Community is so much more than where you’ve been placed. Community is the sum of the many messy connections we find that support our journeys, curiosity, and individualism. Through my experiences, I have questioned the communities I have found in order to identify those that I can flourish most in. In the process of doing so, I’ve narrowed down some things to consider when finding your community--
Communication: Being honest with those you let into your circle is essential for not only your happiness, but also for the strength of the connections you want to keep. I’ve learned that even the most uncomfortable conversations we experience will lead to a stronger and lasting community.
Value: I think the hardest lesson I’ve been taught about community is that you can’t simply lose yourself to fit into spaces you think are right for you. If you truly are right for a community and vice versa, your unique value and the unique values of those who surround you should never be reduced in order to keep connections.
Respect: RESPECT. In short, if there is no mutual respect, this community does not support you nor you them. Never compromise on respect because you deserve to both give and receive it no matter the differences that exist between people.
Growth: Your community is not your bubble. Your community should be the catalyst in your growth and not the boundaries that prevent the infinite possibilities of your bloom. Truly, your community is a space to fertilize your exceptionality and those around you.
Purpose: When realizing the people in your life are in your life for different reasons and in different capacities/spaces, it is important to know you are not only a part of one community. Instead, you are a part of many communities… all of which uniquely carry you.
While I have found my communities, I know that some will stay, some will go, and new ones will form as I walk my path in life. Fortunately, one community that I know is everlasting is the one I’ve built with faith. Being a Muslim woman in America, I’ve truly learned community through the brilliant sisters I have had the blessing to have met and develop connections with. Ultimately, it is through these connections, the words of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), “A Muslim is the brother/sister of other Muslims. He/She never oppresses them. He/She never abandons them. He/She never leaves them alone in the face of calamities,” verily resonate.
~ Ayah Issa