Did you miss being in community during the pandemic? I did, and now I’m back. Everywhere I go, there is a bubbling over of happy conversation and introductions. Yet, I’m aware that there are many still struggling to reenter the flow.
Here are some thoughts on why it’s important.
YOU FIND YOUR TRIBE
We’re social animals, but that doesn’t mean we’re comfortable with everyone. The crowds at sports events are a good example. We’re happier surrounded by others who have similar interests and values. But given I’m not a sports fan, I’ve found other things that achieve the same group pleasure. Most of it involves music.
We had a great time attending the Latino Festival. It was a happy tribe of Latino people from many countries, with lots of Latin music, salsa dancing and authentic food. We liked the Columbian food, a country we hope to visit.
MEET NEW PEOPLE/NEW EXPERIENCES
An interesting way you can expand your social circle and have new experiences is meeting new people. If someone invites us to visit, we joke, make sure you mean it, because we’ll show up. We’ve had life altering experiences visiting friends in the Volta Region of Ghana, Dakar, Portugal’s Douro Valley, Amsterdam and Brussels.
You don’t know how insular your life is until you experience how others live. It’s the impetus for our non-profit, GreenRoom Exchange, hosting culturally diverse art events to show we are more alike than different.
STRETCH YOUR WORLD VIEW AND SENSE OF SELF
As much as I use social media for connection, its drawback is curating your experience. We’ve consequently become more divisive and certain of our limited frame of reference. Spending time with people who have different backgrounds breaks stereotypes. It stretches you to consider your own biases.
In contrast, my work with the courts and nationwide social justice consultation highlights many myths about divisiveness. I’ve found that across all political parties and races, there are people willing to help those in need. Watching people come together for the greater good gives me hope. It wouldn’t happen if I didn’t put myself in different circles. Try it!
Reach out if you’d like to explore this.