We believe that community extends beyond the neighbors on your block. It is not just immediate family, although that is certainly important. Community can be connecting with people with similar interests, working with people in various organizations, and even broader; to a global community. How does community interrelate with personal identification and is it possible to retain a sense of individuality while learning to be part of a community?
Community can be a fiber that holds us together and strengthens our relationships while broadening our perspectives. When there is a sense of community, we can understand parts of a bigger picture and realize that no one exists in isolation. We can learn that while someone else’s struggle may not be our own, we can gain an understanding of what that person is going through and find ways to be sympathetic. We can find our skills and experiences may be helpful to others. We can find a lifeline.
Even though understanding, sympathy, and cohesiveness can come out of building a community this does not mean that you have to lose your sense of yourself. Retaining who you are can bring more experiences to being part of a community. Having a strong sense of self, interweaved in the community can make that group stronger. Community is a balance of being who you are while being open to the thoughts, ideas, and beliefs of other people.
We believe that we must proceed with caution when people try to narrow what it means to be a community, when people put up walls instead of reaching out, and when people typify a community as one sort of people. This type of thinking is damaging to creating community, ideas, and ultimately to yourself. It limits and puts labels on what can and cannot be community and what you can and cannot be part of. Think of how you would broaden and define community and how you would like to extend your connections with those around you while using skills that are unique to you. The results can be really interesting and will likely improve your pursuit of happiness!