Why Everybody Needs a Tribe

The Importance of Building a Strong Community

No man is an island. 

Isn't that what they say? 

I've come to realise lately that this is indeed very true. After a difficult year in my personal life, the network of people around me has played such an important role in my recovery and I really believe that surrounding ourselves with a strong community is so important.

Without this group of amazingly supportive and loving people behind me, I'm not sure how I would have got through the last 12 months. I suspect a lot more vodka would have been consumed. If that's even possible. 

They also say it takes a village to raise a child. This is so true. Kids can be hard work at the best of times, but when you are going through a tough time, suffering from depression and anxiety like I've done over recent months—it's sometimes hard to be the parent you want to be—that you would usually be, if your brain didn't resemble scrambled egg. Having a strong support system around to help deal with issues as they arise can be invaluable. Life as a single parent can be pretty tough sometimes. 

We all go through difficult times in our lives and having people we can lean on is vital. It can mean the difference between life and death in extreme cases. Too many people suffer in silence, alone, especially when it comes to depression. And it needn't be that way. 

I consider myself to be very lucky to have some really supportive friends in my life—one in particular who has walked beside me every step of the way. The fact that she has called or texted me practically every day has meant so much to me and has cemented our friendship beyond anything I could have imagined. She is my family; my rock. She's been at the end of the phone whenever I've needed her—given me so much advice. Dished out the hugs when I've needed them and also told it to me straight when I've been a dick. I don't know about you, but these are the kind of people I need in my life.  

As mothers, we can sometimes be guilty of putting a brave face on our emotions to protect our children—God knows I've done a lot of that over the last year or so. But if you've built your tribe—the right tribe, then they will see through the facade and lift you up when you're faltering. A tribe will somehow sense when you need help and just a text or a phonecall can be enough to lift your spirits; to make you realise you aren't alone; that you haven't been forgotten about. Or in my case, the aforementioned friend has been known turn up at my door bearing gifts of alcohol and vegan brownies that she's scoured the supermarket for, especially for me. Yep, she's that friend. 

But the best part about having a tribe behind you is also being part of someone else's tribe.  Knowing that you can make a difference to someone's life—that you can show support to other people when they need it most. 

And really—we all need a little help sometimes. We're not meant to walk this life alone.  

After all—it really is true what they say: no man is an island. So build your tribe. Surround yourself with people who will have your back. It's okay to be carried sometimes. We all need a little help from time to time. There's no shame in admitting that.  

Plus you never know when you might need to show up at someone else's door—just be sure to remember the booze and snacks.

My Heartfelt Thanks...

Thank you to all the people in my tribe. You know who you are. And I'll be there for you whenever you need me. Happy to bring the vodka. If I've got any left. 

Janine Clifton
Janine Clifton

Human, mother, writer, vegan. 

Author of The Thinking Girl's Guide To Life blog

Tweet me @janine_clifton

Instagram fortheloveofwords_

Facebook The Thinking Girls Guide to Life 

Blog earlyburlyblog.wordpress.com

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Why Everybody Needs a Tribe