consciously. Create a life that you love. Attract the loving relationship
that is "right" for you.
Topic: Build Your Community Of Support
wonderful that summer is here! Isn’t it great that nature
affords us this wonderful season for the rest and recreation we
all need and desire?
is the perfect time to turn our focus from work and “doing-ness”,
to play and “being-ness”. Everything slows down, as
many take holidays. With all the summer picnics, water sports and
walks on the beach, it’s a great time to nurture your social
relationships and perhaps cultivate some new ones.
if you’re working all summer, I hope you steal some moments
for “retreating and relating” in the long sunny evenings
and weekends of summer.
Life & Relationship Coach
Something to think about…
loving, supportive community is an integral part of a high-quality
- Cheryl Richardson
Building a network of close, mutually beneficial relationships
requires time, effort and intention.
- David Steele
all need and want the support and caring of a loving community
of friends and family.
have triumphs to celebrate or difficulties to surmount, nothing is more
satisfying than sharing these profound moments with those we love. These
special individuals help ground us, care for us and cheer us on. They
let us know that we are accepted and we belong – no matter what.
We are social beings and we weren’t meant to live in
isolation. In our increasingly mobile society, many of us have
lived in a variety of locations, away from the communities we grew up
in. We’ve had to build our communities of support with each move
we’ve made. As growing numbers of us become self-employed, we
can also suffer from the isolation of working from home.
of us long for what Cheryl Richardson calls “soulful connections”.
is the kind of connection “that touches your heart and makes
you feel grateful for someone’s presence in your life”.
In her book Take Charge of Your Life, Richardson
emphasizes the importance of building a soulful community, to support
and encourage you as you make changes in your life for the better.
worked with singles to clarify their values and priorities in life,
almost all identify a desire for emotional intimacy. However some
fail to realize that emotional intimacy comes from a supportive network
of friendships, and not just from a relationship with a “significant
other”. Whether or not you’re in a primary relationship,
you can enjoy emotional intimacy with chosen friends and confidants.
And life is immeasurably enriched by cultivating these important connections.
Developing a strong support community will not only improve
the quality of your life as a single. It will improve your chances
of building a successful relationship.
years ago I attended a dinner party with 6 married couples. The talk
turned to “how I met my spouse” and the stories began.
As I listened to each couple’s story, I realized the importance
of their support communities in meeting their spouse. Each couple
had been “set-up” or introduced by a mutual friend, who
knew they were looking for a relationship. The only couple that hadn’t
met by a direct introduction, had met at an event that the husband
had attended at the encouragement of a friend, who knew he was looking
to meet someone new.
had a friend been instrumental in arranging an introduction or “blind
date”. That same friend was often a sounding-board for the person
as they navigated the initial stages of the relationship. What a wonderful
expression of community support!
we’re in a relationship, we will still need the loving
support of significant others. So build it now!
David Steele writes in his book Conscious Dating,
“A single relationship, no matter how compatible, cannot meet
all of our needs.” Any committed couple who ignores their
need for a community of support, does so at the peril of their relationship.
Relationships need supportive others to thrive, just as individuals
my sister’s husband was battling cancer, they were helped
and buoyed by all manner of support from friends and family. Couples
can face challenges that overwhelm their personal resources, just
as individuals do.
So how do YOU feel about YOUR community of support and encouragement?
Perhaps it is time to “grow” your community of
here are 3 steps to having the network of relationships you desire:
Take an inventory of your relationships.
the individuals who populate your life and what kind of relationships
do you have with them? (Note: Family members may fall into any of
these categories, depending on the depth of your relationship.)
David Steele distinguishes
between three types of relationships. The first type is INTIMATES.
These are the people with whom you can share your inner-most thoughts
and feelings. They are the ones with whom you can really be yourself
and for whom you would do almost anything if they needed help. These
relationships often last for a long time, despite moves and changes
in circumstance. And when
you see each other after a separation, it seems like you easily pick
up right where you left off. I like to think of these people as “kindred
The second type
of relationship is FRIENDS. These are the people with whom you have
fun and socialize, or share particular activities and interests. These
people may make up your professional community, your spiritual community,
your neighbourhood community, and so on. This could be a tennis partner,
someone who likes to go to the movies with you, or a fellow volunteer
at your children’s school. These relationships often end when
you stop the activity you share together, or if one of you moves away.
The third type
of relationship is ACQUAINTANCES. These are people that you know and
perhaps see at work, at the gym or in your community. However you’ve
never gotten together with them individually and they probably have
never been to your home.
Notice which categories the people in your life fall into. What types
of relationships would you like to have more of? What’s missing?
Assess the quality of your relationships.
actually detract from the quality of our lives. If we are trying to
make positive changes in our lives, we may sometimes face the need
to let go of relationships that don’t support our growth and
success. We may also want to cultivate more positive connections.