It’s the last week of our 6 week online Wellbeing Transformational Event. The last week focuses on improving our health and wellbeing through connecting with others which involves investing time with friends, family and community along with serving our community.
This is a topic near and dear to my heart.
Most of us get so bogged down with our immediate intimate partnerships and families that there is little time to consider anything or anyone else.
And yet, if the two plus years of the pandemic taught us anything it is that we desperately and consistently need safe, kind and pleasant humans to interact with on a regular basis. We are made for that kind of human interaction.
To be clear, it’s not about just being around other people – it’s the meaningful interaction and engaging with other people that feeds our spirit, calms our nervous system, and allows us to feel and function well. We are created for connection.
Another important factor here is the term “safe people” which not only means that we are around others who will not cause harm to us physically, but also that the people we have chosen to be in our lives will not cause harm to us emotionally or psychologically either. We thrive in the company of safe people.
To further clarify, safe people does not mean “people we always agree with or see eye to eye with”. That would be unrealistic whether we are talking about romantic partners, friends, coworkers, or our church, temple or mosque family.
It means we are in the company of people we like, that have our best interest at heart, and vice versa, and that when we disagree or see something differently, we can remain calm, curious and hear one another. That is behavior indicative of a safe person. That ought to describe the community of people you invite into your world.
Having established that criteria, then the question becomes how to make time to include others beyond our immediate circle. The answer is, with a little bit of creativity and intentionality it is possible to widen your circle for your benefit and the benefit of our community as well.
Here’s some ideas to increase your own wellbeing and enhance others’ as well.
1. INVITE: Think of that person that you feel energized by and invite them to an ongoing once a week or once a month coffee or smoothie date. Just breaking out of routines and spending time with someone you look forward to spending time with can feel uplifting.
2. CREATE a specific day and time that you reach out to… an old friend, a neighbor to check on, or a distant relative that you enjoy conversation with. Who are those people that if you chose to be more intentional to reach out, would enhance your life?
3. VOLUNTEER: How might you begin to think more about community? Consider the talents, gifts and passions you have to offer. How might you use them to bless others? Don’t want to take time away from family? Make volunteering one day or even a couple of hours a week at a local nonprofit a family event. This creates opportunity to do meaningful work as a family or couple, lending your strengths and serving your community all at the same time.
4. CONNECT- Make the time to stay in touch with the people that matter most. Whether you send a “just thinking of you” text, a lovely card, or reach out with a phone call, letting others know they are thought of keeps a good feeling going in the relationship. When you make time to nurture important relationships what you get back is priceless.
5. APPRECIATE: When you stop to notice the good things going on around you, the things your partner, spouse or children are doing that are good, necessary and helpful, be sure to let them know you noticed. This goes a long way to enhancing our day to day relationships and allows us to stay connected in ways that feel good. Let the people in your world near and far know that you appreciate them for just who they are and what they mean to you.
Even those that consider themselves to be introverts still need the company of others. We all do well to recognize that our own growth stagnates and life becomes dull when we only spend time with our immediate circle. We are designed to need others and we benefit from time spent with safe people. We also thrive when we are giving and serving- and the result is an enhanced sense of satisfaction and wellbeing.