Who’s Cheering You On? Pt 3 By Jessica Pass
Community can shape optimism, positivity and success: What’s your involvement and why does it matter?
Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to travel to Southern California and reconnect with a few people that contributed to my personal and professional development in powerful and meaningful ways. Even though, it feels silly to admit, I was in denial as to just how much I missed this community of like-minded people. When I left and moved to Houston, I was ready for a new adventure and, although sad to leave my friends and colleagues, I was more focused on the potential that was facing me. Although I have found a great community here in Houston, I realized when I was actually there in my previous environment, with them in person, just how much I missed their influence and involvement in my life.
This realization lead me to think back to other influential communities and relationships that I have lost touch with or replaced over the years and really dissect what each one has meant to me and how I’ve been affected by them. Doing this was eye opening. Even though it’s not a brand new concept to recognize, being in the moment, feeling my sense of loss and reminiscing helped me reflect on other communities that have impacted my life in profound ways. This awareness served to reinforce my desire to have a community full of individuals striving towards optimism, social change and positive development. I mean, it just feels good when you’re with others who share your passion, beliefs and views… right?
Recognizing just how impacted I have been and am today by those around me, provides new insights to maintaining these types of connections on a daily basis. No matter what I am involved in, focusing on or even how I feel at a particular moment, knowing that I have the support of my community reinforces the fact that I am not in this alone, someone else gets it and when needed, someone else will support me.
The best part about a loving, accepting, energizing and motivating community is the care that you receive when life just isn’t going as planned. When you’re disappointed, in need of a hug, struggling to see the brighter side or just plain stuck in a rut, a positive and uplifting community of like-minded people is a necessary and important element for your success. Communities with shared interests, values, thoughts and attitudes encourage us to live better, strive for more and focus on the results we’re looking for, creating a sense of belonging, acceptance, understanding and inspiration. Positivity is contagious — when combined with a group of passionate people, you have a recipe for life changing inspiration and motivation; individuals create movement, but it’s groups that sustain it.
Success (in whatever way you define it), is affected by the people we’re around; relationally, emotionally, professionally, mentally, physically (you name it!), each one is both positively and negatively affected by the group you’re associated with.
In Lori Bertrand, D.C., RN’s post on developing goals, she highlighted the impact others have on us and how their influence can alter who we are, even at our core. The relationships that we develop in our communities are catalysts for change, can provide accountability and motivate us to reach our potential. On the flip side, they can drain us, trigger insecurities and derail us from our desired goal. Sometimes it’s the presence or even the absence of a particular person in our life that leaves a mark. Maybe a situation or relationship that seemed chaotic, negative and unhealthy has become our greatest teacher and other times it’s the compassion and acceptance that an important person (or group) extends that alters how we see ourselves and the life we lead.
There is no doubt about it, relationships and the communities we’re involved in, shape who we are right down to our very center. From infancy to the end of our lifetime, without them, our lives would be lonely, isolated, hopeless and meaningless.
What communities are you a part of? Are you an active participant or a passive observer? What role do you play in the community for others? In what ways can you get more involved, speak up or take on responsibilities that will create a closer connection between you and the others around you?
If you’re having trouble identifying a community that you want to actively participate in, then finding a community you will enjoy is top priority. Explore different organizations that reflect your core beliefs, interests or values. Take a look at the spheres you’re in: work, family, church, groups, studios, DEFINE etc., where can you get involved or how can you be more present in the moment to connect with others you are around.
Look for ways to increase your exposure and know that if you’re uncomfortable, you’re probably doing the right thing. Community isn’t necessarily comfortable, it should be evolving, challenging you and creating opportunity for growth.
Taking steps to increase your community involvement does not have to be overwhelming or consuming. It can be as simple as introducing yourself to someone new, meeting for coffee, offering to be a resource or sharing your knowledge and expertise. Maybe it’s focusing on a few people to build a personal relationship with or simply putting down your smart phone and making eye contact when you greet others. Participation and appearing open is key. After all, you never know what connection will result in helping move your career, goals, dreams or desires forward.
Last but not least, let your community know how they have impacted you. Share your story, open up and be vulnerable. Let others in on your life and you’ll reap even deeper rewards interpersonally. After my visit this weekend, the first priority when I returned was reaching out to my current community and colleagues I reconnected with and letting each one know just how thankful I am for their presence and support. It was a powerful feeling to let them know just how much they mean to me. Try it!
–> Speak up! Let us know what you enjoy most about the communities you are involved in and how they have contributed to shaping who you are today!
DEFINE’s Emotional Wellness Expert, Jessica Pass, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Instructor at DEFINE body&mind. She has a private practice in Houston, Texas, specializing with children, adolescents, individuals, couples and parents. Jessica’s approach incorporates mind-body integration, education and practical strategies to improve emotional wellness, emphasizing all aspects of who we are to live fully and thrive in our relationships.