Priority 5: Faith in Community

More from my up and coming presentation on the 7 Priorities. remember this is a work in progress, and these are only my working notes… I hope you enjoy…



As Mark Twain said…

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that. The really great make you feel that you too can become great.”

The fifth priority, the priority in community may seem like a repeat of the last priority, the priority of humanity. However, it is not, this priority focuses on the community of self.

The community of self, or better stated, the community that we create around ourselves, is our support group, our peers and the people we lean toward. Our support community defines our actions and our reactions, in some ways. This priority is about how we choose to or whom we choose to associate with outside of the family and work and other non-social activities. As the old saying goes, “Birds of a feather flock together”.

Our community of friends defines us to the community at large. Our priority is a priority in choice, a priority in definition. We must choose to associate with people who will lift us up, build our character, not degrade or defame our character.

Our friends are the visible display of our character, and are what others will judge us by. If our priorities are in line with what is best for us, than we will choose friends that will not only project a health image of ourselves, but will, in reality, create a healthy self. By surrounding ourselves with positive, upbeat friends, we will receive better advice, and have heather relationships.


The values that one finds in friendships are often the result of a friend demonstrating the following on a consistent basis:

  • The tendency to desire what is best for the other
  • Sympathy and empathy
  • Honesty, perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth, especially in terms of pointing out the perceived faults of one’s counterpart
  • Mutual understanding and compassion
  • Trust in one another (able to express feelings – including in relation to the other’s actions – without the fear of being judged); able to go to each other for emotional support
  • Positive reciprocity – relationship is based on equal give and take between the two parties.

The Roman philosopher Cicero believed that in order to have a true friendship with someone, one must have complete honesty, truth, and trust. He also thought that friends would do things for each other without expectation of repayment. If a friend is about to do something wrong, one should not compromise one’s morals and let the friend commit the action–one should explain what is wrong about the action, and help one’s friend understand what is right. Cicero believed that ignorance is the cause of evil.

Friendship and health

The conventional wisdom is that good friendships enhance an individual’s sense of happiness and overall well-being. However, a number of solid studies support the notion that strong social supports improve a woman’s prospects for good health and longevity. Conversely, it has been shown that loneliness and lack of social supports are linked to an increased risk of heart disease, viral infections, and cancer as well as higher mortality rates. Two female researchers have even termed friendship networks a “behavioral vaccine” that protects both physical and mental health.

[ Friendship, social support, and health. 2007 Sias, Patricia M; Bartoo, Heidi. In L’Abate, Luciano (Ed). (2007). Low-cost approaches to promote physical and mental health: Theory, research, and practice. (pp. 455–472). xxii, 526 pp. New York, NY, US: Springer Science + Business Media.]

While there is an impressive body of research linking friendship and health status, the precise reasons for this connection are still far from clear. Most of the studies are large prospective studies (that follow people over a period of time) and while there may be a correlation between the two variables (friendship and health status), researchers still don’t know if there is a cause-and-effect relationship, e.g. that good friendships actually improve health.

There are a number of theories that attempt to explain the link, including that: 1) Good friends encourage their friends to lead more healthy lifestyles; 2) Good friends encourage their friends to seek help and access services, when needed; 3) Good friends enhance their friends’ coping skills in dealing with illness and other health problems; and/or 4) Good friends actually affect physiological pathways that are protective of health. [Social networks and health: It’s time for an intervention trial. 2005. Jorm, Anthony F. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. Vol 59(7) Jul 2005, 537–538.]

Aristotle‘s view of friendship this way:

A friend, then, is one who (1) wishes and does good (or apparently good) things to a friend, for the friend’s sake, (2) wishes the friend to exist and live, for his own sake, (3) spends time with his friend, (4) makes the same choices as his friend and (5) finds the same things pleasant and painful as his friend. []


As we have seen from the above text, friendship is important, but also who our friends are is just as important. We surround ourselves who what we wish to become and what we wish to be seen as.

This priority helps us establish the life we choose to lead and how people perceive the life we are leading.

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


True friendship is like sound health, the value of it is seldom known until it is lost.
Charles Caleb Colton



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5 thoughts on “Priority 5: Faith in Community

  1. A true friend loves and sets aside ones faults never mentions or seeks retribution and stands closer than a brother. A true and loyal friend is hard to find and blessed is he who finds even one.


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