to build its forces.  Each unit is trained to work together toward a common goal.  Military units have overcome impossible odds, hardships and even face the potential of sacrificing one’s self for the overall achievement of a goal.  That is how powerful a community can be.
Most of all community allows for the sharing of joy among many individuals.  The common theme of most holidays is that people come together to celebrate.  Holiday celebrations are rooted in a ceremony of some fashion but that is not where the true joy is experienced.  The joy comes from the people within the group being together to re-establish or strengthen bonds.  
Every day we go to work and speak with our coworkers we are forming alliances to get through whatever stress the job has waiting for us.  These relationships add joy to what could be a miserable situation.  How many times have you heard someone say, ‘It was the people at that job that made it great.’   When we have a meal with our family or friends we share the joys and hardships of our lives.  Through this sharing we experience the closeness that makes us feel secure.
My overall theme to this article is that we need each other, maybe now far more than ever before.  With all of hatred and injustices going on in America and the world, I am challenging everyone to be a little nicer to their family, neighbors, co-workers and most of all the people you don’t know.  
You never know what someone else is going through and how much a kind word can mean to someone.  It can literally change their life.  It doesn’t take much to smile at someone and wish them a good day.  
You may be surprised at the reaction you get.
As a Life Coach and Leadership Coach I will help you build the skills that will increase your awareness and show compassion for people you family, friends and strangers.  Contact me for one-on-on or group coaching.  Classes are being set up all the time.


1 comment:

Michael Patrick said...

Paul, I truly appreciate the mention here but more importantly appreciate the conversations we have been sharing.

I feel like a large part of my awareness and opening up to taking a more active role in the caring and well-being of others has unfortunately stemmed from the loss of loved ones over the past few years. Suffering the loss of close family members has directly shifted my mindset to life and I am doing my best to honor the lives of those who passed on.

I do not think it is necessary, though, to have to be dealt a tragic loss to wake up to the importance of community, tending to friendships, and being actively involved in the wellness of those around us. I think awareness can start spreading by having conversations like the ones you and I have shared and also by writing and sharing pieces just like you did here.

If we focus on each other and our close circles it can and will ripple outwards in a positive manner.

Well done here Paul. You are doing your part for sure to impact the collective consciousness of our peers.