Building Community All By Yourself

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Confused by the title? How is it possible to build a community all by yourself?

Well, allow me to expand a bit. One of the things I hear very often from the people I work with is that there’s a strong sense of isolation when trying to follow a life that doesn’t go along with mainstream cultural values. Specifically, things like eating real food, owning fewer things, opting out of the school system, using cars less, avoiding personal care products with toxic ingredients, and just living one’s life according to instinct, can all prompt a very slow, “Ohhhhhh” from others when talking about how you live. Followed by their realizing that they left the stove on at home and need to back away from you quickly to take care of that.

We wish that there were a place we could go that felt safe. Where we could discuss our concerns and our challenges and our frustrations with others who would get it. Who understood. Who didn’t think we were completely nuts. We just, for once, wish that we felt supported in our desires and decisions, instead of feeling like we were constantly having to justify the way we are trying to live our lives. Many people have asked me, “How can I find that community of people?”

Sometimes, you find an existing group. Maybe there just so happens to be some folks who meet up monthly for tea. Or maybe there’s a club you can join with discussions regularly. The thing is, sometimes these don’t exist. In fact, based on what I’m hearing from readers, more often than not that’s the case. My advice to these folks is — create a group yourself.

This sounds scary, right? Not knowing anyone, and just deciding to put yourself out there? Sure it is. At some point, however, you may just decide that the fear is worth facing, as opposed to continuing to feel so alone. So just do it and see what happens. Start a group. Make fliers, hang them on bulletin boards of places you frequent or where you think your people would hang out. Coffee shops you love, independent book stores, food co-ops, libraries, park bulletin boards….you get the idea. If you are willing to pay money, you can also use the Meetup website. If you are into social media, you can try there, just make sure you specify your location and that you are looking for people to join an *in person* group — human connection has no replacement.

Look at it this way — you already *don’t* have a community. So what’s the worst that could happen? You can’t really be any worse off, and in the best case scenario, you end up with your people!

Leave a comment below and let me know how it goes. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to scheduling my next book club meeting….

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