Last week I talked about how together is better, tapping into community, and what it takes to access the support we need. How we need to make ourselves vulnerable. Speak up. Allow ourselves to be seen.
But is it just about getting support?
Reaching out for help is good. Getting the help we need after reaching out is awesome. But there is even more to be gained through community than getting a single need met, or being supported in a crisis.
First, let’s unpack the term community.
It’s easy to think that a community must involve many people. It can, but it doesn’t have to. As I said last week, it only takes two for a together to exist.
Community comes from the word common, which is a sharing, a together.
A community in operation can be many or just two people, who make themselves vulnerable, share, connect, to get the sense of fellowship. This is also referred to as social connection.
The connection is key. This connection is what provides the many benefits.
Here are seven benefits to vulnerability and connection.
- A sense of belonging – We live in a world where the individual is championed, independence is celebrated. And there is a place for that, but, no man is an island. Being connected to others is one of our most basic human needs. It takes sharing to make the connection. When you take the risk, the courage to share, and are accepted, you feel. You feel connected. You feel a certain level of safe. Your sense of belonging begins to grow. When the connection continues, your sense of belonging deepens.
- Emotional support – Whether it’s one on one or in a group, having someone to laugh with, to cry with, or to vent to, supports you emotionally. You will be inwardly aware that you are not alone and it makes you stronger. As they share your joy, your sorrow and listen to your frustration it increases your joy and lessens your pain. Together you may even engage in problem-solving about the frustration because of their support.
- Encouragement – Having a shared interest brings understanding. And people who understand the challenges you are facing will encourage you. They will build confidence in you. They will want you to succeed because they understand. I have found this in my writing communities. I would like to encourage you – If you are engaged in (or want to start) a challenging project, find and join a group. You can do this online or search for a meet up near you for in-person connections.
- Practical help – People have varying skills. Through connection, we can have access to each other’s skills. When you have a need, you can ask for their help. Likewise, if you have what they need, you can help them. The larger the group, the larger the pool of skills to partake from. The help can be as simple as providing a ride, babysitting, showing someone how to use their iPhone or sharing your friend’s new book (Mosaic of Grace by James Prescott).
- Innovation – Two people never agree on everything. A group of people contains many differences of opinion and different views. Bouncing the ideas off one another fosters creativity bringing new inventions. I have seen this in action on the television show Pure Genius. In the show, a billionaire genius runs a hospital where they take the harder cases, hire the best in medicine and technology. The staff brainstorms new innovative ways to save the patients’ lives. I wish this was real and not just a TV show. The innovation is amazing.
- Health benefits – Studies show that people with strong social connections recover quicker from being sick and have a greater life expectancy. The connection makes the immune system stronger to fight off disease. People who feel connected have lower rates of anxiety. The opposite is also true. When there is a lack of connection loneliness brings negative impact on our bodies and minds.
- Motivation – When you have people you are connected to, you will want to keep that connection, make them happy, not let them down etc. This positive peer pressure motivates us to do and be more than we would, if left to ourselves. When coupled with the encouragement mentioned above, the motivation increases.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity.
Brené Brown – Daring Greatly
But what if there is conflict?
There is no what if. It’s just a matter of time.
If two or more people are truly connecting, conflict will arise. No two people agree all the time. It is inevitable.
So what are we supposed to do with that?
We need to value the connection above the disagreement and look for what is useful.
Consider these things.
Conflict that is resolved deepens the connection. My daughter has a saying about making friends. You’re not really friends until you’ve had your first fight. I think that is some wise advice.
Conflict is an opportunity to listen. If we listen in the disagreement we may discover a perception gap. If we will actively listen we can get to understanding. There are beneficial ways to respond, and harmful ways to respond. Listening can make all the difference.
Read here about how listening built a bridge of understanding for me. Understanding is more important in a relationship than determining a winner of the argument.Understanding is more important in a relationship than determining a winner of the argument. Click To Tweet
There is much more information out there about conflict that we can look at another time. (Here is an article that lists benefits to conflict. click here)
The point is to not be surprised when it arises and to seek resolution.
Heart to heart connections, built through vulnerable sharing and accepting, are sources of life in our lives.
Heart to heart connections, built through vulnerable sharing & accepting, are sources of life in our lives. Click To Tweet
A deep sense of love and belonging is an irresistible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick. Brené Brown
You don’t need to be a social butterfly or an extrovert to gain the benefits of community.
The sense of being connected is not measured in numbers. It is measured in your heart.
People are all different. One person may be content with one close relationship where another needs the support of many.
Where do you get your best social connection?
Do you have someone you can confide in?
Do you have a relationship that has passed through conflict?
Please share in the comments.
Can I send you this?
Free download of Dare to Believe.