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If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else. Booker T. Washington

I belong to groups, a book club, a horticultural society, Toastmasters and a writers group. There are benefits to joining a group I never thought of when I joined.

The first group was the Horticultural Society, I joined around 2000 out of that I was invited to the book club. Toastmasters I rejoined in 2016 and the writers group I joined this summer.

The benefits of belonging to social groups are many, it is good for our mental and physical health and can add years to our life. If laughter is the best medicine we often laugh the most in groups. Yesterday we laughed and laughed at things that happen in Toastmasters when people choose inappropriate topics for their speeches and evaluators take their role too seriously.

We talked about neighbors boundaries and how one of the ladies found her new neighbor in her garage. “She asked him why he thought he would find his wood in her garage?”

Robert D. Putnam says people with poor social relationships are 50% more likely to die than those with just adequate social relationships. The risk of death from heart disease becomes lower if you belong to more than one social group. It can alleviate depression, the more social groups we belong to the less likely we are to suffer from depression. If one of those groups is a religious one, we are more likely to have feelings of well being. We are more likely to be healthier in terms of diet, exercise, and taking care of our self in general. All that and laughter too!

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. Helen Keller

I joined groups because working from home I don’t have a lot of social interaction. Maybe my next group should be a Church. One of my problems with Churches is unmet expectations, theirs and mine. When my husband and I first went to the Church where we were married we were met by a lovely young woman whose first words to us were, “are you saved?”

One day I was accosted by the associate Pastor with a petition against abortion. He was later charged with sexual abuse. In my early years my Sunday School teacher said my father was possessed by the Devil. My mother spoke to a Pastor on her feelings on belonging to a Church, he said, “you should come and be an example.” He is right. We shouldn’t be judging people for the frailties of being human. We should do our best to be the example. Nothing is gained by tearing others down. It is not the way to build ourselves up. Hurt people, hurt people, we don’t know what burdens people carry.

In groups we can help carry the load. We help each other be better gardeners, readers, speakers, people. We all start from where we are, and belonging to a group will help us grow more quickly.

Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life. Amy Poehler

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Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging

May 24, 2016

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