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So often, when we go through hard things, the first thing that we find is just how alone we feel as we are going through those experiences. Many of us also feel alone as we are excited about something and feel as though we don't have someone to celebrate with. There are various times when and reasons why we can feel alone.

There are also experiences that can cause us to feel as though being alone equates to safety. We have been hurt physically and/or emotionally and sometimes by more than one person causing us to feel as though it is just easier and safer not to let anyone too close. For others, it may just equate to peace instead of drama.

I want to chat with you today about the importance of community. This can look different for everyone...a large family where family members are there for one another, a church family that looks out of one another, a group of individuals working towards similar goals, friends who are there when you need them, people who are part of a support group, etc. Sometimes the community is large, and sometimes it is small. The number of people in your community is not what is important. So, it is not the quantity, but the quality of your community.

We are not meant to do this life alone. We need others and others need us. That very need may be the only thing that keeps us going in times when we feel like we cannot take one more step...someone else is relying on us. That very thing may also be what carries us through when we just can't deal with one more thing at the moment...someone else is there to hold us up and help. We need one another.

Anytime that you feel like you just need to do life alone, recognize that isolation can destroy you. That doesn't mean that the need for alone time or accomplishing something on your own is bad for you. Not at all! These experiences are healthy ways of life. However, isolating from healthy community is harmful. Maybe you have heard of the tactic: divide and conquer. This tactic works. If an enemy sees someone alone, without a community, it is much easier for the enemy to conquer or destroy that individual. This works in the animal kingdom; this works during war; and this works when abusers/human traffickers are looking for their next victim.

Abusers and human traffickers look for vulnerabilities to prey upon. One of the easiest vulnerabilities to spot is someone who seems isolated from others. Abusers/traffickers often swoop in to try to provide a connection that every human needs just so that they can learn of the person's needs, hopes, and/or information about their relationships or lack thereof. Then, they often meet needs, make promises of hopes fulfilled, and appear to fill in where there are relationships lacking. This is part of the tactic to conquer, as they will use this information to harm and/or exploit the individual.

Your community is important for a host of reasons. It is good for you to have healthy people in our corner. It is just as important for us to be a part of a healthy community for the other community members. People often ask what they can do with their lives to make the world a better place. We often look at those with organizations to serve victims/survivors on a large scale and think that is the only way to make a difference. These organizations are incredibly important and most make an amazing impact in the lives of those of us who have experienced abuse and/or human trafficking. However, for those that may not feel as though your purpose in life is to create a nonprofit, you can positively impact lives by being a friend, being an ally, being someone who cares about those around you, providing a meal, sharing resource information with someone who has unmet needs, etc. I have found that even those who are being served by nonprofits who are designed to serve, victims/survivors still need community. We need someone who cares about how we are doing and the challenges we are facing. We need someone who celebrates with us. We need someone to talk to. We need someone who checks in with us regularly. Will you be that someone for someone else?

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