Mentors wanted

How can I meet people who push or challenge me as a person? Sure, having friends and family that I can relate to, who share memories or who understand certain struggles and issues is comforting. But I feel like to continue growing my character, my values, I need to surround myself with those who will provide a different perspective. Not to change my values, but to strengthen them. Not to pander to, or–on the opposite spectrum–to berate, but to embolden, to confront, to collaborate. Of course, to attract these kinds of individuals, I would display qualities that they value or respect. I’m not really sure how to go about this in a calculated way, but I’ve set my mind to be open to and ready for opportunities.

I love the motto, “Be your own hero.” The first time I heard it was from the athlete, Jessie Graff. To me, this means to be the type of person you want to be, that you can respect, to set an example for others as well. But how do you know what that looks like? I think anyone who accomplishes this goal successfully, has undoubtedly emulated the behavior and qualities they admire in certain individuals close to them. My conclusion is that if my life is lacking people I look up to who strengthen my confidence and resolve, then I need to seek them out.

I can think of a handful of people I’ve known throughout life that have challenged me in this way, but we’re no longer in contact, due to changing circumstances or locations. It’s time to build a network, no matter how small it might be, of persistent, successful teammates.

 

Community

community

I’m rather a solitary, independent person, and not often lonely. My living situation puts me in close proximity with my son and his girlfriend by necessity. While I love being able to talk to him as much I do, I prefer my own space and am working to get back to that. Yet, I desire to belong to a community of people who have had similar experiences or who have the same problems to deal with.

Some of my favorite Youtubers include a lady who is a mom, blogger, and recovering addict who’s been clean for five years; a hilarious comedian with a stutter and a sweet dog; a fashionable and savvy blind girl; and several athletes who have worked really hard to get fit so they could compete in American Ninja Warrior competitions.

Years ago, I was in regular contact with a couple groups for ex-JWs, but I’ve moved beyond the need for that. I also led a crochet and knitting group for a couple years. I think some of them still meet up, but I don’t know where and I haven’t had much time for yarn work lately. I’m an editor and a writer and book lover so naturally, I’m in a couple writing groups on Facebook. While I was traveling with an ex-partner around the country, I felt some comradery with other trucker-wives. More recently, I’ve felt drawn to Christians who understand the Bible’s true message, and Jesus’s free gift of grace.

There are so many people I admire and others who just make me laugh. I can usually relate to some of their challenges or triumphs, but I don’t feel like I’m really a solid member of any particular group per se, or that anyone considers me one of their ‘people’. Why do I feel the desire to? That’s the hundred-bitcoin question.

I think I would like to identify and connect with a circle of friends occasionally, then retreat to solitude. Maybe a travel group, or community of small business owners.

Do any of you feel the same way? Why do you think people develop this need to belong?

I think some of the motivations are fairly clear: friendship, validation of certain ideas or beliefs, exchange of experiences and ideas.

Other less obvious motivations may include: boredom, loneliness, a need for direction, acceptance, reputation or status.

Comment below with your thoughts!