Did you know that belonging to a community and engaging well, is part of personal self-care? It might seem counter-intuitive, after-all isn't community about others?
Yes, and no.
Community is about the whole, you and them. This reciprocal relationship is vital to our personal well-being and success in life. Our deepest longings have to do with being known, accepted, heard, and loved. None of these things can happen without community. You can't do life well all on your own.
So let's talk about 3 tips to help you engage better in community.
Tip #1: Learn your enneagram type
The oldest wisdom tells us that first we must know ourselves before we can understand the world around us, or the people in it. How can we expect others to understand us, if we don't even understand ourselves?
You are probably familiar with the following quotes:
"Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom."
"Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?"
These quotes all point in the common direction of discovering your true self. We have found that the best way to do that, is through the wisdom of the enneagram. Unlike other personality typing systems, the enneagram looks deeper than behavior. The enneagram is based on your inner motivations, which only you know, or are aware of. Many of us might act the same way on the outside, but inwardly we are motivated by very different things.
Understanding your own motivations, means you know why you do the things you do. The puzzle of the world begins to make sense because you can finally see where, and how you fit into place. Not only will the enneagram explain your motivations, but your key longings, your core fears, the way you connect with others, and many other deeper meaningful aspects of the human condition.
The enneagram is the beginning of the journey of a lifetime.
Once you discover your true self, you begin to interact with others in new ways. Why?
You are more self-aware. This makes you see the patterns you get caught in, the ways you pull back, or push forward, and how you are harmful or helpful in any given situation. Seeing yourself clearly, allows you to grow and improve the way you do life.
Tip #2: Intentionally working on your own weak spots
Sorry, there is no shortcut. If you want to improve your relationships and engage better in your community groups, you actually have to work on things within yourself that are not serving you or others. As we just pointed out, your awareness is heightened through knowing yourself. The enneagram is like a map, showing you paths available to you. You can use these paths to grow, to avoid your typical pitfalls, to lean in to your strengths, and to overcome weak spots.
Start by asking yourself good questions.
Why do I feel this way?
What is motivating me?
Is there something I am missing?
Am I jumping in, when I should be holding back?
Who am I doing this for?
If I don't do this, what will happen?
Am I over-thinking?
Am I getting stuck in the past, and forgetting to move forward?
What feelings are behind this action?
Is it okay if I don't pursue this?
Will this action harm someone?
Invite a friend to join you on your journey.
Only you know what your true motivations are, the thoughts inside your head, and the feelings inside your heart. But a good friend can be crucially important to walk alongside you, as you dedicate yourself to working on hard things.
Share what you are struggling with, and become accountability partners for each other. Not only will you be growing, but this vulnerability will open up a space for your friend to feel comfortable growing along with you.
Tip#3: Take it to your group/community
I once heard this story about how a boat party works that really made me think about the way community works:
The largest, heaviest boat drops anchor first.
This boat serves as a building block for other boats to tie up along either side.
The lines are tied as tightly as possible to minimize motion between the boats.
It's important for the joining boats to alternate sides as they join to keep the balance.
With the anchor in the middle, there is equal tension and the least amount of swing.
Once all the boats are tied together, they become like one large vessel.
They are connected so well, that people can walk from one to the next, as if it is the same boat.
I'm sure you see what I'm getting at.
You can be the one who drops anchor first. Knowing yourself, gives you the wisdom to lead others, connecting them in ways they never would have dreamed. You can be the building block of your group, keeping the balance, advising through equal tension, keeping space for everyone who wants to join. This is what community can look like.
And if you don't see yourself as the anchor, maybe it's your friend who you've been sharing your journey with. I love the picture of coming up alongside another boat, and tying yourself to them tightly. It's a statement of "where you go, I will go. Whatever may come, I will be beside you. We belong together."
If that's not beautiful community, I don't know what is.
"People are most impacted by being known and accepted."
Let someone know today, that you see them, that they matter, and that they are loved and known by you. Think of how big your "boat party" could stretch if you begin with an open heart and a hand outstretched in kindness.
I hope these 3 tips help you engage better in your own personal communities, and that your life is enriched along the journey.
We are always putting our efforts toward helping you discover your true self, so if there is anything you have questions about, please contact us.
Still aren't sure what your enneagram type is?
Take our free quiz:
Another great way to learn your type is to attend one of our fabulous retreats! We do several enneagram sessions throughout the course of a weekend along with, rejuvenating practices of: yoga, meditation, journaling, and healing foods. More info below:
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