isolation – don't know how to get out of it

Home→Forums→Emotional Mastery→isolation – don't know how to get out of it

New Reply
Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • Author
  • #73810

    I’m reading the blogposts and forumposts on Tinybuddha now and then, and now also would like to tell a part of my story, hoping that anyone has some suggestions, ideas..

    I have been unhappy for most of my life. Did a lot of effort to change it but i feel that only recently i’m starting to understand in what way i have to work to get better. And I think i’m on a good path with trying to learn to love myself, creating more positive thought patterns, trying to learn new things, exercise more, practising self-compassion and mindfulness, smiling more.. I am coming a long way so i think that i have to give myself time to change all of this, to create new new habits of being positive and relaxed instead of all the negativity that i was in and kept creating for so many years. So, that is good, it is rewarding to see myself learning to be more positive and learning to give myself a little bit of space to breathe, little by little. It is also difficult because of course, things don’t change as quickly as i’d like it and it can be hard work.

    But i feel i’m a bit stuck with this evolution. I live very isolated, there’s barely anybody that i know personally and where i feel comfortable with and can relax with. And i try to tell myself, that it will come when i’m getting better. But i’m starting to feel that this isolation is keeping me down, that i need other people to keep evolving. I am not a little island as a human being, of course. We get to know ourselves by communicating with others, we create meaning in our life by interacting with, caring for and giving to others – which has always been a high (too high) value in my life – and i guess, learning to receive as well, which is very hard for me.
    I have never been good with contact with other people, making friends, because of my extremely negative self-esteem, shyness..
    About 2 years ago i moved to an other country, and now i’m living here in a town where it’s very sociable, everybody knows each other and everybody does cool things together, a lot of hippies. For me, i think there are a lot of lovely, interesting people here and a lot of great things happening. But i am not a part of it. My room is the main place for me, and me social anxiety is keeping me out of everywhere. I don’t know what to say to people and i don’t know how to act, so i avoid most social situations.
    I have slowly starting to go to some workshops and talks now and then in this town and the nearby city, but can’t go too much because it all costs money. And i know it is very important to do things, and they do give me energy – i guess it’s all about making little steps, not expecting too much immediately -, it is also hard for me, because it is each time investing, meeting people and not knowing how to act, i do my best but it is very stressful for me.

    I think i’m quite good with being alone, and i have a lot of experience with it. But i feel it’s getting too much now and trying to make me depressed again. The main person i have contact with is my partner, we have a long-distance relation since 2 years. But i’m always full of worry about not being good enough for him, and being too boring and all that. I feel that the fact that i’m alone the whole time is making that much worse – i have the whole day to be worrying about it, and i don’t have any experiences with people, friends, where i see that there are people who like me.
    I’m sometimes so longing to have a few people to feel at home with, people where i don’t have to put on a mask, where i can relax and talk, laugh or whine or whatever. Just some people where i don’t have to be afraid that ‘i have to prove myself or i am not good enough’. And contact with other people also keep things moving, you get new ideas and impulses from each other, where now i’m feeling more and more stuck, like i’m most of the time running in the same little circle – which is adding to the fact that i’m feeling boring for my partner..

    Also, when i read these articles about how to live a happy life, like on tinybuddha and others, often they say that it is important to do things for other people, to be kind to others. And i do believe that that is important and i like giving to others – in my life i often was doing voluntary work of some kind because i like to help and to give to the world.
    So this is an aspect i’m becoming very aware of: to have a social network, to have ‘relations’ in whatever sense of the word, where you are able to express yourself, and to have the change to do good for them (yes and i will have to learn to accept other people doing things for me). That is something huge missing in my life.
    I was quite fine with it for a long time, thinking because i totally didn’t know myself anymore, that it was good to spend some time alone instead of all this fakeness. Maybe that was right, maybe that was my social anxiety who was making up excuses, i don’t know.

    But this situation is not healthy for me, and it is not helping in the way that i’m trying to work on now with my life: becoming happy and becoming a more loving, capable person.

    Sorry this wasn’t meant to be so long and i don’t know if it sounds a bit unclear.
    I often read helpful posts here, and i must say, i’m feeling a bit guilty by writing my story and taking the time of people, but i decided i do need to reach out more and try to change this.

    Shawn Nash

    I suggest that you go for cognitive behavorial therapy!
    If I can help in anyway, please let me know.


    😀 Hello, I already think you are doing pretty good because it seems like you are aware of your problem and are already actively working to make it better! Dont feel guilt ;3 everyone is worth their words, and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Feeling guilty is a gross road that you probably know is not fun to walk on. bla! I struggle with self-esteem a lot too and if there is one tip I can offer on trying to get rid of bad self-esteem is to just get rid of “self-esteem” in general. It sounds really dumb when you say it to yourself but think about what it implies 😀 You’re already on a mission for growth and evolution, seeking out experiences and people. When getting rid of that sense of needing to have a certain mask to the people around you, you start to truly live to please what goals you are setting out for yourself! Just think that if people care-why should you?! It may sound selfish to do and I’ve never been able to get it in words without it sounding so harsh, but honestly the most important person in your life is you-it’s where all your perceptions and experience make up in the first place, and as crazy as it sounds-when you start living for yourself and being happy, people are naturally attracted to you because of how happy you are 😀 I don’t want to say you become more “confident”, but it’s similar in the way that you do not care if you mess up, because you are just working on your own way, and other people are not your “own way”. You have to be authentic 😀 If you are acting authentic, then you will probably attracted people that authentically like you, no games and no masks! And if they don’t authenticaly like you-then don’t take it as a blow to YOURSELF ever! It may seem sad, but not everyone will get along swimmingly, it does not mean that you are a jerk, or they are a jerk inhearantly, it just means you probably don’t offer each other a way to grow. it’s equally as important to remember that is completely ok as it is important to make relationships that will help you grow if you struggle with shyness and self-esteem. The main thing you want to remember is to just give up stressing what other people may think about you, and start living for you, when I did that I saw amazing changes in my life-I’m talking from personal experience here, people who I was terrified of before actually became good friends and I lived with little fear of other people-and I would just love for everyone to do the same 😀 I hope this can help somehow, I’m also pretty shy and very nervouse to comment here 😡


    I wish I had some advice to give but it sounds like you’re doing everything right. Keep going out to workshops, talks, classes, groups, and all that stuff. Keep working on bringing hope, patience and positive feelings and actions into your mind and your life, keep reaching out with compassion for yourself and for how hard it is.

    It sounds like you’ve come a long way, and if you continue, you will find that interacting with people becomes easier as you practice and learn there’s no need to be anxious. Just embrace that you’re a bit socially awkward. It’s very common and if you’re honest about it, you may find there are plenty of people who want to help you with it.

    Good luck and believe your work will pay off. Keep on the path.


    Thank you all for your kind words.
    Sorry for replying so late, that’s not very nice, i was trying a few times to reply, but even with writing i get blocked and don’t know what to say, if they are the right words…

    , what exactly is cognitive behavorial therapy?
    I had, and am still working with dialectical behavorial therapy, which i think can help me but it seems to go very, very slow..

    , I don’t know if i understand everything you wrote, i will reread it now and then, maybe it becomes more clear.
    I have also recently become more aware that the most important thing i need to do, is to be happy myself, and to do the things i like. So i’m trying to spend more time on those things, which is very difficult for me. I’m good at spending my time at doing useless work, or wasting my time, but to use my time on doing things that i enjoy, that i want to learn, that seems to be very hard. But i keep trying. I am starting to rent a little allotment garden, because i’ve always wanted to grow my own vegetables and don’t know anything about it. At the moment there is a lot of endless work with weeding, so i’m spending time on that. I’m going swimming again and trying to read more again, and other things. But i’m still slipping in my old habit very easily, of doing all other things and not to spend time and these things that i like.
    And, although, even when i do some of those things, i’m not getting instantly happy. I guess i can not expect for such old patterns, to change immediately.

    What you say, about acting authentic, i seem to have completely forgetten that. Most of the time i seem to be playing some little silly type, or hiding myself because i’m afraid of speaking up for myself. I hope i will find that back how to ‘act authentic’ because i have no idea how to do that.

    I find it very encouraging that you became friends with people you were terrified of. I live in a small, sociable town and i’m thinking that one day i want to move somewhere else, because i’m afraid and paranoid of nearly everybody (without any reason for it), that i want to make a new start somewhere (which is escaping-behaviour, not very good) So it is nice to read that it can go differently.

    , yes the problem at the moment is that financially i can’t go to these events. I will start working next month and until then i have to be very careful with my money. When i’ll be working, i’m afraid i’ll be tired the whole time. I went a few times already to help, and it is hard for me, i don’t seem to be fit or physical enough, but i was completely tired.
    Yes, i do come a long way! With social interaction and with myself, i tend to forget that when i get focused on what is not working right now. It is scary that these states can come back very easily (eg i struggle a lot with self-hatred, and this can come back suddenly, very explosive, like i hadn’t had in years0, i guess that is a sign that i’m not looking after myself well enough yet.

    I find it very hard to, like you say, embrace that i’m socially awkward, but i guess you are right. Now i’m expecting from myself to behave like a ‘perfect’ person, say the right things, have the right body-posture… Well, that’s not fun for me and why would other people want to get to know somebody who is obviously full of tension and acting? Only, it is difficult to get rid of this pattern, it keeps happening. I don’t know how to relax around other people and i even stop thinking when i’m around others.

    Bronte C

    Hi Sann!

    I understand that you feel alone and frustrated even in the midst of so many people.

    I also understand that it often takes money to join groups or attend therapy.

    What you are looking for is love. (Not just romantically speaking). And the easiest way to bring that into your life is to give it. Have you ever noticed that you never feel lonely when you are helping someone else?

    VOLUNTEER for a local nonprofit group. It’s free. You will automatically be surrounded by people who share something in common with you – the desire to help others.

    Wishing you Happiness!!,


    Hello Sann!!

    I think, over the years you have created very complicated thought patterns about youself and the world surrounding you. Why not take a break and look at the things as the way they are without forming any judgement or opinion about them. I think you need to practice to look at youself and the external world in a non-judgemental manner without forming any pre-conceived notion about them.
    You should engage with surrounding people, but at the same time you should not attach any mental image to them. Just think that you are a good-natured person who is interacting with this external world with all his/her capacity. Don’t create your own image in your mind about what other person might be thinking about you. Because we can’t read other people’s mind. Only thing that we can do is try to be a good person to everyone (including our own self), because We don’t have much control over what other person might think about us.
    And I think you are already a good person but you are trying really very hard to change youself and build new habits. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and just take it step by step as you’ve mentioned in your first paragraph, but without forming any opinion about yourself and others.

    If possible take a look at “Vipassana” Insight meditation. This meditation technique can break any complicated thought patterns if practised with perseverance and patience, and has ability to change behaviour of a person in a positive manner, and hence you don’t have to force anything upon yourself. Just find out about it on the internet. There are centres all over the world conducting courses in “Vipassana” meditation. You can easily find out the centre nearest to your locality.

    My Good Wishes are with you!!


    I concur about giving love and kindness to other people, even thinking about strangers when out in public. Rather than having a black or white view of people, I find myself seeing them in a more compassionate way. Everyone has their own good qualities, so for example if someone is disorganised, I don’t think they are a ‘bad’ person. People who tend to judge others often judge themselves a lot, so this is always good to keep in mind. But with a more compassionate view of other people, you’ll find a sense of peace within yourself.


    Thank you for your replies and advices.

    Brontec, i agree with you that volunteering and helping others is a very good thing and help create positive feelings within yourself as well.
    I have done a lot of volunteering, most time in my life i was volunteering in some way, when i could. The thing is, to do it now, in many cases it would cost money because i live in a small town and not many options here.
    I was considering to look for a place to volunteer again, but i’ll start a new job soon, very physical work which left me very tired after my first trial days. Besides that a few little projects of my own, so it would be hard. I hope that after a while i will get used to the work and can find the time and energy to go volunteering again. Because this is something very valuable in my life anyway. Thank you for the suggestion and reminder 🙂

    , yes your are right what you say about the complicated thought patterns! I didn’t even know that that was clear out of my posts here. I have made very complicated and stupid (negative) thought patterns in my head and be keeping repeating them, i made it so that i totally believe them. Now i’m starting to understand that these are just beliefs that i’ve put on myself, but it takes a lot of time to not be so attached to it anymore. At least the motivation is there now.

    And, Vipassana! I went for the first time last year, did 2 10-day courses already (too close after each other, not very smart) and i love it! Doing my best to practice it at home, like you say, you need to be patient and persistent. I am very grateful to have found this because i can see that on the long run it can help me in quite a few ways. Definitely will go back, but to serve and to sit, but right now, i think the main thing is to keep practising it at home.

    Yes, accepting myself is something unthinkable for me, instead trying to change myself in every way, most of the times when i say or do something, criticising myself and telling myself it should be different.. that doesn’t help.
    Thank you for your kind words.

    , yes i think i can be judgemental at times towards other people. And i have noticed, that it usually happens when i’m judging myself extra hard, when i’m not feeling well or forcing myself again to keep going while i’m exhausted.. So kindness towards oneself seems to be equally important. Also, the fact that i barely talk with anyone, keeps me in this isolation that tends to make me think in black or white.
    I was wondering what you mean with giving love and kindness to strangers on the street. I try to smile and say hello to people on the street often – but i think you are more talking about intention? Seeing people you don’t know and feeling compassion for them, noticing your own judgements and practice being unjudgemental?
    Thank you for your words, i will keep them in mind.


    hi @Sann,

    It’s really great to hear that you have already attended Vipassana courses, and you really seem to like it. It means that you are already one step closer to the solution of your problems. Only thing is that one has to keep on practising it daily for two hours. It’s just like giving daily dose of medicine to our mind. In everyday normally we meet variety of people, and by interacting with them we create both positive and negative thoughts. But if we do Vipassana daily then we automatically develope some kind of resistance to these negative thoughts. And this resistance power to negative thoughts increases as we become more and more mature in Vipassana.

    If you haven’t practised Vipassana at home since long time, then I will advice you to go for one more 10-day course again and after that start practising at home regularly twice a day. Because, if one will start doing Vipassana after a long gap at home, then there is high probabilty that one might be flooded with all sorts of thoughts and for some people it may be very troublesome. Therefore, after a long gap, I think it’s necessary to charge our batteries by attending one 10-day Vipassana course, after that we should continue our practice at home atleast for 3-4 months regularly to see the observable changes to our mind.

    And Yes , There is one more thing which is often neglected by beginner meditators and that thing is ‘motivation’. One also needs some motivation periodically to do meditation regularly. For that you can read books or have talk with fellow meditators in your locality. Here is a link to one book on Vipassna – “http://store.pariyatti.org/Karma-and-Chaos–PDF-eBook_p_2565.html”. At “http://www.pariyatti.org/” you can find mutiple resources that can boost your confidence in Vipassana. There is also one blog – “http://livingvipassana.com/”, where meditators share their experiences about Vipassana regularly, and it also helps fellow meditators in maintaining continuity of practice in Vipassana.

    I hope this will help you in restarting practice of Vipssana.
    I know you are going to get out of your problems very soon.
    My Best Wishes To You!!


    Hi Sann 😀 This is my first post here after finding this website today. Today was a terrible day for me for exactly the reasons you are describing here. I have suffered all of my life from social anxiety and isolation. I’ve created some extremely complicated and negative thought patterns which I really would love to change and sometimes I seem to be getting it and then *boom* I have days like today where everything comes closing in on me again. I described it to my husband as feeling like I’m a pile of sludge, glued to the bottom of the lowest part of existence and the weight is so great that I can’t even lift a finger to reach up towards something more. Pretty full on stuff, that is, to carry around every day

    I just wanted you to know that you are not alone and to thank you for posting your feelings and experiences here because I have been feeling like I am the only one who experiences these mind patterns and emotions and although I am not happy that you too experience these, I am happy that I finally feel not so alone (I hope that makes sense!)

    I wish you all the best for today, tomorrow and every day and I know you will find your tribe.



    Your story resonates with me completely. I have suffered with the same issues you listed in your post for my entire life. I, too, am trying to work on some of these issues and it is not an easy road. Some days better than others. I look at self improvement as a two steps forward, one step back proposition. There are times where I get on a spiritual/self improvement path for several months and then fall off of it for a few months without even realizing it until something wakes me up and gets me back on the path. But I find that when I start back again, I am not starting from zero. All of the books I have read, videos I have watched, downloads I have listened to as well as the previous practice of meditation, etc. stay with you and are a foundation on which to build. Of all of the books that I have read, Eckart Tolle’s Power of Now and A New Heaven and A New Earth have had the greatest impact on me. If you really start absorbing the notion that in the present moment we have all that we need, it revolutionizes your thought process and your life. It is a simple notion, but not easy to put into practice but as time goes by, I find that you really can shift your thoughts and perspective 180 degrees in an instant. I try to look at others as unique artistic pieces of God with the same fears, thoughts, hopes and heartaches that I experience. In reality you and the other spirits inhabiting human forms on this planet are one and the same. Pinches of the same God consciousness manifested into human form. So you are really interacting with yourself when you interact with others. Many people are not aware of their higher selves and purpose so it can be challenging finding that compassion in your heart for them but always understand that others have deep pains as well and acting out on a superficial level is simply their attempt to manage that deep pain. I hope this didn’t ramble and helps out in some way. Keep on keeping on and good luck!

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Please log in OR register.