Community is important. We live interconnected lives but like the villages of old, through circumstances of family, career, education, or just plain happenstance, we are thrust into association with people.  Masses and masses of them and rarely of our choosing.  Now sometimes we make great friends and networks from this and create community through it. Sometimes there is a ready-made community there that we can join and we become part of a network that welcomes us.  But many times we are just a struggling individual that seems not quite to fit and is frustrated, angered, or infuriated at various times for various reasons.

And it is very common for life to cycle us in and out of these situations at various times in our lives.  Sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug, as the saying goes.  Which is why I appreciate the internet, connectivity devices and social media.  Yes, there are a lot of cons to them and I’m concerned about them as well, however I’ll wait to see if the concerns are more ‘Oh, no Elvis.  That music is from the Devil’ and less Orwell’s 1984 before I decide to go off the grid.  I believe that with the loss of a truly local community base for our interconnectedness we are creating connectivity that allows us to create a new community.  And I don’t believe that we have seen the true and complete nature of that yet.  I think we’re still very much in the early stages of what this new community can become and I’m very interested to see what comes next.

With that said, I work with many people who are looking for ‘community’.  Not that they don’t get out much, they do.  They have interests, they have families, they have jobs out in the world, and they live their lives interacting with people every day.  However they feel that they don’t have community.  By this they mean a group of like-minded individuals that they can talk to, work with, and share life experiences with.  At least this is what they think they need. In actuality, what they are looking for is validation.  They wish to be heard on matters that are incredibly important to them and therefore make them vulnerable.  They wish to be known for who they truly are and for who they feel the rest of their acquaintance won’t accept.

We all need validation at one time or another.  Almost every person who has achieved their dreams will tell you that directly or indirectly validation is what gave them the steam to get to their goal.  I have seen it over and over again that if the person is able to articulate their idea, if they are able to muster the courage to speak to one other person about what it is they are thinking, wanting, or doing, then they already know they are on the right track and they just need that one extra ingredient to soar.  So my recommendation is take all the talking heads who speak about the disconnection of social media and texting and tweeting with a grain of salt.  Please don’t be texting while you’re eating dinner with someone for no other reason than it’s rude and a bit silly.  But seek community where you find it and allow distance to be no obstacle to creating connection.  Sometimes it’s about Validation.