The feeling that we failed to fit into this or other groups of people visits us all from time to time. If it occurs too often, the affected people are likely to develop social isolation schema. Individuals who habitually experience disconnection, feel isolated in most companies and live with a permanent realization that they differ from others and will never be unconditionally accepted by them may be well advised to observe their lifestyle, in case they are really struggling with this condition unknowingly.
Why are social connections important for your health?
Wide and healthy socializing is undoubtedly beneficial for our mental and physical condition. Studies show that people whose social interactions are well up the scale register low levels of depression, they are calmer, more self-confident, able of deeper empathy. Those with many social ties can expect a longer life expectancy and better overall health compared to persons who are reserved and feel lonely. Isolation is known to be conducive to health issues, especially if a person already has health concerns. For instance, people living with coronary artery disease may find themselves in a worse state.
The risks of developing a social isolation schema
Once it has set in, the social isolation schema makes individuals distance themselves even further from all companies cutting the remnants of social contacts there still remained. Anxiety increases, and meeting unfamiliar people and being even in a group of good pals becomes a highly trying proposition.
The condition is generally aggravated by all-permeating loneliness, which can impose itself on people’s identities and introduce unpredictable alterations. The involvement of the schema requires awareness and mindful interaction with those who are similarly affected.
Social isolation schema signs
If you suspect that the social isolation schema is something that has or is about setting in, work your way through the following questions:
- When socializing with surrounding people, do you observe a marked difference between you and them?
- Does it present a problem to get in with a group where you feel at home?
- Are there many people around who share your experiences and life’s lessons?
- Do you often regard yourself as a loner?
- Do you often feel disunited, dismissed, or estranged?
Your replies are mostly no? Then you are not well into the social isolation schema. But if you happen to be into it, become more alert and notice how it influences your lifestyle. There are sure to be patterns that hinder you – these ought to be identified and considered in terms of changing them for ones more advantageous for you.
Here are more signs you’ve developed a social isolation and alienation schema:
Any kind of social activity registers as onerous. Among friendly, agreeable people, you still feel imposed upon to act correctly and do the right things. It is an exhausting task for you.
Your real self goes unaccepted and unrecognized. You feel the urge to hide it.
In your heart of hearts you are afraid to be spurned if you show what you really are.
You cannot help comparing other people to yourself, and the comparison is always not to your credit.
You have a vociferous critical part of yourself that is at you ceaselessly.
When among people, you crave solitude, yet when you are alone you feel deserted and rejected.
What kind of remedy can be suggested to cope with social estrangement?
You have developed the belief that you are not like others. Begin with questioning this belief. You are likely to have a lot of common traits with people you know – you can make a list of qualities and contemplate which of them are conventional and which can be regarded as really very personal.
So you will end up having two lists – the traits you share and the points in which you feel different. Use the second list to locate others who have the same or similar qualities.
Your estrangement from others may be the result of habitually thinking negatively about yourself. Identify negative thoughts and consider them carefully.
When the critic inside you awakes, talk him down, taking a positive attitude toward yourself.
Being among people triggers anxiety? Address ways and means to hold anxiety in check. Use these techniques and practice them, proving to yourself that social interaction is much easier than you believed.
Go over your past. Your background is likely to contain enough instances when you were alienated from a group or given to understand that you are different and unfit. You may have been dismissed repeatedly by your parents who wanted you to live up to their expectations or your classmates happened to take a dislike to you for some reason or other.
See how your viewpoint can be readjusted. Read your life story as if it were another person’s, or as if it were somebody’s novel, trying to get an outside look at things. Analyze the treatment of the main character – in what way it was justified, in what way it was unjust?
This approach may bring you a few helpful insights. Having decided on the justice (or injustice) of the situation at issue, draw your conclusions. Have you identified some personal traits that interfere with your self-expression? Maybe you can get rid of them or change them around so they are not perceived so objectionably by others.
Now you have some facts to browse upon. Pose questions like: “What kind of person I really am?” “The people around me, are they supportive? Or should I go looking for a different set who will be more like myself?”
Train yourself to acquire some social skills for improved conversation and acting as a member of a group.
Find ways to spend more time in public. Use the techniques you have learned, see to it that you can quell your anxiety. Enter into conversations first, begin with short ones, then let them last longer.
Get busy about altering yourself. There are sure to be some people in the same boat who can supply you with insights and support. Find support from the peers you often come to contact with. In cases where you think you were mistreated for reasons of dislike or ignorance, see if you can contact these people and improve your relationship. A lot of support and advice can be received from active online groups or online psychologists.
Regarding situations that are most unwelcome for you, pick out the most manageable and unmanageable ones. Start working (by yourself or with outside support) on the easiest ones and increase difficulty gradually.
Put your newly-acquired knowledge into practice. Having taken measures to strengthen your self-esteem, locate people you feel an affinity with and get engaged with them. Arrange social activities with them. Take pains to show parts of your true self. You will find it easier to do as you enhance your social life and discover that what was once problems are now quite manageable.
Stop functioning on the assumption that people dislike you and will never like you. Show your worth and trust others to work out a realistic image of you and your abilities.