The Happiness Project: Community

As I’ve devoured through most of The Happiness Project the idea of community is on my mind. Last week when I read Sandra’s post from Raincoast Cottage I was inspired to write type out some of the thoughts floating around in my head. You see, community is extremely important to me in my personal life, work life, and last but not least blogging life [I don’t really compartmentalize each section of my life-like that but that’s an entirely different topic and maybe future post].

thoughts on community

In Chapter 10 of The Happiness Project Gretchen says,

I picked up a very helpful True Rule from my sister. Elizabeth told me, ‘People succeed in groups.’…I asked her, ‘Does it give you the funny feeling that your pal had such a large success?’ She answered, ‘Well, maybe a bit, but I remind myself that ‘People succeed in groups.’ It’s great for him to have a big success, and his success is also likely to help me to be successful.

That idea may seem bizarre to some but I find it beautiful. Competition can be healthy but I believe community fosters more inspiration. That’s why I was so excited to join up with this link up. Promoting positivity + forming a relationship with other bloggers and readers = something I am totally about, and you know what? It makes me happy.

Malcolm Gladwell shares about a community of Italian immigrants called the Roseto Mystery in his book Outliers – The Story of Success. I remember being so interested when my husband came home one day rambling [in a good way] about the Roseto Mystery. You should definitely check out the book but to summarize the intro tells the story about how despite diet, age, and various other factors this small group of people had a 30 -35% lower death rate than others expected. After a ton of research studies showed that the community that they were a part of played the role in keeping these people happy and healthy.

No one was used to thinking about health in terms of community… They had to appreciate the idea that the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.

One of the reasons why my husband and I moved to Syracuse was to be a part of an intentional community. It amazes me how sharing life with others brings me so much joy. I know that may sound like a lot of work, it is. As I get older I find more and more that I am the type of person who likes to recharge alone. Being part of a community pushes my buttons and makes me step out of my comfort zone. But at the end of the day I am happy when I help out a friend, or someone brings me food when I’m under the weather. You also learn to root for others success.

In our culture individualism is a high priority.  The value to apprehend independence is part of the fabric of our society.   My personal goals, the things that satisfy me and my right to pursue them are supposed to take priority when I’m making decisions. In many ways we worship our freedom to express independence without constraints.  We think self-reliance is the strongest form of being human.  The primary reality is me; the person. In America we are conditioned and shaped by this hidden or maybe not so hidden worldview of individualism. -Dan White, Jr. Individualism and Community.

Through this link up, Blog Brunch, and reaching out to others in the blogosphere I’ve found a great sense of community online. I find joy when I see fellow bloggers working on collaborations, or read a post that I inspires me. Instead of being individualistic and wishing I came up with that, having a sense of outward thinking promotes inspiration. Hence the group success. Even though I am not done with the book and have yet to nail done my particular Happiness Project I am declaring October a month to focus on community – locally, in my work relationships, and in the blogging world. Whether you are a Syracuse local, a blogger or someone who believes in the value of community feel free to drop a line or leave a comment. Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers that link up!

the happiness project

To link up click here to enter OR enter through artsocial’s linkup.

Advertisements

12 comments

  1. sandrat212

    Lovely post. That whole individualism thing is very much a cultural construct. In other cultures it’s ALL about community and subordinating your personal desires to the betterment of the group. I like too how you mentioned the health side of community – that contact with people who know you DOES have a huge impact. I know that I feel better even if it’s just chitchatting casually with the grocer or the barista.

    • bedsidesign

      Sandra, you are totally right. On days where I have a lot of contact with others – even if it is brief I feel better overall. It’s amazing how much we need others and yet we think we can get by on our own! Thanks again, I really had fun with this one.

  2. Pingback: Prints + Patterns + Spaces: APPLES « bedsidesign
  3. Erin

    I love this! It’s a topic I think about a lot. In our society it feels like everyone is competing against each other for everything… and that competition often fosters feelings of jealousy and not-enoughness. Really there is more than enough success for everyone… great post, lady :)

    • bedsidesign

      Thanks Erin, I totally agree. I would rather spend my time trying to build up community than sulking in the corner because I missed out. It’s all about perspective.

  4. Pingback: Six Sites That Might Improve Your Life! « Inspired Every Moment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s