Even in the best of times, the need to belong is a powerful force. And in the worst of times? There is nothing more important than finding your tribe.
When something tragic happens, it often leaves us feeling like this –
We feel isolated. Alone. It’s as though pain has its own language and nobody else speaks that tongue.
And then one day, either by chance or from actively searching, you find this –
And it feels amazing. You’re not alone after all. Somebody else knows the words that pain whispers through the long nights.
Over time, you meet more. “I’ve found my people. My tribe,” you think to yourself, enjoying the much-needed connection and solidarity. Some are further along in their journey. Others, like you, are still taking their first shaky steps.
You feel supported. Accepted. Instead of your pain making you an outcast, it is now your admission ticket to the new club. “You’re one of us,” it says.
In a healthy tribe, the members offer up both encouragement and tough truths. They come together out of shared pain, but more importantly, they grow together out of a desire to move through the hard times. The connections strengthen the individuals while at the same time, allowing each person the space and freedom to explore their own path, accepting the idea that life is not one-size-fits-all.
Yet sometimes, a poorly-chosen tribe can hold us back. Misery loves company, so when we’re in pain, we have a tendency to attract more pain. So it’s easy for a tribe to become focused on what brought the members together and amplify each other’s cries within the closed-off space. Furthermore, an unhealthy tribe feels threatened by progress so the group works to create an “us vs. them” culture to keeps its members contained.
There are few decisions more important in life than choosing your tribe. Since we become the people we spend the most time with, your tribe becomes your identity.
Before you choose your tribe, ask yourself these questions:
- Are they focused on destruction or creation? In other words, are their energies directed towards tearing other people down or building each other up?
- What is their goal – progress or commiseration? The latter has its place, but it’s generally not a space you want to occupy for the long run.
- How do they view dissent or individual growth? Are you encouraged to speak your truth and explore your path or are you expected to toe the line?
- When you spend time with your tribe, do you feel encouraged or defeated? Do they provide you with hope and promise or fill you with dread?
One of the best feelings in the world is the joy and connection that comes from finding your tribe. Choose wisely, and your tribe will be your greatest champion.