🎶 I get by with a little help from my friends! 🎶
It was totally my intent to follow up letter A with letter B. I sat down to write the post at least 3 times and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get it to flow. Now is, apparently, not the time to talk about Bravery, but rather to talk about Community. And even as I was staring to write about community, I was finding it hard to express my thoughts in a way that made me happy. Seriously? I’m in trouble as a blogger if I’m getting writers block after only a few posts.
Many of you know that my sweet mother has been suffering from dementia for several years now, and has spent the past 2.5 years in a skilled nursing facility. I got word a little over a week ago that her body was shutting down. It could take a few days or several weeks. I recently moved quite a distance from my parents and I struggled to know whether to go home so I could see her one last time while she was living. If I did that, it would be for me as she was beyond the point of knowing or recognizing me. She passed peacefully on Monday morning last week. It was a bittersweet moment. My family and I had been praying that she could be released from this life and be whole again. We have been missing her for several years, and now we could finally grieve fully. And we are so happy for her to finally be free from the bondage of a broken body and diseased mind.
As the past week unfolded, it became all the more apparent how important community is in all aspects of my life—not just the health and fitness area. I had friends step up and call me when I know they had already full schedules. I had offers to drive me to the airport—just so I didn’t have to be alone for that hour. And pick me up from the airport so we could grieve together. I received messages and hugs and an outpouring of love that helped bolster me up and keep me going when I simply wanted to just lay down and cry. And I had lots, particularly my family, who were ever ready with a hug and a shared tear at the drop of a hat. I have felt more loved the last week than I knew was possible. And I needed it…because I also felt more alone this past week than I have for a really long time. Thank you, my community, for taking care of me.
C is for Community. This may be my very favorite letter of the alphabet. Community has always been super important to me. I have been blessed throughout my life with amazing friends and the best family anyone could ask for.
Why is community so important? Community is there for you. They hold you up when you can’t stand on your own. They encourage you when you are struggling. They cheer for you when you succeed. They cry with you when you need to breathe out your sorrows. They help you find yourself and they love you for who are deep down–sometimes even when you aren’t sure you love yourself. Especially when you aren’t sure you love yourself.
I would not have been able to come this far in any facet of my life without my amazing community. Here is a picture of some of them (but there are many more who are not pictured). I have had the support of multiple communities throughout my life. My family, friends, coworkers, church congregations, UWL Lefties, and more have loved and supported me through thick and thin.
This past year especially has been a year of change for me. I found myself standing at that fork in the road, wondering which path was right for me. I was considering making changes that were both exhilarating and terrifying. Having a trusted support system by my side made the scary days a little less scary and the exciting days all the more exciting.
Unfortunately, sometimes making big changes in your life also finds you having to say goodbye to members of your community who aren’t loving and supportive, or who are overtly destructive to your happiness and well-being. Knowing and understanding when to do that is one of the most gut-wrenching things you may ever go through. I have had to make some hard decisions in this area.
Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I believe this. It’s altogether easier to be a positive, upbeat person if you are spending your time with people who exude that energy. That doesn’t mean you cut off any friend who has had a bad day or who is going through a rough time. That is when you get to be the friend who holds someone up and helps them through a difficult time. There is a difference between someone who is going through a rough patch and someone who is consistently destructive to your well being. It becomes really easy to distinguish between the two over time.
When you are making big changes in your life, I think it’s especially important to make sure you surround yourself with people who know and support your goals. It is as important for your community to have high expectations of you as it is for you to have high expectations of yourself.
Tony Robbins said, “People’s lives are a direct reflection of the expectations of their peer group.” I think in my world, the word expectation also includes belief. When my community holds me to a certain expectation, I feel like they also believe that I can accomplish what they expect. Knowing that others believe in my ability to accomplish challenging goals is invaluable to me.
I think it is important to design our community. I am grateful that mine includes my family and many long-time friends. I also have sought community through hiring a coach, John Pierre, who I now also consider a very dear friend. Another important community addition for me has been the other people in Chef AJ and John Pierre’s Ultimate Weight Loss Group and through Christin Bummer’s Forever Diet program. People who started out as acquaintances going through a similar life change have become my accountability partners and eventually my good friends.
None of us gets through this life alone. Having a kind and supportive community is always important. I am so gratefull for my community!