Social Issues

Community — How to develop a sense of Community

I came across quite a few articles about this topic lately. And I started to think about it. 

Everyone wants to belong! — No question about that.

Is the isolation that so many of us feel really stemming from external reasons?

It is my belief that even if all the necessary changes would be made in our communities, IT WOULD NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

I have lived in many different communities in different countries; some of them had great community centers; libraries sports center; parks etc. etc. — yet many of them stood empty. Very few people would actually take advantage of them. WHY?? What is really at the core of the problem.

Also in religious communities many times people have a hard time to really feel that they belong!

What makes us feel we “belong” or feel “connected”? My conclusion after living in different parts of the world — that it really does not depend on the external environment, but the ability to connect. It is true – modern lifestyles do not help to develop communities. Recently a friend of ours invited us to a resort here in the Dominican Republic. Externally it was beautiful, watching the sun set with great food and friends.

But, as w returned home; I started to feel that something was missing–then it hit me–I was missing my apartment complex with all the noise — children playing, dogs barking; birds chirping; loud music.– well the music sometimes gets on my ner

if its too loud–but it belongs to the community and I would miss it. 

 I always tell my husband to leave the car in the parking lot and just walk to the neighborhood stores. It is so nice to see people in their everyday activities and chat with them–see how they are doing–getting to know them. 

My husband and I are retired and we like it quiet. But not too quiet. I have checked out “Retirement Communities” — but I cannot help to think  that this is not the best way to live.

We older people need the younger people and the younger generation needs us! If we have the right attitude and show a genuine interest in what the other is thinking and seek to understand we will develop great relationships regardless of age, culture and yes even language!

Developers are building what people are asking for.  And for too long we sacrificed what we have taken for granted in the past — relationships; connectedness — without realizing what was happening until it had disappeared.

When I grew up, life revolved around a very basic lifestyle. People got married and many times the whole village participated. What an incredible experience that was! The cost of a wedding was no problem. All the guests paid for their meal in advance. A custom I think we should recover somehow.

Unfortunately this beautiful custom has all but disappeared. It seems my nephew’s wedding was the last one where this beautiful tradition was followed.

All over the world, this type of customs exist and are incredibly beautiful! Why do we as a modern society allow to lose what is beautiful. I believe that slowly these traditions and customs are being revived. I love modern life, I like to live in the city and enjoy all that it has to offer. But there has to be a way where we can remain connected to our roots.

I am convinced that the opioid crisis stems from that lack of connection and belonging Yes there  is job loss in areas and changes are taking place so fast. It is hard to keep up.

But no matter what the crisis — if we can stay connected and work together any problem can be solved. That’s why after war and other disasters — people will find their connection out of necessity and start working together. 

When we look at history — it seems there is a common thread — People come together in need!

Everyone of us has that ability to lead inside and we just need to develop our skills and abilities. We will discover a sense of purpose; we will feel needed (doesn’t everyone want to be needed, to be important?)

But is this the only way — wars and disasters — or is it

possible for people to be more mindful and caring for others  — in good times? To have courage to stand up for what is right no matter what the cost. Not to wait for the government or some “natural leader” who has the wherewithal and ability to create the necessary changes.

The book “A Path Appears” by Nicholas Kristof — transforming lives, creating opportunity–

provides many great examples of how we can contribute to our community. It provides practical advice AND more important– inspiration and motivation. If we can only go beyond ourselves or better yet forget about ourselves for a moment and live for the sake of the other. This may be just the immediate family — it will surprise us how our lives will change for the better.

There is nothing more mentally debilitating than feeling powerless, helpless and hopeless  — thinking “there is nothing I can do — it is the powerful, the rich etc. “– if only, if, if  and so on.

BUT we do have a choice: At this very moment I can decide to give my life purpose — the Internet is full of useful information.  Well, it depends what you are looking for — the above mentioned book is an excellent source of inspiration and practical advice. 

I have a choice – if I mindlessly without any real purpose browse the internet, read about whatever feels good at the moment (agrees with my beliefs–does not challenge me in any way); keep thinking in the same way as I have until now — or do I challenge myself and THINK — I mean really THINK hard about what is important; what do I really value? How can I realize my dreams and start with small things at first and keep going, expanding my horizon, develop new skills. We really have no excuse —  so much is available for free! All we have to do — make a decision and take responsibility. 

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