I am reading Soul Cravings by Erwin McManus and he has some very interesting concepts about our need for love. One of the concepts in particular I found to be profound was related to community.
"...we are increasingly less self-aware. We're more self-absorbed but less self aware. We don't know who we are"
"When we don't know who we are, when we have no clue as to who we were meant to become, we try to become something we are not."
"We only truly come to know ourselves in the context of others. The more isolated and disconnected we are, the more shattered and distorted our self-identity"
I found this particularly interesting because I have reflected a lot over the past couple years about who I want to maintain connections with. Which connections that we are have with others, or where we are part of a group, are we truly in a community that is healthy for us? Do co-workers give us the feedback we need? How about if you are the boss, do you really get truth from staff? In our families, church groups, hobby groups, old school friends or other groups that are not regularly a part of our lives do we get to really to know ourselves in their midst?
If we are part of a group of people where the sharing of feelings, ideas, worries, etc is not shared (i.e. some people are hiding) is there a real connection within the group? I think this self absorbtion, self awareness inbalance is a vicious cycle. If you are self absorbed, and don't want to tamper with your view of yourself even in a group of "trusted" individuals you keep to yourself. Oh sure we can listen to others and share feedback to them but the trap here is that you can end up feeling superior becasue -they- need help and -you- don't.
I will keep reading but I suspect he, like many other authors I have read, will just continue to include the importance of community in his vision but still have no silver bullet for how to make it work in our world.