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Defining the Cultural Fabric of Community

Updated: Aug 28, 2022

Words carry weight.

The things we say have the ability to change attitudes and perspectives, emotions and beliefs, from deep within.

What we say and how we say it, creates impact, and has done so since the beginning of the literary happenstance, the “Symbolic Order,” we call language.

So how do we reconcile words that sway, yet lack substance?

It’s interesting that this dichotomy even exists.

That we can use words and create ripples of anticipation, yet the communication, in and of itself, lacks any degree of depth.

Words shared with zero intention of carrying out commitments made.

Destructive in many cases, and disappointing.

Communities are built and destroyed based on the words we choose to use.

Words shared in public or private spaces, alter the evolution of our communities, for better or for worse. If it is the case that we see the benefit of community, and want to uphold the communities that make us proud, then we need safeguards from those whose words lack depth.

When it comes to deciding, to what extent, we seriously consider the thoughts, values and attitudes demonstrated by those around us, an important characteristic to consider is disposition.

Wait a second. How does a person’s disposition tell me how seriously I should take their words? Isn’t that a bit judgmental…

There’s a difference between being judgmental and discerning.

Many people have all the desire to do well, to do good, but lack the disposition to carry these ambitions through. To recognize this, in ourselves and in others, means we are practicing discernment - not judgment.

If it is the case that we are looking to build communities that create environments where everyone’s opportunity for achievement is supported, protected and empowered, the foundations of this community must be built with attitudes that comprise communal predispositions.

Attitudes and values that foster community, opposed to attitudes and values that risk tearing community apart.

Some dispositions are easy to see, and subsequently avoid.

We can all readily point out those who are uncaring of others, comfortably untrustworthy and hold deeply egoistic, self-interested beliefs.

Other dispositions, are harmful in ways that seem almost accidental.

There are many who love community as a concept, cherish the ideal, but might not recognize that their own inner struggle with envy and dominance, along with their deep desire to influence, interfere with their aspirations to participate, and co-create, community.

Is it really fair to call out people who want to help, but struggle with their own insecurities?! That’s a bit harsh, no?…

What we have, what we bring, by way of skills, talents and gifts - is always what the community needs.

If we are too busy devaluing ourselves and focusing on what others are bringing to the table, this impacts our ability to contribute, because our focus is internal.

When there is distance between who we’d like to be and who we are, currently - how we manage that disparity is the distinguishing characteristic that demarcates growth from regression.

Participating and co-creating community starts with valuing self, individualistically.

A community that values difference, does not engage in comparison, or better said, comparative competition.

Since communities are collections of individuals, they are also reflections of each and every one of us.

Let’s protect our communities by first valuing our differences, recognizing that our potential and purpose is only ever limited by comparative behaviours and dispositions.

You are exactly who you are meant to be, how you contribute to your community largely depends on your ability to internalize, and value this fact, as truth.

Embracing self, honouring your individuality, first, is what builds and reinforces community.

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