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A Community Around You

Even when you don’t want to matter to anyone their love of you won’t let you deny that fact.  You won’t be able to escape it and, in the deepest and darkest moments when you experience the very pit of your mind and reach the bottom of your soul, you’ll be able to cling to the fact that there is at least one person out there that cares for you and who you are.  At its smallest, this is affirming.  At its greatest, this is life saving.

My writing is often an overflow of my heart.  The times that my heart is holding so much emotion allows words flow most fluidly.  At times, and if I’m honest that is more often than not, the emotion that overflows from my heart are those that are largely derived from my struggles with anxiety and depression.  I do my best to put the struggles with anxiety and depression into words that make sense to those who don’t struggle with these disorders because they really are paradigm shifting problems that aren’t easily cast aside with positive thoughts or distracting actions.

Today is a bit different.  While my words are still the overflow of my heart, this is an overflow of some of the positives that I have been experiencing in my life because of one very core element.  Community.  True, honest, genuine, loving community.

I have said it almost every time I write on anxiety, depression, and life in general and I will continue to say it as loud and as often as I can: the negative aspects of our life tend to isolate us and make us feel alone, abandoned, and hopeless.  We feel we are the only person that is experiencing this pain, these feelings, this struggle.  We think others won’t understand or, worse, won’t care.  We use faulty logic to come to this conclusion and we expect everyone else to be mind readers because we so badly want help, so badly want a friend, so badly want a conversation but we aren’t willing to express those thoughts.  We hold them in and isolate ourselves even farther thinking that if people really cared they would just: know what I’m feeling, call me, leave me alone, know how to help, etc.

The ongoing remedy that I have begun to experience in my life is the effect of a supportive community of friends and family around me.  This has come about through openness and honesty, two aspects that are difficult to live in when dealing with depression and anxiety.  I call this an ongoing remedy because it is not a one time pill that you take and you never deal with this issue again.  My struggles with anxiety and depression are something that I have to be constantly vigilant about evaluating my mindset, my thought processes, and my emotions.

The most defining characteristic of this community that I have been surrounded with is not that it is always positive and happy-go-lucky.  That type of community is difficult to sustain because there is no depth.  It has no basis or foothold for tough times and rough moments…that’s not theoretical speak-that’s speaking from experience.  A strong community around you may not always be something that only deals with the most positive things in your life, but it always is supportive.  We are all very different so the way in which we interact and support is very different and we have to be diligent in examining our interactions to ensure that they are supportive of those around us and that those around us are supportive of us.

This is not merely a passing interest in what you are doing, but a deeply rooted investment in the lives of those around you.  It encourages your interests, cheers your victories, struggles with you in difficulty, and, most importantly, is honest even when that honesty is a difficult conversation.  It tells the truth in a way that is not degrading and does not take the focus off of you and your actions, but is centered around building you up even when that truth is a hard truth.  That was the most difficult aspect of community for me to learn.  Friends being genuinely loving and truthful in their critiques weren’t trying to tear me down, but rather were trying to build me up.  They were telling me I was stretched so thin that I couldn’t possibly do the job I expected of myself in every area that I was committed.  This was painful because I twisted their words to mean they thought I wasn’t good enough but their persistence said otherwise.

It encourages your interests, cheers your victories, struggles with you in difficulty, and, most importantly, is honest even when that honesty is a difficult conversation.

A strong community also doesn’t let you hide.  This could be physically or emotionally.  They aren’t going to let you crawl into that hole you think you desire.  Not that they won’t let you take time to yourself and recharge, but they aren’t going to allow you isolate yourself in ways that wall you off from their love, support, kindness, and help.  They find ways to show you love even when you don’t feel like being loved on.  It may seem a bit annoying at the time, but you’ll look back and those times will be some of the most impactful on your life.  They won’t devalue your life and your impact in the way that some of us (speaking from experience here) tend to try to do.  Your life matters to them and they will remind you of that in their own way over and over and over again until it begins to sink in.  Even when you don’t want to matter to anyone their love of you won’t let you deny that fact.  You won’t be able to escape it and, in the deepest and darkest moments when you experience the very pit of your mind and reach the bottom of your soul, you’ll be able to cling to the fact that there is at least one person out there that cares for you and who you are.  At its smallest, this is affirming.  At its greatest, this is life saving.

Our communities will all look different because we are all different.  The way that we interact, the way we speak, the way we show love is all very very different and can create an infinite number of possible communities that support and love each other.  They will be rooted in different social aspect like churches, gyms, and hobbies and will span the gaps of age, status, or profession.  Some of my best friends live across the country.  Some of them live 4 minutes from my house.  3 of them live under my roof.  Each of them has a unique impact on my life that doesn’t allow me to deny my importance to them.

You deserve a community that is supportive, loving, truthful, and caring of who you are. 

You are important.  You deserve a community that is supportive, loving, truthful, and caring of who you are.  I hope that anyone reading this can take an honest look at the groups they have surrounded themselves with and can see these aspects in their relationships.  If not, maybe it’s time for a change.

 

 

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