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The word community brings many thoughts and images to mind, but what does it really mean? A community may be a group of people who live, work, worship, or study together, but the intangible aspect of belonging to a community is the one worth pondering. Communities bring together people with similar beliefs, values, or goals. As a member of a community, you are bonded to other members by a common thread, whatever it may be. That bond creates a way for each member of the community to feel as though he or she belongs – something that humans naturally desire. Being a part of a community fulfills a sociological need that helps lead to a happier and healthier life. Well functioning communities inevitably result in collective development. Further, because a community can provide genuine support, feedback, and motivation, belonging to a community often results in personal development and growth.

Because of the tremendous influence of communities, you need to choose yours with care. Move on from the ones that don’t nurture your continuing growth and development, but remember, just as you are looking to others in the community, they are looking to you to help their growth and development – a community is as much about giving as it is receiving.

Think about how many different communities of which you are a part. Are you giving each one the attention it deserves? Are you giving as much as you are getting? What can you do to have a greater impact? Think about how your participation is impacting both your and some else’s life. Remember that your multiple communities help provide you with a unique identity. Strive to make the most out of your communities and your uniqueness.