Two Are Better than One: Community
Do not forsake gathering together.
You all, I am so guilty of isolating myself so much, it can be a little sickening. Anyone who knows me personally also knows that I am not much of a people person. I grew up in a big city where everyone minded their own business, never really said hi to one another, and truly just kept it moving. Unless you were already close friends, making new friends was abnormal. What a life to live, right—secluded and not really many people to count on. Until I left my hometown, nothing did ever change.
Over the years of being outside of my hometown, I see how toxic my environment used to be. Having a hard exterior and a cold heart was something to be proud of—or so I thought. Guarding my heart to the point where no one, even the good ones, could come in and it just looked like a nasty war between me and the people that were right for me. Question is, who would win? I had to learn that letting good people in was okay and normal—that you do not have to do life alone and that it is not normal to be secluded in isolation where thoughts can be louder than actual people.
Do not get me wrong, I am all for online communities as well; but nothing beats being a part of a physical community that truly loves you for who you are—no strings attached and no hidden ulterior motives.
It took much healing to get to the place that I am at right now but it also requires continual maintenance to stay exactly where I am, while still growing flourishing branches as I grow. Community and real flourishing friendships has taught me that you never have to do life alone and you get to share your struggles with those around you. It has taught me to not only be vulnerable and ask for help but has also taught me that I need to serve others, as well. Not only is having community good for the hard times, but it is also good for the winning moments of life so that you have someone to celebrate and toast with. How’s clinking glasses by yourself sound? Not so fun, is it? Granted, it does require work to keep and maintain friendships and trust me, there will be drama—but as I said in my last article, “Do It Scared: Calculated Risks”—learn to weigh the options and pick the right friends. Do not hold so tightly to your unhealthy boundaries that you keep the healthy and good people out. I have learned from experience that having those kinds of boundaries can not only hurt you, but the many good people around you. Trust me, they do care about you more than you know and it does hurt them more than you know when you keep them out in an unhealthy way. Again, I learned through physical trial and error—I only speak from experience, as with anything.
So, I encourage you today if you have not already, take inventory of your friends. Not just your online friends, but I am talking about your real life friends. If you have none, write a list of what you want in a friend—keep in mind healthy—and find and make some new friends! Do not keep them out because of fear and unhealthy boundaries—give them a chance! I promise you it will be so worth it.
It is such a beautiful thing when you can do life with those around you and they support you in all that you do, and correct you when necessary.
Cheers to having healthy friends and a community—and cheers to letting go of fear, unhealthy boundaries, and expectations, as well as isolation and seclusion!
Until next time beloveds, enjoy this adventure!