In a fast-paced and often isolating world, the healing power of community has emerged as a profound antidote to the challenges that people face. The art of building community transcends geographical boundaries, age groups, and social and cultural differences, offering a haven of support, understanding, and shared purpose. Whether online or offline, local or global, the act of forging connections within a community is transforming lives and contributing to a more empathetic and resilient society.
We as human beings are inherently social creatures, wired for connection and belonging. Yet, this modern age has brought about a paradox — as technology advances where real-world interactions often dwindle. Amid the hustle and bustle of daily life and the closing of a global pandemic, many individuals find themselves grappling with feelings of loneliness and disconnect. This is where the beauty of building community steps in, offering a sense of belonging that rekindles the human need for genuine connection.
The Purpose of Community: Communities are generally formed around shared experiences, interests, or goals. Whether centered around hobbies, professional affiliations, cultural and social backgrounds, or causes, these spaces provide a platform for like-minded individuals to come together. The intrinsic act of sharing experiences and stories fosters empathy and compassion by enabling us to recognize our own struggles in the lives of others. Through this process, a powerful validation takes place — the realization that one is not alone in their challenges.
Support in Times of Adversity: Life is marked by highs and lows, victories, and setbacks. During challenging times, a strong community can serve as a safety net, offering emotional support, advice, and practical assistance for supported wellness. Whether it is celebrating achievements or providing a shoulder to lean on during tough moments, communities amplify the joy and alleviate the burdens of siloed individual experiences. The bonds formed within these groups become a lifeline, providing comfort and empowerment.
Spaces for Growth and Co-creation: Communities are fertile grounds for personal growth and learning. Engaging with individuals from diverse backgrounds exposes members to new perspectives, ideas, and approaches. This exposure stimulates cognitive growth and widens horizons, contributing to an individual’s overall development. Beyond intellectual growth, communities also provide avenues for skill development, co-creation, collaboration, and mentorship, enhancing the richness of our individual journeys.
A Source of Identity and Belonging: Identity is often shaped by the communities we belong to. Whether it’s a cultural group, an online forum, or a neighborhood gathering, these communities play a role in shaping our sense of self. The act of belonging provides a source of pride, validation, and resilience in nurturing a positive self-concept that is integral to our mental and emotional well-being. “Only through our connectedness to others can we really know and enhance the self. And only through working on the self can we begin to enhance our connectedness to others” (Harriet Lerner, 2009).
Fostering Positive Social Change: Communities have a unique power to foster positive social change, both within individuals and in the larger world. When people come together around a shared cause or purpose, they can influence societal norms, challenge injustices and systems of oppression and advocate for meaningful inclusive, and equitable change. The collective strength of a community amplifies individual voices, turning them into a formidable force for reform. “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” (Helen Keller).
In a world that often emphasizes individualism and self-sufficiency, the art of building community serves as a poignant reminder of our shared humanity. At the Connection, we have taken a step towards building our own intentional community for change makers called “Unifying Threads: Community Sessions for Resilient Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Practitioners.” “Unifying Threads” is an initiative designed to support and empower professionals who are actively engaged in promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within organizations and communities. This initiative focuses on the unique challenges and emotional labor faced by DEIB practitioners in their roles, providing a safe space for them to reflect, heal, and build resilience as a community effort for social change.
Through this community, individuals will have the opportunity to find solace, support, and understanding — transcending the barriers that isolate us. The healing power of these connections goes beyond personal well-being; it ripples out to enrich society as a whole. By embracing the art of building community, we unlock the potential for personal growth, collective empowerment, and a more compassionate world.
Join us for our first session entitled “Let’s Talk Resilience” at 4pm on October 4th live via Zoom.