In addition to the alone time, we also need to allocate time to spend with like-minded people, to relax, be exposed to new ideas, and share our reality with those who understand.
For the longest time, books have been my most trusted companions – always there when I needed them, teaching me something new every day, and opening my eyes to different ideas and lifestyles. Then I hit puberty and realized that I needed to add unpredictability and adventure into my life, and so I became a lot more aware of the value interaction with other people brings. And although books will always be a huge source of inspiration and ideas for me, I have discovered that like-minded people are a great well of knowledge and comfort. Great ideas evolve from bouncing them off other people: you might talk to five people and get little useful feedback, but the sixth might have a wealth of knowledge on the subject and provide you invaluable input.
The closeness in values cannot be underestimated. I am not saying that we should not be open-minded to ideas that are coming from outside of our comfort zone. Not at all. Exploring new ideas is extremely valuable, and we will not learn if all we do is discuss the same things we already know. What is necessary, however, is that we share the core values with the people who surround us. I very unlikely would find much in common with someone who considers racism a valid platform, or believes that violence is a good solution to any problem, or thinks Caesarean section is the best way to manage any birth. I will much more likely learn something interesting from people who already share some of my values, such as, for instance, attachment parenting, gentle birth, love for Tolkien, goth aesthetic, Dungeons and Dragons, Russian bardic music, yoga, and so on. Once you find that you have similar core values, you can learn a lot from the person, even if you disagree on many points. The likelihood is that you’ll be able to discuss your points of disagreement in a respectful manner that can enlighten all the participating parties. You do not have to agree on everything, yet you can understand someone’s viewpoint if it is based on similar core values.
We do not want to invite negativity into our lives. No pregnant mama wants to hear other people’s horror birth stories, often exaggerated and rarely enlightening. Constant drama is draining, and so is perpetual questioning of your core values with the intention of changing your opinion even when it is well-researched. Like-minded people bring positive energy into our life, which is invaluable, especially in our more vulnerable moments. The love surrounding a budding mama during a Blessingway ceremony, support when you or your child is ill, meals and help during postpartum period, even a brief conversation with a friend when you are not having a good day, – and you don’t feel so alone while fighting to stay afloat during a life storm. And it feels great to be able to support your friends when they are having a tough time.
We tend to feel at home with like-minded people, instead of trying to live up to expectations, impress, or convert them to our way of thinking. Humans are social animals, and surrounding ourselves with people who resonate with us is a great way to reduce stress, bond, learn, relax, and laugh.