Have you ever been part of a group that just didn’t seem to gel? People weren’t on the same wavelength, there were unnecessary misunderstandings and distrust? We often think of community as something that happens organically. When community does grow from the grassroots, it is a beautiful thing. But sometimes community growth needs a little nudge….. and rituals can help.
Trust is a big part of building community because – in genuine community – we make ourselves vulnerable. Being vulnerable with others is risky businesses. As Community Consultant Jonelle Seitz puts it in her article on Personify, “Being part of a community, after all, means sacrificing a sliver of one’s own individuality in favor of a shared identity….. members need to trust each other enough to know the sacrifice will be worth it.” Participating in group rituals can help break down defensive barriers and build a deeply trusting community.
And, interestingly, the rituals don’t have to be elaborate or related to the work done by the group. Participating in random or bogus rituals even built trust and connection between members of the group. As Seitz describes, “…in one study, participants in an invented ritual were more likely to share their own money with other ritual participants than with non-participants.”
Whether it is a work team, a school group, a civic organization, or a family gathering, participating in rituals together can build connection, trust, and a feeling of being part of something greater than oneself. At Rites of Passage, LLC, we offer ritual workshops for groups who want to experience the power of ritual together.
When have you been part of a group that lacked connection or cohesiveness? How did that feel? When have you experienced the power of ritual to build trust and relationships? Is there a group or community in your life that you think could benefit from ritual?