Time for a new tribe? When to ditch outdated partnerships for a truly caring community
Do you feel like you’ve outgrown your circle of friends? Maybe you no longer feel safe or understand. There may be fewer and fewer things to share with people in your usual circle, and it makes you feel lonely or isolated. If so, you are not alone. Welcome to one of the core dynamics of continued growth!
As we continue to evolve, many of us struggle with the feeling of not quite fitting in with our traditional community or tribe: we may have expanded or changed beyond the bounds of tribal norms and no longer find the same meaning. belonging there. Other members may have tightened tribal rules to foster a sense of security. As a result, we may feel a sense of disconnection or alienation.
In truth, each of us belongs to many tribes simultaneously: there is your original tribe, the family you were born into, and then there are all the communities of choice that you have joined: your work tribe, your social circles, your faith. based community, your neighborhood and more. These communities are not static; they are in continual flux because they consist of individuals who are in continual states of change. When many changes occur in the individual or in the community, a sense of dissonance occurs.
How are we going to deal with this? First, it is important to recognize that tribal loyalties were historically forged to survive. They were adapted over the centuries to ensure the safety and survival of the group. Survival required that individuation be sacrificed for security.
In modern society, the tables are turned. Whether we enjoy it or not, change is essential to survival on all levels of being. The pace of change is driven by technological advances and is happening faster and faster: sociologists estimate that there has been more change in society over the past 100 years than in the entire previous 6,000 years. Individual adaptation is now a requirement for survival, and the rate of individual change does not always match the rate at which our various tribal communities evolve. The resulting dissonance can cause intense friction and pain.
The dissonance also results from the confusion between the concepts of ‘connection’ and ‘community’. We tend to equate one with the other, when really they relate to different qualities. Connection is related to connectivity: the objective physical technology or means that allow us to build a community, but do not represent the quality of that community. Connectivity simply offers the opportunity to connect with others through the Internet, text messages, phone calls, or any other social networking option.
Community is the result of building a relationship through meaningful interaction over time. There is no shortcut; it is a process that develops when the bonds of trust and intimacy are nurtured and respected.
And here lies a warning: when we confuse connectedness with community, we depersonalize the sacred nature of true community and begin to relate to people as objects. Instead of developing intimacy over time, we collect friends on social networking sites or try to buy people’s loyalty. However, friendship is simply an act of connection; it does not create intimacy.
Indeed, social experiments indicate that technology-dominated connectivity results in alienation and social collapse over time. In a groundbreaking social experiment conducted by Josh Harris, one of the founders of social networking on the Internet, he found that the more people’s private lives were exposed by 24/7 technology, the more their sense of intimacy and relationship deteriorated to that the community collapsed. in violence and self-destructive behavior.
It’s time to review our concepts of community so we can create tribes that offer a true sense of intimacy and belonging.
In his 1987 book, The Different Drum: Building Community and Peace, psychologist M. Scott Peck described several central characteristics of true community. Beyond the obvious components of inclusiveness, engagement, and participatory consensus, Peck pointed to the quality of embracing diversity through realism. When each member brings their own unique point of view from a place of humility and goodwill, the community benefits from a broader perspective in which to better understand the full context of a situation. In other words, mutual tolerance helps members to embrace each other’s different viewpoints as an integral part of the whole, rather than imposing forced conformity to groupthink or cohesion.
In an environment like this, members experience and express compassion and respect for one another. They allow others to share their vulnerability, learn and grow, and express who they really are. When a conflict arises, they learn to resolve it wisely and gracefully. Members listen to and respect each other’s gifts, accept each other’s limitations, celebrate their differences, and commit to finding solutions together rather than fighting each other. In fact, the true spirit of community is the spirit of peace, love, wisdom and power. The source of this spirit can be seen as a consequence of the collective self or as the manifestation of a Higher Will.
Does this description of community sound spiritual to you? In fact, it is, because Spirit is the common denominator among all of us, regardless of how separate we feel from others.
As human beings, we often experience a socioeconomic sense of separation from others due to different opinions, beliefs, expectations, language, culture, or interests, as each of us expresses them in a unique and different way than others. And yet, we continue to differentiate ourselves! In this ongoing process, we continue to evolve or devolve in response to life. A community that seemed like a good fit last year may no longer work today; the places where we feel embraced, can now suffocate us. In the course of life, we can expect to outgrow and change allegiances to many of the tribal communities to which we once belonged.
And yet, when we transcend the layers of physical appearance, mental beliefs, and socioeconomic conditioning, we find in the presence of Spirit a common denominator in all those around us. Perhaps it is time to expand our tribal definitions to encompass a spiritual community that includes all of humanity as children of God.
Mother Teresa advised her nuns to see Jesus in every leper they meet, to find His presence by looking into the eyes of the helpless. When we can look beyond the issues that divide us to find the omnipresent Divinity in each other, we will discover the foundations of true community.
The spiritual community transcends all borders, beliefs, and socioeconomic backgrounds. It is inclusive because it operates with voluntary self-responsibility and mutual compassion, and its doors are open to all.
Building this kind of community takes time: time to listen, listen, respond and participate. Take a few minutes to reread the description of the spiritual community. Then make time in your life to foster that kind of connection with the people you care about. You are one of the architects of the community in your life and you can participate in the construction of a tribe to which you belong.