02 Aug Neighbourhood Conversations Part 2
If you’ve had some casual neighbourhood conversations, you may find yourself looking for deeper dialogues about things that really matter to you. Getting involved in local groups is a good way to start.
I think that connecting with others who share your interests is one of the best ways to counteract the rampant individualism and loneliness in our society. Being with others encourages conversations!
Finding your passion
So what are your interests, and how do you find your passion? A good place to start is by understanding your deepest values. Anything you do that fits these values will bring you a strong sense of meaning and purpose.
What do you dream of doing? What grabs your attention? Who or what inspires you? Do you have a hobby you enjoy, or maybe you’d like to start one, or teach it to others. If you ever hear yourself say, “Somebody should do something about that”, maybe it could start with you!
Focusing on your strengths
People tend to be strongest in one of three areas, and we usually feel best when we do what we’re good at. What about you? What gives you the greatest satisfaction?
- Doing – like to be busy getting things done, using your hands, moving around, fixing things, organizing…
- Thinking – like reading, playing with ideas, planning, strategizing…
- Feeling – enjoy people, helping others, being supportive, mentoring…
A wonderful thing about community involvement is not only building and sharing your own strengths, but also appreciating the diverse range of skills and abilities of others. And, of course, a big benefit is simply getting to know other people in your community. It helps us know we belong.
Search on-line using “volunteer” and the name of your city, community, or neighbourhood to find local resources. Sometimes there are community associations that do a variety of things for and with residents.
Try searching on-line by topic to find others who share your interests and passions. Perhaps it’s a hobby, or something totally different you’d like to focus on. Not sure what you’re looking for? Check out some new ideas for things to do.
In Nova Scotia, phone 211 and ask for groups in your area that are looking for volunteers, as not every group wants volunteers. GoodNS has opportunities for volunteering in local events, which is good if you’re looking for short-time involvement.
If there is no group that matches your passion, consider starting one. Chances are, there are others around who share your focus, and pursuing your interests with others is good for the soul.
Check your neighbourhood paper, if there is one, because they usually have photos or articles about community action and activities. Ask at your nearest public library for information about local groups.
Keep showing up
Joining an established group can feel a bit daunting. It may help you to know that people tend to accept you as part of a group once they have seen you seven times. Some groups are better than others at welcoming new people.
If a group seems to match your interests and values, keep showing up at meetings, and keep offering to help when they ask members to do things. On the other hand, if you’re not finding a good fit, look somewhere else.
I’d love to hear from you about your efforts to join neighbourhood conversations.