The Importance Of Being In A Community

being part of a community, this stuff is golden, belonging, feeling of belonging, finding a new job, being part of a team, working,

My SO has just started a new job, with the awesome title of Social Media And Content Developer. I’m very jealous and very proud of him, but his absence is already freaking me out a bit.

He leaves at 8am, returns at 6pm. That’s 10 hours, x5 days a week that I’ll be on my own. 50 hours feels like a lot of alone time to fill.

You may know that I am trying to find work. Besides financial security and making my own money, the reason that I want a job is to be part of a team again. I want to feel like part of something, that I’m needed, and to also have the opportunity to meet new people. I didn’t realise how much I would miss that part of working.

I’ve had struggles with fitting in before. I’ve had and still have some very close and dear friends, but I’ve never really had a group of them. I’ve always wanted to fit in to a group, imagining it would be like a modern day version of Friends or maybe How I Met Your Mother.

You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.
– Brene Brown

Currently I am reading The Girls – a book that has already surprised me. I try not to read too many reviews before buying books – I like to read the simple blurb and assume what it might be about, pleased later on when the story takes me in a different direction to where I thought it was going.

So, I knew nothing about this book except that the cover was gorgeous and it was only a fiver at Tesco (yes really! A fiver for a hardback book!). When I read that the story was about a cult, I said to myself; “Hmm maybe I could join a cult…?” That’s how much I want to belong somewhere – I’m even wondering about the possibility of a cult. Are there even cults in Edinburgh? Are cults a thing in the UK? I have no idea (and don’t worry, I won’t actually join one).

Why do I feel this need to belong anyway? Well, because it’s an innate need that we all share. All of us want to belong somewhere, with someone or with several people. It’s just like how those of us who are lucky enough to have loving families feel a sense of home when we are with them. That feeling of home is a feeling of belonging.

By building relations we create a source of love and personal pride and belonging that makes living in a chaotic world easier.
– Susan Lieberman

I realised recently that the only community I belong to at the moment is the blogging community. Last year – the toughest year of my life hands down – was the year that I really got into connecting with other bloggers and generally other people through the magic of the internet, or more specifically, Twitter. I am incredibly thankful for meeting and becoming friends with some awesome people through this community. They’ve been supportive and inspirational, and you can’t get much better than that.

Being part of a community is good for your mental health. It provides a source of fun, support, friendship, opportunity and new experiences. It’s a huge part of life, finding those people that you want to spend your time with. I’m very lucky to have the people I already have now; my SO, my family, my friends (both online and offline!), but I am very much looking forward to joining a new team of people, contributing to a joint project and working towards something brilliant.

 

12 Comments

  • Jennifer says:

    Hi! I just discovered your blog through the Community Pool. Brilliant post; I know what you mean: I work on my own most of the time, as a writer, musician and comedian, and if I appreciate the freedom it gives me, I’m also struggling with the loneliness that comes with it at times. But I think it is worth it!

    • Lauren says:

      Wow that’s an awesome career – I’m a bit jealous! I really don’t think that adult loneliness (when it comes to friendships) is addressed as much as it should be in media. Maybe we can change that!
      Thank you for commenting!

  • Jake says:

    Being a part of a community is definitely crucial to anyone’s well being! We have all heard it before “we are social animals”. And it is true! I am at a similar point in my life right now where I am trying to find something to belong to and to give myself some additional social stability, and I think I am doing a great job. So my advice to you would be is explore lots of different things in your community; whether it be cycling groups, writing groups, music groups if you play an instrument, and so on. Also, have you thought about volunteer work? That also helped me meet new people who are very very supportive of me and help me develop as a person both professionally and individually. Might be worth a shot!

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  • Ditchthebun says:

    I know exactly what you mean about having a good community. Since my best gfs are all very busy with life, jobs and babies and live far away we rarely catch up now which is very sad. In 2014 I was in a job where I was the youngest person by more that a decade and te place was just really set in its ways.
    I am really lucky that in the workplace I am in now (just had 2 year anniversary) I have found an amazing small group of friends who are just brilliant and completely crazy and annoying and awesome all at once. I have never had that before. They make the environment (which can be sometimes a little toxic) so good and we are always there to lean on each other if one of us is having a crappy day. Having this has really changed my attitude. Over the past year there have been 3 attempts to headhunt me to bigger and better roles (with significant pay rises), the most recent being last week. I have turned them all down because at the moment having this environment and these people is more important that moving upwards and onwards šŸ™‚
    Honestly having this has made such a huge impact (positively) in my life. We all spend quite a bit of time outside of work together. We might go out for dinner, go bowling, go to the movies, go to the gym and Pilates. Mental health wise meeting this group of 4-5 people has made a huge difference in my life. I truly hope you find this for yourself šŸ™‚

    • Lauren says:

      That’s so wonderful – it sounds like perfection! So glad that you have found such a fun, supportive group of people. I hope I find some too šŸ™‚

  • Quinn says:

    It’s nice to be part of a group. Have you considered working from home somewhere like Rev.com and then doing some sort of book club or something (whatever hobby you’re into) to propel you into the company of other people? I like the way I can work from home, but I know I should be more proactive about getting out and meeting new people, especially since I’m (temporarily) in a different city…

    • Lauren says:

      Oh cool, is Rev who you work for?
      It does get a little scary being in a new city, though I like the “new start” feel to it!
      And yeah I should join a group like that really – I just don’t have the confidence without a job under my belt!

  • V Donovan says:

    I totally know what you mean about wanting to be a part of a friend group. I constantly yearn for that too. I wish I had advice or tips to share but I do not.

    • Lauren says:

      Same here really! I’ve tried using Meet Up before, and I did manage to get one BFF from it (which is a massive achievement for me, a introvert with social anxiety) – but that was it! Not sure how to go about it to be honest, apart from getting a job, though I have never made BFFs from work before… It’s a tricky one!

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