Have You Found Your Tribe?
As Abraham Maslow identified, one of the most fundamental human needs is the need to belong. This is why it’s important that we find our ‘tribe’, our group who share common interests and values and show genuine appreciation and care for us. Our personal and spiritual evolution can be seen as a process of becoming more true to ourselves. The more authentic and vulnerable we can be with our tribe, the deeper the acceptance and belonging we feel.
Since starting coaching, I have lived in Bangkok and St Leonards on Sea. Despite many differences, both towns tend to attract people looking for a different lifestyle and I have noticed how ‘settling in’ is dependent on us finding our tribe in our new location.
If part of your reason for moving is to live differently, it is important to connect with people who are also living this way, or aiming to. This gives you the support, encouragement, tips and resources you need to move forward. The same applies if you are committed to changing an aspect of your life, connecting with people who are also making changes will give you an added boost.
It can be daunting to find and then venture out to meet new people. Each time we risk rejection or the realisation that they aren’t our tribe after all. Sometimes newcomers settle for a tribe that doesn’t quite fit, convince themselves commuting to the tribe in their previous location is best or try and meet all their needs in their immediate family.
I would urge you to keep reaching out. Each encounter that feels ‘wrong’ gives you good information on who you’re looking for. Treat it like an adventure or a trail. And, of course, know there is no perfect tribe! All are formed of people, complete with their perfect imperfections!
A word of warning though, with the best will in the world, sometimes our tribe can hold us back. Often the impetus to follow our heart’s desire comes when we experience a low in our lives. A feeling of belonging can go a long way to convincing us that life isn’t that bad and change is not worth the risk. Nights out with our tribe keep us feeling just good enough, or we are on the brink of leaving our job/relationship/town when a heart to heart with a friend encourages us to give it another try.
We need to realise our friends are not as unbiased as they sometimes seem. Most often friends have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. If you made the changes you wanted to, they could lose you from the tribe and, what’s more, they might run out of excuses for the changes they need to make. Without any intention to, our tribe can sabotage our happiness. Even the most free-flowing tribe has elements of conformity.
My suggestion is, whilst fully embracing your tribe, know its strengths and limitations. If you are wanting to make changes in your life, seek out independent help such as my coaching where you find the life strategies that will work best for you. I can help you define, and perhaps create, your tribe whilst giving you impartial feedback on your dreams and the steps you’re taking towards making them a reality.
This article first appeared in Wellbeing Magazine