It is all about Belonging. The notion of belonging or social identity is an integral part of developing a sense of who we are. Although we consider ourselves to be individuals, it is our membership of particular groups that is most important in constructing a sense of identity. Social identity is an integral part of what it is to be human. Relationships with other humans are vital to our continued development and are super important for our mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Unfortunately, we live in a society where these ideas are valued less and less. We are less comfortable asking for help and support from our communities or social groups then ever before. The creation of ‘the suburban sprawl’, bleak and vast shopping centres and the need to often travel distances to cities for work and cultural experiences means that we have less ‘centres of community’ and less time in our local area to create them.
Picture the ‘Village’ life. Where there is a centre, be it a small row of shops or even one shop, A pub maybe, A sports ground. Everyone in the village can walk to these central places, and do so often. There maybe some sort of industry or other employment opportunity that draws people together, they may not have to travel too far outside their community for work. There is one school, one kindergarten, a community centre. It is easy to see how people come across each other often enough to know what goes on in each others lives, to feel a sense of belonging to this place and with these people.
Picture the ‘Tribal’ life. We are one large Family. We all have a role to play and we work together to raise the next generation. We see each other so much that we know the ins and outs of everyone and every relationship within the tribe. We look after and support each other. If one is hungry, all are hungry. If one has food, all eat.
So yes, I know these are slightly idealistic portrayals! Of course there are issues, people that don’t get along, problems that are swept under the mat and all that. It is these ideas though, that have these words Tribe, village etc all a buzz in the wellbeing world right now. When we understand how far we are moving from these ideals and how important belonging is for us as human beings and especially for our children we can see why!
So all is not lost!! As parents, no matter where we live, we have the opportunity to create our own tribe, our own village, our own community. I think as is always the case we prioritise the sense of belonging and fostering meaningful relationships for our children but sometimes forget about it for ourselves.
It feels so good to know that when you are feeling shit, having trouble in your intimate relationships or when parenting feels like walking through a thick muddy swamp that there are others out there feeling the same. There are those in your tribe that you can speak honestly and openly too about how crappy you feel or just how hard it is. Knowing you wont be judged, compared or criticized but that someone will say “Yeah love, that sounds shitty” or “Holy crap, I am truly here if you need anything”. Those wondrous people who get it, get you, don’t try to fix it, don’t tell you what you should have done (cos you already know that, right?). They listen, they say just enough to let you know they have heard you and they back you. They are your tribe.
If you have read this and are thinking ‘Hey I want me a tribe of my own!’ then go out and find one! Be that wondrous person for others and let them know that is what you need from them. Seek out those people who are genuine and share commonality with you, find them in online forums, community groups or via Facebook. Join a group, take up a sport or a hobby.
Your tribe is out there, and they are looking for you too!!
The Tree House Mamas Support Circle is starting on October 14th. It is a 6 week group program for Mums to come together and work on creating a tribe by being open and honest about the hard stuff that Mums face in our society today. A chance for Mums to take some time out from their busy lives and focus on their emotional wellbeing.
For further info visit the TREE HOUSE MAMAS page. Would love to welcome you in to our little tribe.