3 Top Reasons Everyone should Avoid Isolation
Some of us crave isolation.
Others avoid it like the plague.
Depending on our temperament and personality, we may get energized when we have time alone, or we get energized from being around other people. The simple classification for these two types of personalities are introvert or extrovert.
(This is a massive generalization however, because we are all so drastically unique that even within those broad categories there are infinite nuances about each person- which is what makes us each so crucial!)
And unbeknownst to some- even introverts need interaction with other people.
Regardless of where you fall in the introverted-extroverted spectrum, history has shown that complete isolation and disconnect from other humans has detrimental affects on an individual.
Navigating a spinal cord injury or other health challenges can tempt us to withdraw and isolate even more than a natural introverted personality would, so we wanted to expose the reasons drastic isolation would only hinder, not help.
Here are a couple thoughts on why we all should avoid too much isolation, especially when facing a massive life change or challenge:
1- Grieving is Healthier WITH People
Contrary to the popular belief of our current culture:
Grieving is actually a very common experience, and is healthy to process through.
Culture and imbedded-mindsets will usually pressure us to:
- numb/irgnore our emotions
- hide our tears
- remain silent about what we’re feeling
These are actually 3 perfect ingredients for NOT processing our grief correctly.
Any type of life change- from changing schools, to the death of a loved one- requires some time to process conflicting emotions (grief) regarding that change.
The best way to process these emotions:
- Talk to a trusted friend who will listen freely and validate our emotions without interjecting or offering advice
- Allow someone we care about to hold us
- Freely release our tears or emotions in the company of a friend
Culture portrays sorrow or grief as week, but everyone experiences it. Trying to simply hide it or ignore it is simply living in denial and actually allows sorrow to remain and fester years longer than necessary.
2- Interaction Exposes Commonalities
When we gather with people with similar interests, or who have gone through similar experiences or struggles, we soon discover that the thoughts, emotions and questions we've had aren’t peculiar, but common.
There is nothing more isolating that living in the sense that we're all alone in what we're feeling or thinking.
“No one else feels this.”
“No one else is having difficulty with this like I am..”
These are thoughts we're all prone to unless we engage and communicate with others.
When we get out and engage with others- whether it’s a support group, activity group, rehab group, book club, church group, etc- we'll soon discover that we are not alone in what we're feeling, and we might even find solutions that others have worked out, and offer our own solutions in return!
3- Isolation Breeds Depression
It’s a time-tested truth that too much isolation breeds depression.
Not only do we only hear our thoughts and opinions (which can get hopeless real quick, because we’re all our own worst critic!) but we also don’t have outside interactions to get our thoughts off of the "problems and issues” inside our own head...
..our own skin.
..our own room.
When we get out into the world- and better yet -into the “world” of someone else’s life, it’ll be like fresh air for our mind and perspective. If we get around people who value us more than we currently value ourselves, our perspective will start to shift, and our emotions wont remain solely informed by our own thoughts.
Sometimes it just takes exposure to different perspectives to realize what the most fulfilling perspective is.
Isolation can become a suffocating habit.
Don’t rush things to start with; don’t expect too much of yourself.
Take one simple step towards community at a time.
Maybe start with a weekly Skype call with a friend. Then in awhile...find a support group. Take steps out of isolation, and open your life to the clear-air-breathing of like engaging with other amazing people like yourself!
We need you out here with us!
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