Creating a tribe, a community of people that we can count on is fundamental to our human nature. We all seek to belong. The labels we give ourselves based on interests, personalities and societal standards is a way for us to belong either as conformists or non-conformists, those included or excluded from the social situations they find themselves in.
Many of us feel as though we have several masks: work, school, family, chosen family, friends, children, etc. Where in this is truly what we seek? When we are in touch with our dreams, desires and interests then we can honestly begin to seek out those who harmony matches ours. Our tribe doesn’t need to have all the same interests, never disagree, or even see each other daily.
What a tribe does need to do is be supportive. Whether that support comes in the form of a hug and listening ear, a kick in the ass to get going in the direction we need and desire, or helping you catch up on laundry it doesn’t matter as long as it is healthy, mutual support that leaves you a better person at the end of the day.
As a child I always searched for friendships and life situations that felt right. When things did not feel right or no longer suited I wasn’t afraid to make a change. This earned me the childhood nickname of ‘queen of change’. I also had a second nickname of ‘mama ‘Ris or Camp Counselor’ from an early age because I always listened to those I cared about and done my best to support them.
Over the years I have been blessed to know some remarkable people. These individuals have taught me alot. Some of the most profound statements I have ever learned are: How can I support you? and You get to feel what you feel, it is how you act and react on those feelings that counts.
How can I support you? is an extraordinary statement. It makes no supposition of what an individual wants or needs; no promises or solutions. This statement merely gives an individual the opportunity to be honest about where these are in a current situation and what they may need from those who car for them.
You get to feel what you feel, it is how you act and react on those feelings that counts. Human beings are instinctual creatures. We cannot control how a situation is going to make us feel; however, we can control how we respond to that emotion. Understanding what emotion we are having is important as to why we may be feeling that way. Emotions tell us we need to examine a situation and address something that isn’t working. Whether it is something in ourselves we need to address or with another individual or life situation emotions tell us what is and is not working in our life.
I have found these statements beneficial to tribe building because each tribe starts with a friendship. Be the friend you want to have. Treat your family the way you want to be treated. Respect personal boundaries but make sure yours are respected as well. Respect is not a one way street.
Tribes do not need to be huge. Mine began with two friendships and has grown as each of us has grown and loved others. How did I cultivate a tribe? Be willing to be vulnerable, but not a doormat. Be honest, but kind. Don’t do all the work as relationships take work from all the individuals involved.
Follow your interests, hobbies, passions and it will take you to people who enjoy those things too. Strike up conversations with people at these activities. Often that is as simple as complimenting something an individual is wearing or listening to a conversation and finding a commonality to comment on. Don’t force it, let it flow. This may not happen overnight or in a day or a week. My tribe took years to form and many starts along the way.
My tribe grew and changes as I grew and changed as a person. The people I met when I first moved to Ohio are not the main source of my support these days. In fact, most of those friendships have drifted off or are now to acquaintance level as our lives took us different directions. There is nothing wrong with the evolution of relationships. Letting a relationship evolve naturally is healthy. No one needs to be forced to maintain relationships just for the sake of longevity. Individuals do not benefit from longevity, but quality.
Cultivate your tribe with love, kindness, respect and honesty. Be honest with yourself.
Love with an open heart.
Sassy Viking Mama