Building a Solid, Stable Life: Community (Part 1)

Building a Solid, Stable Life Community (Part 1) By Dr. Jay R. FeldNothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone;
therefore we must be saved by love.

Reinhold Niebuhr

In October 2012, the New York City area felt the fury of Hurricane Sandy. The hurricane was responsible for about a hundred deaths (one in my neighborhood) and caused tens of billions of dollars in damage. 

After the storm had blown over, the re-builders had to make extra-sure they were now laying the best foundation possible in order to ensure the stability of the new structure.

We can think of our lives in this way, too: If our foundation is solid and stable, the life and the relationships we build will be stable and happy. (This is also true for those of us who are not as young as springtime anymore – it’s never too late to strengthen your foundation!)

In this post I begin a series on the building blocks of a solid and stable life. The first essential component is “community.”

Their responsibility, our responsibility

We were conceived in community, nurtured for nine months in community with our mothers, then delivered into a community of care.

For most of us, our parents and caretakers loved us as well as they could with the tools they had. But they raised us less than perfectly, and we learned less than perfectly, so we arrived at adulthood with some quirks in our personality and some gaps in our character. From years zero to eighteen (approximately), our growth and development was their responsibility; from eighteen onward, the responsibility became ours.

For what did we become responsible? To inventory our lives, to acknowledge what’s working well, and then to fearlessly look at our quirks, our gaps, and whatever else might be holding us back, and determine to address them, in the context of a new and upgraded community. By “upgraded” I mean safer, healthier, more supportive and more sympathetic. For some of us, our original family was and still is a place of refuge and encouragement for us. For others of us, we need a new and upgraded experience of community, such as might be found in:

  • communities of committed friends who share the same life-giving values;
  • purpose-driven or affinity communities, based on mutual interests, goals, causes;
  • small-groups faith communities (sometimes called “life groups” or “home groups”);
  • recovery communities (e.g., Twelve Step groups).

Together we can …

In closing I offer you two Twelve Step slogans that highlight the absolute necessity of community.

  • “Together we can do what we could never do alone.”
  • “Let us love you until you can learn to love yourself.”

The first slogan is practical. So many aspects of building a happy, healthy and fulfilled life can’t be done by oneself, so we need others to help us. The second slogan is, for me, deeply spiritual. Our fundamental human need is to be accompanied, affirmed, helped and loved, and we need companions on our journey, to love us all the way home.

Do you feel the need to talk about building a solid and stable life, and the necessity of community? Call or write, and we’ll build together!


Jay R. Feld HeadshotDr. Jay R. Feld
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
(917) 572-4068

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