Map your communities. Think of several communities that you are a part of in the broadest sense of the word (consider extended family, churches, sports leagues, workplaces, civic organizations, etc.). How much diversity do they represent? How much overlap is there? Are any of them antagonistic? What happens to you when loyalties clash? How does your involvement in each give you a breadth and gift that you wouldn’t have if you were only in one? Do you bring the blessings of one community into another? Is there any chance that one community is too idolatrous—as if it were a god in itself? Would you benefit by intentionally developing another community involvement?

Unfinished business. Consider where you have recently run into problems with relationships. Is this related to any pattern that you have seen? Were the emotions that you felt in that situation similar to any that you felt strongly in your early life, or is the perceived hurt that you felt similar? Journal or talk to someone safe about the ways in which unfinished business might be imposing itself on the present or seeking resolution.

Addressing the balance. Consider whether it is more typical for you to be the one giving or the one receiving love in your community. If you are normally receiving – what are some simple and concrete ways that you can demonstrate caring to someone in your community? Commit yourself to at least one such act very soon. If you are more normally giving, what are some ways in which you could share a need or make yourself more available to be cared for? Might you find a friend with whom to be more vulnerable? Could you ask for a lift, a helping hand or borrow a tool instead of being self-sufficient?

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