This Prescription for life is NOT “Build Community.” The emphasis is on the word Growing. This word makes the word Community active and moving in an upward trajectory. For something to be active or moving in the right direction it has to have some type of force pushing it that way.
Community is essential to life.
There are two types of community, both essential to life, both beneficial to our world. One is more individually focused, the other is more us focused.
Community for a Greater You: These are your friends, the people you share the same interests with, the groups you hang out in, the ones you spend the most time with.
- Community for a Greater Good: The compound effect of community type 1 investing and actively pursuing the greater interest of others and seeing a mission multiplied to make a difference in the lives of other groups.
We’ve all heard it, “you’re the sum of the five closest people to you” and it’s true… the people you surround yourself with are the people you are most like. It’s the adage, “Show me your friends, I’ll show you your future.”
Community is an essential part of life and one of the most life-giving pieces to finding true fulfillment. It’s easy for us to push off community and try to pursue life on our own terms. It’s less vulnerable and sometimes simpler. But if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.
"Community for a better you", is less focused on the greater vision of society and more focused on the growth you make and the growth you help others make in your immediate circle. So, for the sake of this topic, let’s change the word community to something more intimate - these are your relationships and your close friendships.
Community Type One is your immediate & most close relationships.
A Lifelong & Binding Relationship:
Believe or not, when you enter into a relationship there is a binding, lifelong commitment you're making to someone. You’re essentially telling them - I’m willing to give you some of me, if you’re willing to give me some of you.
Think back to any friendships you’ve had over the years - good or bad. The reason relationships are lifelong, and binding is because every positive or negative emotion you may remember or be drawn back to is still there.
If you have a track record with a great past of friendships and relationships - this is awesome. If you’re someone who's experienced more challenging relationships like divorce, breakups, or distancing friendships - remember this:
Not all NEW relationships are the same as past relationships…
You can’t assume future friendships are bound to be like past relationships, and there are a few essentials to keep in mind in your most intimate relationships that will help you flourish. These are some of the essentials to intimacy and growth in your closest community and relationships.
The Essentials of Community:
There are five essential elements to community, and the way you show up is just as important as the way someone else shows up.
You have to work on yourself first. If you aren’t healthy and you don’t have the boxes checked in the next few categories, you can’t expect to have great relationships. You have to have the ability to give and the humility to take, you have to be willing to be vulnerable, you have to have a level of humility that others are attracted to and appreciate, and you have to be willing to take ownership for actions you make.
Knowing yourself, and committing to being better for yourself
Relationships are not one sided, and if you enter a relationship with the expectation to just get, get, get and not give, give, give you’re wrong. Or even if you have a tendency to give, give, give and never receive. Remember healthy relationships are reciprocal.
Reciprocity is the idea of giving & taking. You enter a relationship or friendship with the idea that you will mutually exchange emotions, thoughts, acts of kindness, etc.
A healthy relationship is a giving relationship on both ends. If you’ve been or are currently in a relationship that is constantly unbalanced in these areas, it’s time to have a discussion.
Deep relationships are the best kind. Surface level relationships have no accountability and have little to no growth. If you want to become better and you want to see your relationships take things to the next level, you have to be willing to get uncomfortable.
Without vulnerability, your relationships will be superficial, and they won’t grow to develop closeness, intimacy and trust.
From personal experience, vulnerability welcomes vulnerability. The more you allow yourself to be vulnerable it empowers others to do the same and this will deepen your relationships with someone else and with yourself.
Be willing to give… Humility generates connection, and connection is the bedrock upon which hope, purpose, and meaning flourish.
Humility must be present by both partners of the relationship. It cannot be forced by one partner or the other. When humility is a part of a relationship, that is when true vulnerability is expressed. Those who are willing to own their imperfections are those who value the friendship over their own pride.
Be willing to apologize… Taking ownership generates trust and dependability.
Humility and Ownership may seem like the same thing but there is a difference. You can have humility in actions, but ownership is the act of practicing humility with words. We’ve all known someone who would act sorry, but never own up to their mistakes. Over time this type of individual can be harder and harder to stay in a relationship with because they’ve never practiced true humility.
A true friend is someone who is willing to consider your feelings in the midst of their own and take action to reconcile any indifference.
How the Greater You Will Build the Greater Good:
All communities grow as a result of the people in them. When you bring a micro community of individuals banded together with strong relationships you have the ability to impact the greater group. A strong community cannot be created without prioritizing a greater you in your individual relationships. When you continually practice self-awareness, reciprocity, vulnerability, humility, and ownership in your relationships, you make strong, lasting friendships and relationships.
The greater your micro community the greater opportunity you all as a whole will have to make an impact for the greater good or the group. When you become great at personal relationships, you give yourself the ability to be a leader and impact and serve more people around you, but without first looking in and looking immediately out, you’ll never be able to make the greater impact you may have dreamed of and build the growing community you want.