village /ˈvɪlɪdʒ/ noun 1. a group of houses and associated buildings, larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town
The accepted definition of village is a clustered human community, with a population ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand. But when I ask my clients about 'who is is in your village', I am referring to the humans who inhabit our village.
The concept of 'village' for me means people who love us our real 'us-ness'. The ones who care for us, nurture us and scold us. The people in our lives who look out for us, they want us to succeed, the people who are right there to celebrate and commiserate. They have seen you at your best and worst.
There will be squabbles, gossip, tears, unfair play, as well as life-changing moments of joy, beautiful memories made and shared, f*#cks given and shoulders to cry on. They might be family, they might not be. These are the people who bring colour and flavour to your world. Your people.
Building a village of strong social connections is vitally important for our every day health and well being, as well as our longevity.
Social connections give us pleasure, and influence our long-term health - dozens of studies have shown that people who have social support from family, friends, and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer. Conversely, a relative lack of social ties is associated with depression and later-life cognitive decline, as well as with increased mortality. One study, which examined data from more than 309,000 people, found that lack of strong relationships increased the risk of premature death from all causes by 50% — an effect on mortality risk roughly comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, and greater than obesity and physical inactivity.
Scientists have identified strong social connections will help relieve harmful levels of stress, which can adversely affect coronary arteries, gut function, insulin regulation, and the immune system. Another line of research suggests that caring behaviors trigger the release of stress-reducing hormones for both the giver and receiver.
The people you choose to have in your village are crucial to your life happiness, success, and health.
When you surround yourself with happy people you can live longer with 7 up to 10 years! And having happy people in your life can bring your own happiness levels up with 15%-20%.
Speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Extend the village metaphor for a moment and imagine these 5 people living in your hut or cottage. (yeah, that's a scary thought). The people we surround ourselves with affect us so deeply positively or negatively. Scarier thought: it's your choice!
You get to choose a healthy, happy, success filled life by peopling your village with villagers who demonstrate your life values, who live a positive healthy lifestyle, who are successful emotionally and financially.
Or not. You choose. Happy, healthy and thriving? or ...
What if you have no choice and are required to spend a significant amount of your day with people you don't want in your village? Great question: form stronger connections with the people you do want. Create opportunities to spend time with people who elevate and enhance your life. Install positive and empowered thinking and influence the unwanted people, you may even rub off on them!
If you are ready to become the person you were always meant to be, fill your village with the right group of people.
All relationships need to be a two-way arrangement. It's wonderful to be surrounded by the 'right' people, but what could you do to give back to them?
What can you do today to elevate your people? How could you inspire, spread joy and happiness?
How will you show up for your village, add value and create benefit in someone else's life?