Humans are social beings where connection and the need to belong are deeply rooted in our nature. Since the beginning of time, humanity has always created various communities; Even now, essential communities are formed based on multiple shared interests in many things.
And FYI, belonging to communities or even a small group of people can help us develop a stronger sense of personal and collective identity. It can boost our self-esteem and willingness to take on the world and make our dreams happen.
But is that the only true importance of a community? Is there any more meaning in creating or joining a community than ourselves?
The Importance of a Community
In 2020, the pandemic completely cut us off from our friends and family. Social interactions became remote; meeting friends and family gets more complicated with pandemics. In addition, Lockdown prevented us from going to the office, implementing a work-from-home policy that made it harder to meet and connect with others. As a result, loneliness and isolation were rising rapidly.
This event disconnected us from others to the point that it profoundly affected our self-perception and emotional health. Recent studies link that an emotional strain of loneliness may affect physical illness. For example, sleep disorders, heart disease, and a weakened immune system.
It is necessary to have communities as a place to return our sense of belonging, to create a feeling that we still matter to the spotlight of our lives. Communities also have other benefits, for instance:
Support & Safety
Uncertainties become a norm during the pandemic, and you need a robust support system to keep you in check. Because by being together, the feeling of hopelessness may give us the certainty that we are safe when surrounded by our community. Being together also benefits both because supporting others also boosts us to endure and survive.
Connection & Belonging
Camaraderie or togetherness is a central piece in our experience as human beings; it gives us a feeling that we are a part of something big that may help give meaning to our lives. Finding others with shared values, interests, and world views could make us realize that we are not alone, making us feel valued. Because being accepted into a group gave us a stronger sense of self-belonging and helped us cope with negative experiences and feelings.
Once in a while, an extra push is needed to keep us from falling into unhealthy habits or thoughts. In communities, we can experience a positive influence from like-minded people who motivate us to invest in our well-being, bringing us closer to positive life changes.
Sharing our ideas and feelings not just reinforces our sense of self but also adds worth and value to the community. Not to mention the hugely beneficial effect that sharing can have on mental health; higher engagement, positive emotions, and empowerment. Just remember that sharing is caring.
Communities are formed based on shared interests, but it doesn’t mean they are united in mind and opinion. We can still find someone with a different perspective, experience, and beliefs. Learning from them can help us reach insights we may not have or perceive on our own.
Developing community bonds with various people with different views and opinions could be challenging. It became a perfect opportunity for you to practice acceptance as it brings peace and relief. Also, our sense of belonging to the community may make us realize that sometimes we’re solid and vulnerable simultaneously, which is why we need to support each other to avoid unnecessary emotional struggles and pain.
Connections = Increase Chances of Success
Communities are the perfect place for you to begin your journey of networking and building solid relationships with others. They could become your friends or even future partners for a joint-business venture.
Building a Thriving Community
Many communities are built through similar interests, though making them thrive is something else entirely. But, you can do it through these steps.
- Form Identity
Find potential members who fit the community identity that you envisioned.
- Earn Trust
Make them feel invested and trust in the main idea of your community.
- Fuel Participation
Build a trust system between the members interactively and intimately.
Create a valuable experience for your members and make them feel rewarded for their participation.
- Invite new members by allowing other members the opportunity to invite someone new
Give your members a chance to invite someone into your community. To ensure the quality of people within your community, members can feel a sense of belonging when they identify as a member of this group.
But, will it be beneficial if the community grows much more extensive? Should we keep it smaller instead?
Creating a community has ups and downs, and smaller communities may create common interests that benefit everyone involved. However, many individuals cannot be too engaged in moving towards the goal with the other members. Therefore, community leaders should filter people in the community and how to communicate with them.
Suppose, by chance, the people inside the community have the same qualities in their ideas and views. In that case, it can create more significant potential benefits that may answer many questions and solve various problems effectively and efficiently. But in a smaller community, you can have the same results as larger ones. However, it can be harder to progress due to a lack of innovative ideas and critical breakthroughs.
But, other than results and wariness on members’ involvement, there are also benefits in small or more significant communities. Smaller communities can be intimate, resulting in a more positive environment and collaborative enterprise. Individuals will always wish to be part of something they genuinely care about and experience positively. Although, the larger community with a wide variety of people with expertise can respond critically to views or perceptions, resulting in greater leverage, understanding, and various benefits. Larger gatherings can also help people be more comfortable and give them the courage to join other communities, recruit new people, and even launch their communities.
It is a fact that humans cannot live alone; the pandemic has proven it clearly, and community is the answer to it. Of course, it doesn’t matter what community you join or even create or how big or small a community is. Still, the important thing is that you can build meaningful relationships, gain the benefits of a richer perspective from others, and then identify and develop a stronger sense of personal and collective identity.