This is part two of the third article in a series of six on how to build your tribe and includes a discussion on how to find your guy or gal pals, and how to go deeper with yourself and become more vulnerable. Each article will focus on a different area of friendship and intimacy in order to not only build that tribe, but to create long-lasting bonds that transcend a game night. You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends and the best kind of friend is the one who becomes family. You can find part one here.
Erikson, your tribe, and finding your passion
Tribe friendships nurture generativity and help build our legacy, as we learned in part one of this article. While our tribe can bring us out of our shells, be our secret-keepers, and our sisters and brothers of the soul, the other thing our tribe provides is that focus we discussed in last month’s issue. However, focus is only important if we first know what we are focusing on. And so much of our focus is finding and attempting to meet the challenges of our purpose, or purposes.
Although the goal of Erikson’s stages was to assess how we grow from infancy into adulthood and beyond, these stages are also useful in showing us how to be the most well-rounded member of a tribe we can be. In fact, with each stage of Erikson’s psychosocial theory, we can find ways to fulfill our passion and purpose with the help of our closest friends and family.
6 ways tribe friendships nurture generativity and your legacy
Using the first six of the eight stages hypothesized by Erikson, we can further understand how tribe plays a key role in life satisfaction. These stages and their corresponding application to tribe building and support are expounded on below.
If you cannot find it in you to see the possibility in your relationships, how can you do it with your own dreams? If you put your trust in your tribe, understanding that no one is perfect, but that true friendships are built on this very important quality, then these people you’ve chosen will bolster you. What follows are relationships that add to that feeling of safety and sense of trust. Consequently, you can pursue your passions and purpose with confidence.
It seems strange to think of autonomy—the ability to be and think independently—as an essential quality when it comes to the support of our tribe. Tribes are, of course, named that due to the nature of their group setting. However, this goes back to a recurring key point we’ve discussed. Be yourself. You’ve learned to be uniquely you. That unidentifiable quality that makes you who you are is also what makes your tribe so perfect for you. And when your tribe breathes continual encouragement into that part that is you, building you up, you can absolutely follow your dreams and passions knowing they will always have your back. Because they know you.
In short, you’ve got a magnificent backbone of your own. However, your friends are there to give you that additional kick in the butt. Let them.
A large part of purpose, passion, or generativity is the ability to be useful. Being industrious is a childhood goal in Erikson’s model. However, just as with our other learned skills, it carries forward through passionate drive into our daily lives. Surrounding ourselves with a tribe that appreciates hard work and supporting each other will foster a strong work ethic in the whole of your tribe.
Your friends and family have witnessed you at your best and worst. They understand you in ways even you struggle with identifying. Listen to a person outside the situation. Understand that they’ve watched you grow. Trust your inner compass for sure, but no one else knows you better than your tribe.
The ability to maintain true relationships of intimacy can help you reach your dreams because often there are at least a few within our inner circle who have similar dreams. They are connections to not only our personal life, but to our professional life as well. In addition, having an understanding of true intimacy and the beauty of various relationships in our lives, we can better follow through on the many types of connections we will form in our professional life as well.
Passionate tribes learn together
There’s this thing in nature called symbiosis. Basically, everything is interconnected. Not by a circle of life, but a web of life where the connections overlap until the web looks like a bunch of chaos. Only it’s not chaos. That very web is something that we see in our own relationships.
We are, all of us, eternally connected. But our tribe is the bright attachment and sheen of webbing we see in the dark.
That’s a tribe for you, though. They are our light in the dark, the shining beacon that has the ability to pull us out of the stagnation or isolation. They introduce that intimacy we’ve been craving. And in the end, they help us to soldier on. Our tribe stands beside us as we fight the despairingly mundane, which could so easily drag us down, and seek a life of legacy and generativity. They are our people.
When we choose—and are chosen by—our tribe, we will learn, grow, and overcome together. But most importantly, we will go through the many cycles that lead us to a full life of passion and purpose.