When you first hear the word "tribe" what do you think of? I think of a group of people I can rely on when I need to vent or lean on someone or share my deepest secrets. I think of a very small exclusive group that supports me unconditionally.
My mom was an exceptional woman and her tribe was large. She cultivated her friendships and these women would go to the end of the Earth for her – and they often did. Through all of her illnesses, especially toward the end of her life, her tribe surrounded her, loved her, prayed with her, laughed with her and honored her. It was truly remarkable. I think most of us would be lucky to have a handful of people we consider our tribe. She had dozens and dozens, and that spoke volumes as to the kind of woman she was. Witnessing this as a young woman, I always took a mental note that I would be so blessed and lucky if I even had a handful of the friends my mom did when I was older. I am still working on this.
If something major happened to you, who would you call? If you were in a serious funk, who would be the first person you would reach out to? Do you have a tribe or are you too busy to water and weed this group of friends? It takes effort and consistency, but the results will make your life so much richer and more meaningful. Here are some tips to help you create and sustain your own tribe.
1. Do you have a tribe?
Do you have a special tribe in your life? Are there people that come to mind who make up your tribe? If something wonderful happened, would you know who to call? If something traumatic happened, are there people you would reach out to? I think it is so important to surround yourself with people who support and love you throughout your life. If you have a tribe, great! Keep working on nurturing this group. If you realize that you do not have this group in your life, time to move to step 2.
2. Time to reach out
If you don’t feel like you have a strong social network, why is this? Do you tend to keep to yourself? Is it hard for you to reach out to others? Are you so busy in your life that you don’t make time for friends? My mother fought breast cancer, ovarian cancer and then Lou Gehrig’s before she lost her fight. Her friends supported her, loved her, prayed with her, laughed with her, fought with her, through it all. Her tribe literally held her hand through the most difficult periods of her life. I guarantee making the time and putting forth the effort will be worth it in the long run.
3. Look at yourself first
Maybe you have this vision of what kinds of friends or support system you would love in your life. Think of the personality traits or characteristics this friend would portray. Would they drop everything and be there for you in a bind? Would they tell you the truth that everyone else avoids? Would they reach out to you when they know you need a friend? Now look at yourself. Are you this type of friend to others? First work on being the friend you are looking for in others, and the rest will take care of itself. Likes attract likes.
Leslie Gail is a Life Strategist for Moms, an Author and Mom TV web show host. Find more information on her here.