How can being part of a community affect you ?
I have learned from reading essays, Walking the Path between Worlds and Health and Happiness, and the book The Scarlet Letter, that being or feeling a part of a community can have a huge positive impact. All show the importance of a community for an individual and how it can impact your physical and mental well-being.
If you aren’t in a community then you don’t have someone to talk to or go through life with. They will always have this void in them which will start to negatively impact them. Being told every day, either by yourself or someone else, that you don’t belong can get to you. In The Scarlet Letter, Dimmesdale and Hester were not a part of the town either physically or mentally. Hester was shunned and isolated while Dimmesdale was alone in his despair, therefore cut-off from society.
Not being a part of a community can also take so much of a toll that you can get sick if not a part of a community. It is proven that “the more integrated we are with our community, the less likely we are to experience colds, heart attacks, strokes, cancer, depression and premature deaths of all sorts” (Putnam para. 2). This opens up a striking new cord, one’s health can be altered by how you much you interact with society. Dimmesdale began needing a personal physician to help with his growing sickness caused by the self-wallowing in pity. The loneliness was eating him up inside.
There is also physical loneliness that does the same amount of damage. In one of the essays a Native American, going to college outside of her tribe, didn’t feel welcomed with the other college students, “I understood what it meant to be invisible. People looked right through me – I moved around the campus as unseen as air” (Alvord para. 14). Hester also had similar encountering’s, “Hester stood in that magic circle of ignominy, where the cunning cruelty of her sentence seemed to have fixed her forever…” (Hawthorne 201), which made her feel like an outcast. Having this negative self-image of oneself can make you want to start over and finally feel involved.
After Hester got the letter A she was thrown on the outskirts, no longer included. This led to her taking up needle-work, “In all her intercourse with society, however, there was nothing that made her feel as if she belonged to it” (Hawthorne 36-37).The thing is, she wasn’t completely a part of her society and once you are no longer apart of or with your community you are an individual trying to find your way back, “If I left, I would leave the enclosed and sacred world within the strong mountains, standing out” (Alvord para.4). You leave your comfort zone, and try to find your way back to something just as comfortable and rewarding.
Once you have become a part of a community you look at the world differently. It can give you a new perspective on life, affecting your happiness and health. Dimmesdale now noticed how things looked different than earlier and was healthier, “But he leaped across the flashy places, thrust himself through the clinging underbrush, climbed the ascent, plunged into the hollow, and overcame, in short all the difficulties of the track with an unweariable activity that astonished him” (Hawthorne 171). People who are happy look at the world in a positive way.
Joy can be brought back into your life when you no longer feel like an individual all on your own and you are with a community of other people. Having to bear everything on your own can be tiring that is why “people who have close friends and confidants, friendly neighbors, and supportive co-workers are less likely to experience sadness, loneliness, low self-esteem, and problems with eating and sleeping” (Putnam para. 14). If you have people who can care for you and notice when something is wrong, you are more likely to have a better day to day life.
As humans we crave other human interactions. That is why being a part of a, “Community and tribe not only reduce the alienation people feel but in doing so stave off illness” (Alvord para. 26), positively enriching you. Once Dimmesdale decided he would leave town with Hester and Pearl, he proclaimed, “Do I feel joy again? … I seem to have flung myself-sick, sin-stained, and sorrow-blackened-down upon these forest leaves, and to have risen up all made anew…” (Hawthorne 157), he now feels like he has someone who he can share things with making a huge impact on his happiness.
Sometimes you might even find the most unexpected communities that can be that best thing for you. Hester had finally found her community, “But there was a more real life for Hester Prynne here in New England than in that unknown region where Pearl had found a home” (Hawthorne 217). She felt so separated from society for committing sin but soon enough she too would feel a part of something again, “…people brought all their sorrows and perplexities and besought her counsel as one who had herself gone through a mighty trouble” (Hawthorne 218). You never know what can make you the happiest or give you the most surprising joy
A community is a strong word. It gives people a place to come together in common interest and share life with. Everyone wants to fit in somewhere and have a safe place to land. I can’t think of anything else that can truly enrich someone’s life the way a community can.
-Forever Putting My Thoughts on Paper