Community: a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. The organisms in a community affect each other’s abundance. A people with a common agenda, cause, or interest, who collaborate by sharing ideas, information, and other resources.
Over the years I have been immersed in the photography community and still am. I have seen jealousy and a competitive attitude arise in myself and others. I have hurt people and I have been hurt by others. Friends, it can get ugly when we set our focus inward, on ourselves.
As the years go by I have seen people move farther away from jealousy and competition to rejoicing, to helping each other grow, to building each other up, to being generous with each other and this is beautiful. We are in this together. We continue to grow. We continue to think less of ourselves and more about others. Love is talked about a lot and when we act from love, we are compelled to sacrifice our wants to see others flourish. This shift from jealousy to love occurs when we live life alongside one another.
COMMUNITY IS BEAUTIFUL. This is a place that people can share ideas, inspire and be inspired. A place that we can help each other grow as a person and in this case, help each other grow our businesses to be the best they can be. When we think less of ourselves and seek to build each other up and when each person is doing this, tremendous growth happens in each person. More joy occurs and our hearts seek out more ways to love others even more.
COMMUNITY IS BEAUTIFUL.
Community should also be a safe place. A place that one can share their struggles. We are weak people, but when surrounded by others, we become strong. We each have strengths and weaknesses. The areas that we are weak, we can learn from the ones that are strong in those specific areas. Our struggles and weakness become less of a burden as we help each other. Community becomes a place one can apologize and know they will still be received. A place that kindness is shared and forgiveness is given because as people we know we aren’t perfect. When we surround each other in our weaknesses and our moments of failure, we feel loved and find hope to pick ourselves up and try again. When we are willing to love and think about others, we begin to go out of our way to help others. When we think less of ourselves, we begin to care deeper, we extend kindness and grace pours out of ourselves.
Without community, we become a “lone wolf”. As a “lone wolf”, one will face loneliness which will lead to feeling like there is no purpose to do anything. I don’t believe people were created to be alone. I believe that people grow much slower or not at all when life is done alone. BUT, when you surround yourself with people who inspire you, love you, never leave you, pursue you, and dream with you, you GROW. You accomplish dreams and you dream bigger and then those dreams come to life.
WE NEED EACH OTHER.
Community is messy yet rich with so much goodness. Being in true community means exposing ourselves in ways that are uncomfortable, but this allows us to realize we aren’t alone in our thoughts, in our weakness, nor in our failures. Conflict will occur but so will joy. Misunderstandings are a guaranteed. Hurt is felt but so is love. So yes, community is messy, but so much more good outweighs the messy, so to me it’s worth the uncomfortable feelings and conversations because I have felt freedom, love and experienced grace and kindness. I choose community.
Over a week ago we teamed up with some of our favorite Southwest shop owners. Together we did a giveaway. We are thankful for each of them and their support as begin this next journey. Chad with Chad Barela texted me. He took a moment to ask how the launch went and proceeded to share that he was reminded that community is important amongst business owners and was really thankful to be a part of the giveaway and launch of this blog. I am still touched by this text and I want you to hear more of his heart about this, so I asked some questions.
What is community to you?
To me, community is building relationships with people around a common heart, helping each other where there’s a need and challenging each other to strive for the best.
What is your experience when you aren’t in community?
When I’m not in community with people I notice I become complacent. I find my character begins to change for the worse. It’s quite depressing not sharing life with people and working together.
As a business owner, what benefits have you found when you are living in community?
I’m not sure I’d be making jewelry today had it not been for my friend’s encouragement, and support.
How did teaming up with us for the giveaway impact you?
When we did the giveaway I remembered my early days of how great Instagram was and how a lot of us used it as a means to just get out of the house, shoot some photos in a new place, and make friends. To build community. I hope that era is not lost.