In a world that has become unrecognisable to most of us, it feels more important than ever to be connected with the people around us during this pandemic. The suffering and loss that so many are going through is sad and tragic. It is also however, extremely heartwarming to witness the beautiful expressions of humanity that we are seeing around us on a daily basis.
We are seeing the rise of community and human connection. At a time where the core foundations of life have been rocked, we are renegotiating our priorities – physical health, mental health, nourishment, friends, family and safety. Never before have we spent so much time video calling our loved ones, sharing our feelings, happiness and sorrows.
Those who are vulnerable are being cared for more than ever and appreciation and gratitude is being shown to keyworkers like never before. We see that they are the glue in our systems, holding us together and keeping us safe. We are beginning to realise more and more that we are all connected and our behaviours and attitudes have a ripple-like effect on each other. We are co-operating by following lockdown measures of staying home and social distancing. Me, you and they are becoming WE.
What is the importance of community and why do we crave connection? Being part of a community can have a positive effect on mental health and emotional wellbeing, as involvement provides a sense of belonging and social connectedness.
We enter in to a relationship with belonging from the moment we arrive in to the world – family/care systems, progressing on to friends, school, work and/or other different types of communities. Our relationship with belonging impacts on our self-esteem; it can offer us a deeper sense of meaning purpose to everyday life, knowing that we can make a difference by positively engaging with others. This wish of togetherness leads to create a community as a whole, supporting one another and sharing experiences, making us feel alive and connected.
Community also shows us that we have value, whether it be by being able to share skills with those around you (cooking, decorating, therapies, being creative), or quite simply the value of being YOU. We appreciate others in community and we, in turn, are valued ourselves. It’s a win-win situation and can only boost our self-worth and becomes a fertile ground for compassion and kindness.