We all need a "tribe". Here are the reasons why and why I bring this up.
First and foremost, let's define the meaning of "tribe".
No, this is not some ethnic meaning. Instead, it's the people that we surround ourselves with. The people that support us no matter what. The people that we lean on most and who can lean on us. The people who we trust with our lives and all of the little itty bitty parts therein.
Our lives start out simply enough. Really, as simple as life can be. We are born. We eat, sleep and poop. Those are our only jobs. At that point, our parents and siblings (if we have any) are our tribe. If we are not with our parents, it is our primary care takers who are our tribe.
As we grow, our world expands. We start to enjoy play dates. We start to gather friends and get to know the world with these people. In fact, they shape our world. We still stay close to our parents/primary caretakers, where most of our world is still formed.
After a while, it seems that our eyes open to a larger world, a world with infinite possibilities. Some see these possibilities. Some don't. This is where our tribes really change our lives, add to them or take away from them. It's the people that you surround yourself with who will make or break you.
Our tribe can be a challenge to choose. Do we go hang out with the "cool kids" who are inevitably a gamble, or with the nerds who we know will rule the world? How will this affect our future? Can that be predicted?
What matters is the "belonging". There is a need to belong and to be supported. We all have that need. This need is emotional. This need is intellectual. This need is spiritual.
Where we are today is a lot more complicated than where we all started out. However, the needs are the same. We all need nurturing. We all need love. We all need understanding. We all need a support network of people who we can rely on.
Not everyone needs the same type of tribe and our tribes will change as we move through the seasons of life. Some will need a large group of gal pals. Some will need a loving husband and children. Others will need a solid group of professional friendships. Life will dictate what we need.
Social connection improves physical health and psychological well-being. One telling study showed that lack of social connection is a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure. On the the flip side, strong social connection leads to a 50% increased chance of longevity.
However, there is something about the digital world we live in that is making us more lonely than we were before this revolution. We have the world at our fingertips but are not making meaningful connections.
If you have not been satisfied with your relationships, or have a lack thereof, unplug. Reconnect with old school friends or work pals. Get out to lunch, go do something together. Go meet your neighbors. Go do something nice for someone. Refuel the depleted energy that the screen has sucked from your soul and get face to face. This will energize you.
Connections and relationships. That is what tribe means. You can even have more than one tribe. You may have one at work, and one at home. It doesn't matter. It just means that you have people you can rely on, who can rely on you. You have people...real people. This is tribe. Tribe is love. Tribe is laughter. Tribe is connection.