Social isolation has been a part of our lives for a while, in 2020, it has become a global phenomenon. In this blog article we will dive into Understanding the Reasons for Social Isolation, sharing some insights and reflections. If you thought this was a unique time of social isolation, I can assure you that it is not. For so many, it’s an everyday reality, it is time we start being more aware of it.
Reasons for social isolation
Contagious sickness. Prevention is what currently keeps many people at home and, as a result, socially isolated. Not everyone takes it easy, to say the least. I hope this special time teaches us that if you are sick, you better stay home. Every year, many people go to social places with colds, flu, and viruses, resulting in many other people getting sick. Quarantine is a good thing when there is a contagious sickness. Stay home.
Location. Homesteaders and farmers often live so remotely that social isolation happens naturally, especially during winter. Sadly, though, big cities often have the same problem. They are not too far; they are too close to each other. Being constantly surrounded by strangers has the effect that we remove ourselves and isolate ourselves.
Culture and language barrier. We are immigrants children of immigrants for as long as we can trace back our lineage. People who have no idea what that is like are often rude to foreigners, telling them to go home. However, not everyone has a home. Even a DNA test did not bring back much clarity in our case. We are children of this world. Even though I speak three languages and a dialect fluently, I would have a hard time telling you which one is my mother tongue. I started multilingually. As someone who speaks different languages, I know that language is not just words, in fact, to really communicate and connect with people you have to know the culture. Cultural differences are a significant cause of social distancing.
Mental health and neurodivergence. Neurotypical people are often not aware of how many of us have some mental disorder or disability. Not everyone that looks normal also feels like everyone else. It is assumed that at least every 1 in 100 people are on an autistic spectrum, and that does not include the dark number. If your community has 1000 people, you can assume that 10 of them are affected. And that’s just one of many disorders. We have created a world that is often too loud, too busy, and too socially complex to be enjoyed by those with neurodivergence. Maybe your lonely neighbor next door is not weird; he is just not neurotypical.
Social Isolation is an opportunity
Being socially isolated is neither good nor bad in itself; what you make out of it counts. If you spend time alone to be miserable, lonely, needy, and whiny, then social isolation will negatively affect you. But all of this has nothing to do with the fact that you are alone, but alone time points out more clearly your attitude.
See social isolation as an opportunity to grow and evolve as a person. It looks like all great people in history went through some social isolation. Don’t waste that precious time, if it is your situation right now.
If social isolation is temporary, see it as a project that you have to accomplish. Don’t be a victim; this is your opportunity to experience and learn a new skill.
Social isolation might also be your long-term situation. Many long-term socially isolated people would not even want it any other way, while others might struggle greatly. Especially if you struggle with being alone, see it as an opportunity to find out why you struggle, and maybe you should not be alone.
In any case, if you see social isolation as positive, then it can turn into something even better.
May this unique global situation lead to a better understanding of social isolation and the awareness that there are people, maybe in your neighborhood, for whom social isolation is the norm.
This blog article was first published on the NorthernHomestead blog. Part two is titled Making the Most of Social Isolation: Opportunities for Personal Growth and Connection.