In engineering, they say that triangles are the strongest of all shapes. But in humanity, it is our circles that give us strength. It is our community. We were created to be in a community and be surrounded by others. To help one another. Seek one another. Guide one another. Love one another. Too often, we get too caught up in our own lives to notice what is going on around us, or even who is around us. We become isolated and think we are still socializing and keeping up, because we spend far too much time watching each other’s lives through social media. We post pictures in hopes of getting likes. We post what we want everyone to see, in order to digitally portray a life everyone would be jealous of, or one we could be proud of. When in reality, the majority of us on social media are not living those great and happy lives. The majority of us are hiding behind a happy post or filtered picture, and really sitting alone feeling empty. Or dealing with sadness from breakups, loneliness, loss of a job, infertility, loss of a loved one, etc. What you see of people online is exactly what they allow you to see. As far as they’ll let you in.
If you are one of those that isolates yourself and finds yourself without a community, now is the time to build your circle. You are not a loner. You are not meant to be an introvert. Staying home and relaxing is amazing at times, but you have to do things for you. Live! You have to go out and be free. Like to read? Join a Meet Up at a bookstore or coffee shop and discuss the latest hot novel. Enjoy the water? Join a group for sunrise or sunset kayaking or paddle boarding. Reconnect with old friends. Go to a concert. Join a group at church. If you are dealing with depression of any kind, it is especially important that you lean on your circle or community. Even if you just make an effort to spend one afternoon or evening out of the house socializing, you will feel better doing so. As a person who has struggled with depression and still struggles with constant loneliness, I am fully aware that one evening out isn’t going to cure your depression. Believe me, I know! Ten may not either, but it’s a start to finding joy and coping. Believe me, it is so much nicer than laying in bed wishing it was over!
For me, a big part of my loneliness and sadness, has been due to a lack of community. I let my circle lose its shape over the years. I let people in my life control me and tell me who I could and couldn’t hang out with. In doing so, I lost a part of me, and part of my own identity. That’s not ok. I’ve been fortunate enough to hold on to my closest friends since childhood. Those types of friendships and bonds are rare. My oldest friend and I met in Sunday school when we were around 7-ish years old. Life has taken us in different directions and even completely apart from each other at times, but she remains to be my best friend and like a sister to me. My second best friend and I have been going strong since 9th grade. We’ve been there for each other through ups and downs, break ups, child birth, weddings, and so much more. I couldn’t do life without these two. But, despite the support of these amazing women, I’ve still been missing something. There’s still been an emptiness I couldn’t fill. So, I’ve spent the last year breaking out of the shell that grew over me during the last six years, and put myself out there more. After letting go of the toxicity of that last relationship, I knew I had to reconnect my circle and/or create a new one. I realized that I can’t do this life alone, and I certainly don’t want to. I started reaching out to people I drifted away from, and started hanging out with co-workers after work and going to happy hours. Inviting people to my house for get togethers. Having beach or pool days. Traveling. I even went on dating and social aps, with no intention on dating, but just to meet like minded people. I found new friendships, I reconnected old ones, and I’m continuing to build my circle/community each day.
When building yours, fill it with people that are for you. People that inspire you. People that want you to win in life. People that are of the same yolk. You should bring joy to each other’s lives. Be able to have fun together, laugh with each other, and always be there for one another. You should build each other up, and never take away from each other. Who you surround yourself with, is an example of who you are or who you stand to become. We as women, can be catty at times. We can tear each other apart to build ourselves up. Stop it! Teach our daughters that strong women cheer other women on. It is just as easy to compliment someone as it is to insult them. The strength of your circle doesn’t come in numbers either. There’s more ways to get to 100%, than just a hundred ones. I’ll divide my circle into four strong quarters any day, before filling it with one hundred slices that bring me down again. Maybe you have a circle, but it feels like it’s becoming unraveled, or spiraling. It is important to reel it in and secure the circle surrounding us. As you are building or rebuilding your circle, you may even find it necessary to remove people that you thought were for you, as well.
Whether we realize it or not, we are all searching for our community, and we are lost when we don’t have it. There are so many people out there that are struggling with life in some way. It may be something that will pass easily, or it may be something that is going to take a lot of time to get through. Regardless of the depth of the struggle, everyone needs a community to get them through it. You never know what someone is going through. Pick up the phone and check on an old friend. Be a part of someone’s circle. Be a part of someone’s change. But most of all just be there for others. Allow God to use you to help others through this life. Be kind. Be loving. Be present.