We are social creatures.  For most of us we crave and thrive on connection and socialization.  We are hard-wired to seek out the approval and support of others and to build community.  And like any other endeavor in life, sometimes we will be successful, sometimes we will fail, and most of the time we will fall somewhere in between because it’s a process and not a goal, it’s a state of being that is constantly changing and becoming and ending and starting.

One of the most challenging aspects of connection and community is being yourself.  Group dynamics stress conformity.  The yardstick of joining a group is “are you like us?”  Do you believe as they do, act as they do, make choices based on their values?  Group’s acceptance or tolerance of difference and creativity varies between the extremes of Burning Man and repressive cult meaning that some value it as the connecting bond between participants, some value it in specific contexts and prohibit it in others, some put up with a certain amount of it as part of the human condition, and others attempt to force it out of all activities in every context.

So being true, being yourself, has social consequences, both positive and negative.  And even in societies that value the underdog, the individual, the risk taker, it can be frightening to speak the truth or even to acknowledge it to yourself.  Because what happens if you say what is true for you and the community that you’ve built for yourself rejects that truth.  They reject you?  Is being alone the cost of being yourself?

But I tend to look at the question from the opposite perspective.  If I have community which doesn’t like the true me, then what community do I actually have?  What connection and socialization do I have if I’m connecting through a mask or a role or a fabrication just to fit in?  What damage am I doing to myself just to have people around me?  And what would it be like if I could have community and support from people who appreciate the true me?  How powerful would it be to be myself loudly and proudly and to have a group of people who cheer me on?  Is that even possible?

The only way to know for sure is to speak your truth.  Even if it is only to yourself in the quiet spaces away from everyone else.  Because the first connection, the first society and community you need to create, is with yourself.  There is power in your truth.  Speak it and then see what happens.