How To Find Your High-Vibe Tribe
Can you describe your community? Your support network? Your “people”?
Or are you actually spending too much of your spare time with your friends Netflix, Instagram, and chocolate?
We live in disconnected and divisive times. Yes, we are more connected via social media than we ever have been before. But I think we all know that’s not real connection. It’s not real at all.
Loneliness is an epidemic in our society and it comes with very real health consequences. Research shows that loneliness is linked to depression, anxiety, and even schizophrenia. Newer research has proven that loneliness causes inflammation that then increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and Alzheimers. Being lonely itself impacts your emotional health. You can compound the negative effects when physical and mental health challenges also surface. Forbes magazine writes about it here.
We all know plenty of people on social whose posts reflect a life that they definitely don’t live. We also know plenty of people whose social posts are a cry for help and we’ve all seen many social interactions that are meant only to bring people down. Not connection, not community. So let’s not confuse our followers with our tribe.
I think we’ve all experienced a feeling of loneliness, even when we’re not alone. It’s not about having people around, it’s about feeling connected to the people you have around.
What is a community? It’s defined as social unit with shared norms, values, customs, or identity. A book club is a community, a meet-up group is a community, a sports team is a community, a Facebook group that is interactive, positive, and supportive can be a community.
Your group of besties is your community, your sorority is your community, your travel group is your community. Your family can be your community. Depending on, well, your family.
Okay, so what’s the big deal about community?
The overarching and most significant documented benefits of community are improved emotional, physical, and mental health.
How the right community benefits you:
- A go-to group for social interaction where you can develop relationships and participate in group activities.
- A support network, people who care about you and can provide support and companionship through the ups and downs of life.
- A place to hear about new ideas and new ways of thinking about old ideas and problems.
- An opportunity for personal growth through inspiration and new learning.
Real community isn’t just about being a member of the group. It’s being an engaged member of the group; participating, supporting, sharing, lots of giving, and even receiving. Netflix is not a community, Youtube is not a community. Random people in the junk food aisle at the grocery are not a community. Yes, Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler, and Joey are a community of sorts but they’re not actually your community. Also, just in case you’re not sure, Siri is not your friend. She’s Mark’s friend and she’s telling him all your personal stuff.
A community can lift you up or it can bring you down. Finding a community is important. Finding the right community is everything.
A feeling of community is more elusive than ever. As we move geographically further from where we grew up, as we fill our time with more work and less play, as we grapple with the adult version of “stranger danger”, as we feel more and more that we’re the only ones looking out for ourselves, we are less likely to be part of a community or to feel like we’re part of a community.
Let’s talk about some of the unfounded reasons you shouldn’t join a community that you might be offering up to yourself right now:
If you’re a very quiet introvert, please don’t tell yourself that community is not for you. Community is for everyone. The beauty of a good community is that you can participate as much or as little as you like. You’ll find the right amount for you.
What if you don’t like someone in the community? Then don’t do one-on-one time with that person.
What if you don’t like every single thing the community does or says? Then don’t participate in what you don’t like if you really aren’t feeling it. Respectfully share your opinions if you want to inspire change.
What if the time or the location is inconvenient? Maybe suck it up if you connect with the focus and the vibe. The benefits are very likely to outweigh the inconvenience. Or find something that is convenient.
You don’t like to commit? Join a community and show up when you want. Most don’t expect attendance at every event. If the one you’re looking at does, find another one.
Now that your resistance is out of the way, how do you find your community? Lots of ways. As Rhadha Agrawal writes in her book Belong, you can do it like this:
Step 1 – Review the values, interests, and abilities you identified at our Find Yourself workshop. If you weren’t there, follow the steps in this blog post How To Be The Me I Want To Be.
Step 2 – Explore. Go online and look for groups with your values and interests. Meet-ups is a good place to start. Check community calendars and newsletters and city guides. Look at the bulletin board in your neighbourhood cafe. Consider volunteering opportunities. You get the process, right?
Step 3 – Make a list of three groups you want to check out and go to one each week. If you connect with one, join it. If you don’t, add to your list. Keep going until you find one you’d like to attend regularly.
Step 4 – Participate. Really get involved and get your hands dirty. Talk to people. Start by asking questions. Be open. Connect. If you’re positive, kind, authentic, and you participate, the magic will happen.