"Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing." — Rollo May
Sometimes I forget I'm not in this alone.
I'm highly introverted and I also value my independence and self-reliance to a large degree.
So sometimes my vision gets rather narrow.
But I wouldn't be anywhere without my people.
I had some much needed hibernating this winter, but recently realized how hard I was making life for myself by not gathering my people around me (you know who you are...and if you're wondering whether you are one of my people, you are—we may just not have talked recently).
Since that realization, I've been making a concerted effort to reach out to friends to reconnect.
Because I don't live in the same place as the vast majority of my friends, that often looks like texts or the phone or FaceTime.
Sometimes it means I have to be dogged in my pursuit of friend time, repeatedly reaching out, trying to schedule time to make connection a priority.
It's a simple, but gratifying ritual.
Sometimes that might be the only communication we have that day, but it often opens up a dialogue.
We check-in with each other on how we're doing, celebrate each others' wins and explore our challenges.
In this way, we're much more connected than many people who actually live in the same place.
It took me a long time to realize this, but physical proximity to another person doesn't necessarily equal presence and quality time.
By quality time, I mean really showing up for someone, letting them know you're listening and engaging with them as a human.
Because of my introverted nature, I can happily work on my own projects in the same room as someone else and it feels like spending time together.
But in the long term, it's not enough.
To truly feel connected, there has to be some exchange of time and a clear show of interest in the other person's wants and needs.
That's not just what I need, but what all humans need.
No matter how introverted, no matter how misanthropic you might feel sometimes, it is a fundamental human need to see yourself as valued and validated in the eyes of someone else.
And that's not a weakness either.
On the one hand, yes, don't give a damn what other people think. Do your own thing regardless of the whispers on the side.
That's not really what I'm talking about. I'm talking about gathering support from the people whose opinions you really value. That's real and necessary to your success.
Sure, you can try to do it alone, but it will take you a lot longer and be a lot less satisfying both along the way and at the end without the involvement of other people.
Know that you always have the final say on a project that you own, but that we're also smarter together.
Community is a hugely important element of self care that I do my best to keep in mind.
My people lift me up and I lift them up in turn—there's really nothing better than that.
How do you prioritize your relationships as part of your own self care?