Do You Isolate?

A sad man walking alone in a field

In my counseling practice, I often have clients who tend to isolate as a way of protecting against their fears – especially their fears of rejection and engulfment. They are so afraid of being disliked, disapproved of, attacked or having demands made on them, that they choose to avoid relationships, rather than learn how to deal with these challenging situations.

These people have never developed a loving Adult self, who knows how to take loving care of them when others are angry, rejecting or demanding. They believe they prefer loneliness over the challenge of relationships.

Yet, time and again, I see the devastating effects of constant loneliness. We are social beings, meant to live within the safety and connection of family and community. While, to people who isolate, it seems safer to avoid relationships, the research shows that a lack of community has a very negative effect on health and wellbeing. Far more single people are unhappy than married people, and people without friends die earlier than people with friends.

“People in long-term marriages are much happier than people who aren’t….People who have more friends have lower stress levels and live longer.” The Social Animal, David Brooks, pp196-197

If you are a person who isolates, can you learn to feel safe without giving up being with people?

Yes, you can. You will feel safe when you learn how to take loving care of yourself, especially in the face of others’ anger, disapproval and demands.

This means that you need to learn a number of very important things:

  • You need to learn to define your own worth, so that you are not reliant on others’ approval to feel good about yourself.
  • You need to learn to not take others’ behavior personally. While others’ blaming, attacking, disapproving, rejecting, demanding or needy behavior can hurt your heart, it is very important to know that it is not about you, and not about there being anything wrong with you.
  • You need to learn to manage the loneliness and heartbreak of others’ unloving behavior. It’s one thing to feel lonely when you have chosen to isolate – since you are in control of it – but quite another to feel the loneliness of others’ closed hearts and accept your helplessness over their choices. Yet closing your own heart is not the answer.
  • You need to reach a point in your life where you know that being open-hearted and loving with yourself and others is why you are on the planet, and that there is no way of avoiding the loneliness and heartbreak of loving someone who is not open-hearted with you. This is why learning to manage the very challenging feeling of loneliness and heartbreak – and your helplessness over others’ choices – is so important. Without knowing how to do this, you will likely be too afraid to love.

This is where the Six Steps of Inner Bonding come in. Practicing Inner Bonding is what will heal the fears and false beliefs that keep you isolated and afraid, by developing your loving Adult self, who is capable of taking loving care of yourself in the face of others’ unloving behavior.

This is what will free you from isolation.

It takes great courage to learn how to take loving care of yourself – to speak your truth and take loving action in your own behalf, risking others’ disapproval and rejection rather than giving yourself up to control how others feel about you, or isolating to avoid the challenge.

Do you have the courage to open your heart and learn how to love yourself? Do you have the courage to open your heart to others and risk rejection or loss? No one can ever make it “safe” for you to do this; truly loving is, in a sense, one of the least safe things we do on the planet. It is also the most fulfilling and joyful experience we ever have.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® process – featured on Oprah. Are you are ready to discover real love and intimacy? Click here for a FREE CD/DVD relationship offer, and visit our website at www.innerbonding.com for more articles and help. Phone Sessions Available. Join the thousands we have already helped and visit us now!

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Dr. Margaret Paul is the author/co-author of numerous best-selling books, including: Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You? Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?…The Workbook Healing Your Aloneness The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook Inner Bonding Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids? Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, public speaker, seminar leader, consultant, facilitator, and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars for over 42 years. Dr. Paul’s books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into many languages. After practicing traditional psychotherapy for 17 years, Margaret was discouraged by the results – both for her clients and herself. She had spent years trying to heal from her own dysfunctional and abusive background, but found herself still suffering with anxiety and relationship problems. She started to seek a process that works fast, deep, creates permanent change, loving relationships, inner peace, and joy. In 1984, she met and became friends with Dr. Erika Chopich, who had half the Inner Bonding® process, and Margaret had the other half! They have been evolving this incredibly powerful healing process for the last 26 years. Margaret works with individuals and couples throughout the world – on the phone, in workshops and 5-Day Intensives, and with members of Inner Bonding Village at http://www.innerbonding.com. She is able to access spiritual Guidance during her sessions, which enables her to work with people wherever they are in the world. Dr. Margaret has just completed a 12 year project call SelfQuest®, which is a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution software program. SelfQuest® is being donated to prisons and schools and sold to individuals, families, and businesses. You can read about SelfQuest® and see a short video of it at http://selfquest.com. In her spare time, Margaret loves to paint, make pottery, take photos, watch birds, read, ride and play with her horses, and spend time with her children and grandchildren.

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