I know so many people who don’t feel connected to their community. They run from work to home, to sports for the kids while answering emails or worrying about dinner, and they rarely, if ever, get to really connect with the people they see into everyday, much less the people in their neighborhood, city, or town!
Life is busy, and time feels short. I get it.
But connecting to your community is so important, both for you and the people around you. And making time and space for this vital ingredient of life could be easier than you think. Here are two ideas for engaging your community:
First – Be Present
Whether you’re at work, home, school, kids’ activities, the grocery store, WHEREVER you are, be super present. Notice those around you and offer a smile, a wave, a friendly hello. Get to know, by name, the people you interact with frequently. Take that extra moment to stop and say “I’m sorry, I’ve seen you a hundred times, but don’t know your name…? I’m Heather.” Rather than being offended that you didn’t know them already, I bet they’ll be surprised and pleased that you stopped to ask.
Notice what’s going on around you, who shops where you shop, who shows up every week to practice, just like you, who delivers your mail, who works at the coffee shop you frequent, etc. Notice what’s going on around you – watch the weave of your community closely.
Side note – this kind of presence can make your life feel slower, which many of us could really use.
Next – Get out in it
These days it’s pretty easy to get everything you need delivered to your door without talking to or interacting with a single other person. Online shopping, grocery delivery, streaming movies…I could spend an entire weekend locked inside without ever seeing another person, and still not want for a thing. But…is that good for me, or my community?
Instead, I encourage you to shop for what you need yourself, in local stores, whenever possible. Want to see that latest movie? Instead of streaming it at home, go see it in theatre. Don’t buy your tickets online, buy them at the counter. Are there festivals or rallies, or science fairs, or conventions going on in your town? Show up! Attend a PTA or school board meeting, show up for fairs and parades – take advantage of all the ways your community is reaching out.
And in all of these interactions, again, engage presence. Bringing your attention outward can make social interactions much less anxiety-inducing.
So what do you do to engage in your community? Or if you don’t, what holds you back? What one step could you take, today, that could break through that barrier for you? Leave your comments below!