Stop the Loneliness
Today’s society prides individuals for their independence. "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps" is a mantra for many. Like Frank Sinatra they belt out, “I did it my way.” But is independence a quality to seek out and celebrate?
One of the first things God said to Adam is that it's not good for man to be alone. Humankind was designed to be in relationship with others. We are truly better when we are together.
A fascinating phenomenon occurs when people join together…they begin influencing each other. According to numerous research studies, positive peer pressure leads towards change. Have you ever had a friend waiting for you at the gym? You are going to feel the pressure to show up.
Goals are more likely to be achieved when a friend joins the journey. Group counseling’s effectiveness comes from members finding comfort and encouragement knowing others are going through similar experiences. When other members find growth and healing, they believe change is also possible for them. In the book, the Power of Habits, Charles Duhigg states “Belief for change is easier when it occurs within a community.”
What are some of your goals? What are areas of aspiration in your life?
Developing community will help you to find success. A community isn’t necessarily a large group, in fact, it can be of one other person such as a spouse or friend. No matter the size, you will need to cultivate community. In order to do this, you will need the following:
Investment of time - Spend time cultivating community with those around you. It doesn’t have to be hours. It may be as simple as sending a text or making a quick phone call. A wise investment of your time will exponentially pay off.
Encouragement - Encouraging words are a breath of life to those around you. Proverbs 12:25 says “An anxious heart weighs down a heart, but a kind word cheers him up.” Speak words of life to those around you. To your kids, to your spouse, to strangers at the grocery store.
Shared goal - You don’t necessarily have to have the exact same goal. But, you do need to be moving in a common direction. For example, wanting to be healthier or wanting to be more organized. Whatever the goal, doing it with someone else who is likeminded provides amazing support and encouragement.
Authenticity - When you are in community with someone it requires you to be real. All too often, we wear a mask as we go through our day. When I am with my community, I am myself. I know that I won’t be judged or shamed for being myself. In fact, if I try and put on a mask - I’m called out.
Vulnerability - Being open and honest about your beliefs, thoughts, and feelings. For example, telling a friend that you are struggling today. Vulnerability creates the richness of intimacy in a relationship.
How can you encourage those around you today? What are some groups or individuals in your life with similar goals? How can you be honest and real with someone today? Building connection and community truly is one of the best investments you can make today.