Do I know myself? What communities am I a part of by choice? These are the types of questions that help human beings explore, understand and identify themselves. Self exploration involves learning new things, having new experiences and identifying those things that resonate. As part of this process, human beings also adopt for themselves traditions and values of various cultures they interact with, or modify them to meet their own values and goals. In order to empower people to do these things, it’s important for the built environment of the larger community in which one lives to be conducive to self and community exploration, including protected green spaces, opportunities to connect with nature, and opportunities to easily connect with others by having good sidewalks, night time lighting, public health systems and sanitation.
Signs of Optimal Health & Wellness
Signs of thriving include:
Ability to identify what brings you joy and happiness, and also what you like or dislike
Ability to identify people and communities with which you share common values and joys
Being surrounded by reflections of self and interests in the community in which you live
Having an investment in the communities you choose to identify with, as well as larger community in which you live
Warning signs include:
Stagnate growth, or inability to identify and explore new things
No sense of belonging
Identify with groups based on “shoulds” rather than by choice
Surrounded by decaying infrastructure
No investment in the success of the larger community
Taking the time to get to know yourself and the communities and cultures you enjoy is an important part of self development. Ask yourself: Am I continuously exploring things I might enjoy? Do I know about other cultures and communities? What are my own traditions and where did I learn them? Am I committed to the growth and success of the larger community in which I live? Why or why or why not?
Increase your own exposure to new activities, communities and ideas
Make a commitment to investing in the larger community in which you live to ensure that it affords opportunities for you and others
When the larger community is falling into decay or when you have trouble identifying ways to engage in self and community exploration, you may need support. It’s important for communities to be safe and conducive to self and community exploration as well. This also means being free from violence and criminal activity.