Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I’m in the middle of trying to break a terrible habit: self-imposed isolation.
For years, whenever things didn’t go my way or I was frustrated about present circumstances I would retreat, pull a disappearing act and isolate myself from everything and everyone.

I think I thought I was saving others from my crappy mood. All I was really doing was going deeper into the frustration until it developed into a full blown pity party.

I planned to shut down the blog for the month of March so I could isolate. But as you can see I have changed my mind.

No more isolation.

It’s a waste of time and it’s actually very harmful. When I isolate I get all in my feelings and I stay inside my head. I’m not telling myself anything positive or beneficial. I’m repeating my frustrations and somehow convincing myself that things will always be “this” way. Whatever this way may mean. Isolation actually prolongs my frustration.

No more friggin’ isolation.

When I left work yesterday I was emotionally exhausted and my plan was to go home and get in the bed to take advantage of some good ole isolation. Once I got home I realized that was an awful idea. Just because you receive an invitation to a pity party doesn’t mean that you have to show up. And if you do show up, it doesn’t mean you have to stay long. I had a life group meeting scheduled last night and I was all set to blow it off. I am so glad that I went. I was able to meet with people that care about me and that I care about and discuss the topic of the night … Romans 7, where Paul discusses being frustrated about doing the things that he knows he shouldn’t and not doing the things that he knows he should. It was a good discussion and I’m glad I didn’t miss it. Thank God for his grace.

I have things that I want to do with my life. Don’t we all? The thing is, it takes me a while to come up with ideas and plans so when those ideas drop into my head I get all kinds of excited and want to see the outcome RIGHT NOW. It’s like planting a tree and expecting to see it fully grown the next day.

I’m like a kid during a long car ride. Are we there yet?

I look back to March 2010. One year ago I was ending my relationship, leaving my church and everything that had been familiar to me, all in an effort to let go of fear and experience true freedom. In the beginning I tried to isolate but it was literally driving me crazy. So I got out and did everything I could to engage with other people: I joined a new church, started taking yoga, joined a book club, I did some traveling and before I knew it, an entire year had passed and I am in a completely different place now. I learned from that experience that isolation prolongs frustration. It magnifies the negative and blocks out the possibilities for positivity. Isolation sucks.

So we’re not doing that anymore. And before I know it, another year will pass and I’ll be looking back at March 2011 with joy because I decided not to isolate.


EmptyNester said...

Great attitude! I'm so proud of you! You are an inspiration!

TJ said...

I have been fighting my natural tendency to isolate myself when things get more complicated or more demanding, which means lately. I'm so thankful that God does not appear to be going along with that. I can't wait for the next installation of the Next Chapter!

Beverly @ The Buzz said...

Good for you. I'm a retreater, too--and it never helps. I tell myself I'm sparing other people by not imposing my crappy attitude on them, but what I'm really doing is pushing them away and they know it. My poor husband has had more than his share of it from me. I'm interested in how you continue to deal with this, so hope you will keep posting about it. You give me hope that I can change as well.

dionde said...

thanks for sharing...I am guilty of isolation....I call it "clearing my mind" the next time I feel it coming on, I will remember your post...


dee in san diego

Shai said...

I am a loner. And sometimes I slip deeper into it. I am more of an introvert. I have my extroverted side I show with people. I have been isolating myself because I tend to absorb others' negativity.

I have been using saving money as a reason for staying home more. It is driving me crazy. I plan to get out network with some of my literary friends and learn about ebooks. I want to do a poetry ebook and now is a good time to go. Plus it is free.

I love being a loner to a point. I can feel when I have pulled back for too long. Right now I feel it. And I have to fight it.

Remnants of U said...

Oh, this is something I do, too. I need to make a concerted effort not to isolate. Thank you for admitting it. Romans 7? I think I need to read it.

Kristy said...

Look at you, learning lessons and all! You're fabulous!

LadyLee said...

Iaolation prolongs frustration. Good words indeed. I'm writing that down.

I'm the same way. And I too am working hard on that. Glad you are too!

The older I get, the more important I realize it is to get away from myself, and be of service to others and just to be of good use, and to reach out. This tends to squash out my frustration and bring out my joy and appreciation of life, of where I am at that moment. And that in itself is a blessing indeed.

Glad you went to your life group. God always has a word for us, right where we are at. Good deal!