Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I started this post this past Saturday - finished this morning.

Whew - I just got back from a great exercise class at my gym called Go Wild! It was wild indeed! It was in the gymnasium of my gym and at least 150-200 people in the class and a DJ.

Not like a DJ who introduces the Electric Slide at a wedding, but a real DJ like that girl who is "good friends" with Lindsey Lohan.

I like the Electric Slide. I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, about 7 different instructors took turns with various routines involving my favorite workout of choice, kickboxing, and some body conditioning.

All of the other instructors were in the audience getting everyone pumped up and motivated.

By the time it was all said and done, the room was just excited. The vibe was energetic and fun.

As they all stood on stage and finished our cool down with us, I strongly desired to be one of them. They looked like they were having a great time and were probably a good team. Or it might have been the endorphins.

Now in order for me to be an exercise instructor, I would have to stop eating Halloween candy in copious amounts, might need to get some sort of training or education and maybe have started all of this few years before I turned 38.

Before you send me emails, saying "You can do it!", let me say this. It's not that I couldn't do it IF I were really passionate about exercise and health. But the reality is, I am not as passionate as what it would most likely take for me to attain that goal of being an amazing exercise instructor. I like exercise a lot. I like to stay healthy. But it's not like I think about teaching kickboxing all the time or have this burning desire to lead a step class.

So, why today? Why did I find myself thinking it would be so cool to be one of them now?

Well, this is what I think. I do that sometimes. Stick with me, though.

One of Maslow's hierarchy of needs is love/belonging.

Oh yeah, I am about to be all psychological on you here on the ole' blog. I looked this up on the Internet, so it must be true. No really, I remember studying this in middle school. So, that's why it must be true.

I get so side tracked - sorry.

So, Maslow's theory on this is:

Humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance, whether it comes
from a large social group, such as clubs, office culture, church groups
professional organizations, sports teams,
gangs("Safety in
"), or small social connections (family members, intimate
partners, mentors, close colleagues, confidants)

Speaking of middle school - how important is it to belong to a group then? Wow, that can be a rough time trying to find out where you belong. I can tell you that by high school, I wanted to be a part of a certain group so badly, that I made many bad decisions just to belong.

So, I think that's it. That is what I saw that made me momentarily want to be a part of their group. I saw a community. A group. A club. A gang of people that wanted to kill me with exercise. And they were cool and fun!

Well, I not going to be a part of that exercise instructor community. I can talk with them, I even can be friends with the one who has a daughter in my daughter's class. But I don't think they will be inviting me to come to a staff meeting or lead a class anytime soon.

In the last couple years being in community has become even more important to me as I had kids. I like being a part of a group of moms that have children the same age. We can share in our successes and struggles. I joined MOPS for 5 years to have that community. It was vital to me not becoming a complete mess of a mother. If you are a new mom and are lonely at home -find yourself a MOPS or MOMS group today. They say that stay-at-home moms are some of the loneliest groups of women around and plays a huge factor in post-partum depression.

Since I have left MOPS, I have become a part of not one, not even two, but three other groups. One is a couples group, one is a women's group at my church and the other is a women's book club in my neighborhood. They are like food to my soul. The love and fun from the people in these groups absolutely get me through life.

So what makes a group successful?

Well, high on the list is another one of Maslow's needs - -safety.

For me, I must feel safe in a group to share my life. I am an extravert and I process my feelings by speaking them. If I did not trust the people in any one of my groups, I would not be in them.

Personally, I think it is important to establish this up front.

Fun - the people I hang out with must be fun and not take themselves or others too seriously. In my couples group there is not much that is off limits that we talk about it - our poor kids, the stories we share about them. We were laughing so hard last week, I was crying.

A common goal: One of my groups reads all kinds of books, comes together to share the details of that book, dessert, wine or coffee and a night out of the house.

The other two groups I am in study the bible, share in meals, serve our community and take care of each other when needed.

I have said this before on this blog and really do believe this is true whether you are more of an introverted shy person or a put it all out there extravert.

People were not created to be alone. I recently heard a guy at a conference say, God himself is community - three in one.

We often start reading the bible at the fall of man, but what about starting it where he creates man and then creates a helpmate so man would not be alone. Everything was good that God created - but he said this one thing, "It is not good for man to be alone."

Just look at blogging. Here is another community all in itself. Every morning, I wake up and check Twitter and Facebook - all to be connected to other people. I don't even know most of these people! But I sure like being connected to them.

How are you connected? What does community look like to you? I would love to know.

I know you are out there. My stats tell me my readership is up, but you are not commenting. I really really would love to "know" you!


ali said...

Totally agree that we are not meant to be alone! The benefits of belonging are so astounding. My grandma goes to bingo and quilting and has a great outlook while my hubby's grandma can no longer drive and stays home by herself and seems so down. Huge difference.

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic post Janel! I don't like to be alone, well let me take that back I do like my "Alone" time but I also like to be with a group or belong to a group of some sort.

Janel@Dandelion Dayz said...

Thanks LeAnn - I, too, appreciate and NEED my alone time so much. Actually, I can sense when I need time alone. That is a very good point.

Being in community does not mean we shouldn't have time alone to reflect and fill ourselves back up. Especially, introverts who are drained of energy by being in community too much. My hubby is exhausted after small group and I, being the extravert, just can't stop talking!

Thanks ladies for stopping by today!

Stefani said...

Sorry I have been slacking on commenting lately!
As you probably already know, I share in your extrovertedness (I think I just created a new word!)I love being in community with other moms. In fact, my hubby sometimes laughs at how many play dates I have. (they're not really for the kids!) :) Great post Janel!

Kellie said...

From one extrovert to the other, I hear ya!

I also process by speaking (and writing) and so a safe group is pivotal!

This is a great post!

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