The old saying “No man is an island” may sound cliché, but it is a fact. Humans are social beings; even if you’re the most introverted out of the introverts, the need to belong is still ingrained in your nature. That’s why humans have always been drawn to building communities.
Today, many communities are being formed around shared hobbies or interests, such as professional associations, religious groups, neighborhoods, sports clubs or volunteer groups. Some even create mobile community apps to further their reach and invite more people into their communities.
Even the most introverted introverts can agree that a community can help people develop a stronger sense of collective and personal identity. It can also boost your self-esteem, as well as your willingness to make your dreams come true.
But there is more to a community than these so-called “cliché” benefits.
What is Community and Having a Sense of Community?
A community can be anything. It can be physical spaces where people connect geographically connect. It can also be a virtual space, such as private community platforms and social media groups, where people bond over their shared interests. Simply put, communities bring like-minded people together. Every community operates with particular boundaries that meet the needs of the community.
A sense of community is important in promoting community health. It embraces pride, image and character. It is the feeling that people within the community are important and that their needs will be met through togetherness and commitment. When you’re part of a community, you feel that you are part of something greater than yourself.
What are the Benefits of Being Part of an Engaging Community?
There are many positive aspects that come with being part of a community. A community offers unique opportunities for people to learn from one another, as well as to lift each other by offering encouragement and support.
The benefits of a community include the following:
- Connection and belonging. Togetherness is pivotal to everyone’s experience as humans; this is the feeling of being part of something bigger. It can give meaning and purpose to your life. Finding others with the same world views, interests and values makes us realize that we’re not alone in the struggle. Belonging highlights why community is important: being part of an accepting group gives people a stronger sense of self. It also helps them cope better with negative feelings and experiences.
- Safety and support. Thanks (or no thanks) to the COVID-19 pandemic, living with uncertainty has become the new norm. This has made it more important to have a strong support network. After all, one of the main reasons to have a community is to have people who can give you certainty and help you fight feelings of hopelessness. It can also go the other way since supporting others can boost your self-confidence.
- Sometimes (if not most of the time), we need someone else to push us away from unhealthy thoughts and habits. Positive influence from like-minded individuals is another reason behind the importance of having a community. As much as we like to think that we can be independent, there are times when we are unable to look after ourselves. A community can influence and motivate you to invest your well-being to bring positive changes to your life.
- Developing relationships with others who have different views can cause conflict but it is a chance to practice acceptance. Acceptance isn’t always about agreeing; it also involves agreeing with people who don’t agree with you. Being a member of a community helps us accept that sometimes we are right, but we can also be wrong.
- People learn from others. As mentioned above, people within the community can still have different beliefs, views and experiences. You can still learn from these people and gain insights you may have not realized before.
- Sharing feelings, ideas and activities reinforces a sense of self, as well as adds value and worth to the community. The old saying “The more, the merrier!” is a fact in communities. When you share with others, you benefit from positive emotions, higher engagement and empowerment.
- More connections. The importance of a community can also positively impact your professional development. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are eager to support small businesses, so these communities are good places to network and build relationships.
Even the most introverted introvert needs other people to thrive and improve their quality of life. Building meaningful relationships can heal and empower you, as well as improve your sense of self.