This is an important post.
We *are* social animals. Where you happen to fall on that spectrum will range, but we are social creatures. Isolation is damaging. Erecting, learning about, and honoring your boundaries is useful. The two are not the same thing.
Until I was able to seek medical help for my depression, living more or less in a bubble of ignorance was necessary. I’m not going to knock people for knowing their limitations and honoring their needs by not picking up the battles I choose to pick up. Getting myself to a place where I could hold the suffering and needs of others in my awareness without being dragged back into apathy took a long time and a lot of work. I’m not going to sully that work by doubting myself. We all do the best that we can do at any given time, and that’s got to be enough. We’re not perfect. We can’t be. We fuck up. Whatever.
Self-imposed bubbles of willful ignorance are still, even at their most cushiony, must bubble-wrappy point, not isolation.
This is a very important, very needed post. Thank you, Ember.
I keep running across a particular narrative online, and occasionally in person:
“There are bad things in the world. Isolate yourself to avoid harm!”
“Other people don’t agree with you. Isolate yourself to avoid being tainted by them!”
“Anything unapproved of is a waste of time. Isolate yourself to focus on what matters!”
“You’re too sensitive. Isolate yourself and get out of our way!”
“You lack social skills. Isolate yourself to avoid hurting people!”
“Something is wrong. Isolate yourself!”
Isolation is toxic. It is literally maddening. We are social animals. Granted, not everyone is equally social, but even introverts aren’t better off being totally isolated. Avoiding perspectives other than our own undermines our empathy, which is a necessary component of compassion. Isolation certainly doesn’t help people become less sensitive or more socially skilled, but I would hope that’s obvious. Basically, isolation can transform even the kindest…
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