Would you say that you have a tribe? Imagine having a group of friends that know you well and you know them well. You are accepted for who you are…the good the bad and the ugly. There’s commitment, support, love, encouragement, transparency, and forgiveness. Your families play together; you trust each other, share keys to each other’s houses and pick up each other’s kids from school. You are known. These types of relationships seem so few and far between in our fast-paced, career-driven, mobile society.
We’ve Become More Isolated
It’s funny…as connected as this world is, we have somehow managed to become more isolated! I see and hear it from so many different people and places:
The single person feels alone without their soul mate
The newlywed feels alone with the distancing of the life they knew before marriage
The mom of young children feels alone without opportunity to connect with adults
The person who just moved feels alone without their old friends and family near
The boss feels alone without their employees trusting them
The Need for A Tribe
Whether we’re willing to admit it or not, we all long to find our tribe…our people…our family! It’s human nature to desire intimacy and belonging. Are you aware that there are health benefits to finding your tribe? Dr. Lissa Rankin shares “loneliness is a greater risk to your health than smoking or lack of exercise, and finding your tribe is better than any vitamin, diet, or exercise regimen.” http://lissarankin.com/the-health-benefits-of-finding-your-tribe
The Benefits of a Tribe
Along with benefiting your health, there are many other positives about finding your community, your tribe.
1. It teaches you how to love
I’m not talking about infatuation here, but the deep love, here for you through thick and thin kinda love.
2. You learn how to work through conflicts
Let’s face it, anytime you have a deep relationship, conflict happens at some point. But, when you’re committed, you also learn to work through it.
3. It provides a support system for you and your family.
Community gives your kids other people to look up to, ideally to trust, and friends they can grow up with. If you’re going through similar life seasons e.g. having a baby, empty nest, or retirement, you can compare notes and encourage one another.
4. It’s a place where you can be real and be known.
It allows you to let down the walls, be yourself, and know you’ll be accepted.
5. You can learn from each other
And, on the other hand, it allows you to be vulnerable and get real feedback about whatever your facing in life.
6. You can laugh and cry with each other.
There will be someone by your side when you need a laugh or a shoulder to cry on.
7. You can help each other out.
In the times when you’re in a pinch, there’s someone to help step up to bat…pick your kid up from school, watch your baby as you run an errand.
The Cost of A Tribe
In a tribe, there’s give and take. You take care of each other. Sometimes it requires self-sacrifice…putting your plans on hold for a day or letting your drama stay on the sidelines while you help someone else with theirs. Both of which are good things to practice.
Steps to Finding Your Tribe
My Sister-In-Law is naturally gifted at creating community. When she was pregnant with her first, she had a group of moms that called themselves the “Momtourage” – that was 9 years ago and they still get together. She has her tribe from University and another from High School that regularly take trips together. In every season she has established a group to share life with.
Perhaps you’re like me and need to be intentional about finding your tribe. Here are seven steps you can take to help foster community, build authentic relationships, and essentially find your tribe!
1. Take risks
If you’ve moved to a new place or are in a new season in life, you’ll likely have to take risks to foster new relationship. It will require stepping out of your comfort zone. If you’re naturally quiet, it may mean talking more. Maybe you’re musically gifted, it might mean trying out to be part of a musical group. If your athletic, it might mean going by yourself to a new exercise class.
2. Be the friend you’re looking for to someone else
Invite someone to coffee. Follow up with “acquaintances” when they’ve shared an important detail of their life e.g. Hey, Jenny, how did that interview go or how did your kid do in the school play etc.
3. Be real, transparent, vulnerable
If you have someone you’ve started to develop a friendship with, when faced with sharing something a little deeper, a little closer to your heart, make the choice to be a little more vulnerable and “let them in.”
4. Create opportunities to connect with others
Have the new neighbors over for dinner. Organize a block party. Don’t wait for someone else to do these things…be the change and create the reason to connect.
5. Be involved- join groups – put yourself out there
Get involved in a book club with other like-minded people. Join a small group from church. Start an investment club. Find something that interests you and connect with others that have the same interest.
6. Be open-minded and non-judgmental
As adults, we tend to judge things quickly…”oh, they aren’t like me”, “I won’t fit in here”, etc. Be open- minded …give new experiences and new groups a chance.
7. Stay positive
Don’t give up too quickly. It takes some time to develop authentic deep relationships. Acknowledge the small wins each day and continue to plug away.
Spending your time and energy to identify and cultivate your tribe is so worth it! There is minimal “cost” with multiple benefits! It will pay off in spades- socially, mentally, and even physically! I know you’re busy and likely feel like you don’t have time, but these simple steps are easy even for the busiest of us. Take on one or two steps at a time if you feel like all 7 are too much! As moms, dads, humans, we deeply need to be connected with one another. To know and to be known.
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