No One is an Island

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If I don’t fit in I’ll isolate

Being a human is hard no matter who you are. Living outside the world’s little boxes, like being that kinky polyamorous bisexual, makes it even more difficult. Maybe you feel like you just don’t fit in and isolation seems like a pretty good solution to that problem. Being lonely hurts less if your loneliness is your choice, right?

Research says probably not. Although isolation can feel good sometimes – because feeling like an outcast around your friends and family is so much more uncomfortable – the truth is, it does more harm than good. Loneliness and social isolation are linked to serious health risks, and the risks are higher for individuals who identify as LGBTQ+, or who engage in other alternative lifestyles.*

There’s actually a scientific reason for that. Studies show that humans have a fundamental need to belong, and that need stems from our intrinsic survival instincts.** Although the degrees to which we like to socialize may vary, human beings are still social creatures. We’re herd animals at heart.

Recognizing Isolation 

To be clear, there’s a difference between healthy alone-time and social isolation. Alone time is important to living a balanced life, especially if you fall more on the introverted side of the spectrum. Isolation, on the other hand, is characterized by a lack of social connections.

With that in mind, it’s important to acknowledge that if you or someone you know is isolating, it may not necessarily be easy to recognize. You could be spending time around other people, engaging in regular everyday activities, and even striking up friendly conversations with strangers, but still be self-isolating. It’s about your mindset. 

If you’re not spending meaningful time with loved ones, responding to text messages, answering phone calls or engaging with other humans in conversation that doesn’t involve small talk, you may be self-isolating – and it becomes a downward spiral. Morrison was right, people are strange when you’re a stranger, faces do look ugly when you’re alone, and people seem wicked when you feel unwanted.

Maybe you don’t have other friends who are polyamorous, into kink, or even remotely LGBTQ+. You may feel like there’s no one you can really relate to or connect with on a meaningful level. Perhaps you don’t feel comfortable opening up to the “normal” people in your life because you’re afraid of being judged. Or maybe you’re tired of dulling your own uniqueness so that you can fit in with your available social circles. Now you’re just trying to make your own way in this world.

The good news is, you CAN make your own way in this world. You just don’t have to do it alone.

Getting Out of Isolation

Do you know how many people feel like they don’t fit in (even if they are more “normal” than you)? There’s a reason that there are approximately one zillion movies about amazing and loveable characters whose stories stem from the fact that they didn’t “fit in.” Not fitting in, as it turns out, makes people interesting. 

Your people are out there. You just have to find them. The first step for many of us is to accept yourself for the amazing, kink-loving, polyamorous bisexual (or whatever) you are! Of course, that may be easier said than done. It took me a long time to be the unabashedly open, kilt wearing, bright ball of sunshine I show in public – and it wasn’t always easy. 

Getting support from a trained mental health professional with a long track record of helping individuals who struggle with “being different” is a good first step. A mental health counselor can also help you work your way out of isolation if that’s something you’re currently struggling with. 

Learning to live your life more authentically is a necessary step to building meaningful relationships. Engaging in meaningful relationships is important for removing yourself from isolation and overcoming loneliness. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson said “to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” So let’s get started with a free, brief consultation. Use the form below to schedule an appointment with me today.

 

*CDC

** Penn State University