What is a tribe and how can it help us?

TRIBE, as defined by Oxford Dictionary: “A social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognised leader”.

Tribes help us to feel a sense of belonging. They can help to nurture our sense of self and our identity. Belonging to a group who share similar values or passions can help us to feel a greater sense of purpose and meaning as we are participating in something which is either important to us or making a difference to others. Being part of a tribe is important because it reflects our values whilst simultaneously fulfilling our desire or need for companionship.

The importance of connection

Connection with others can have a significant impact on our mental, physical, emotional and psychological health. Connecting with others can help to reduce anxiety or depression. It can help us to regulate our emotions. Connection fuels togetherness, which can help to increase our skills in empathy as we learn to become better listeners and supporters.

Through connection, we can better understand the importance of vulnerability, as we learn to open up and share more with others. We can learn we are not alone; that others’ too have problems and difficulties and that what we are feeling is valid. This can help to make us feel more supported which can play a role in boosting our confidence or self-esteem.

Studies have shown that “having strong social connections can increase life expectancy by up to 50% as well as decrease you chances of experiencing mental health conditions like depression or social anxiety or physical health problems like high blood pressure, a weakened immune system or dementia”. https://mensline.org.au/wellbeing-blog/finding-your-tribe/

How to identify who is in your tribe – circle of trust exercise

In the middle of the circle are your VIPs. Those you go to at any time, for anything. Sharing joyous or tragic news – they are your rock.

The next layer out are those whom you also share many private moments with, but perhaps they’re not the person you call at 2am with a problem. You enjoy their company and need/want their presence in your life.

The next layer out are those you may invite to events or parties but don’t see all that regularly. You enjoy their company, but don’t really open up and share many private moments.

The next layer out are those you see infrequently. They may be more like acquaintances or ‘friend of friends’.

The next layer of the circle may be those people you interact with on an informal basis – like your hairdresser, the lady in the grocery shop, the butcher, the parent at school drop off etc.

And so on and so forth…The circle can continue for as long as you need it to!

Completing this exercise can help you to see just how many people you have in your tribe. It can be quite comforting completing this activity, as you sit and reflect on all the important people in your life.

Family/friends/colleagues/acquaintances/neighbours all have different roles and there are different expectations for each layer of support. They all serve a different purpose. The circle is fluid, meaning at times your tribe might change; people may move closer or further away from the centre. Know that this is normal, that’s life!

Feeling stuck completing your Circle of Trust? NEVER MIND. Read below to learn how to find your tribe. It’s never too late!

How to find a new tribe

1. Self-Reflection – learn more about yourself and what your values are. What are you looking for? What’s missing currently in your life? What do you feel you need more of?

2. Try new things – take a risk and engage in an activity you’ve not done before or haven’t engaged in for a while. This experience can help you to identify what you enjoy and better understand the type of people you want to make space for.

3. Remain open minded and non-judgemental – bring awareness to any judgements you may have when approaching a new group or activity. Remind yourself to look for commonalities rather than adopting a pessimistic stance.

4. Look to create new routines and habits – know when to commit and make a conscious effort to engage with your new tribe. Remain active and make yourself known in the group. Don’t be shy!

Self-compassion and self-acceptance – know that this is a journey, and you may take time in finding the right tribe. Be kind and compassionate and remind yourself why this is important and the reasons you are looking to do this.

Wishing you many happy and fulfilling memories and experiences with your tribe!

Yours in wellness,

Libby McLean

EAP Specialist, Coach and Trainer

Positive MIND Consulting