[ From DailyOM ]
There are times in our lives when withdrawing from our social obligations and taking some time to be alone is necessary to rejuvenate our energy and renew our connection to ourselves. However, there are also times when withdrawal is a red flag, indicating an underlying sense of depression or some other problem. We may not even have consciously decided to isolate ourselves but wake up one day to find that we have been spending most of our time alone. Perhaps it’s been a long time since friends who used to call have given up. Without anyone inviting us out, we sink deeper into alienation.
The longer our isolation lasts, the harder it becomes to reach out to people. It is as if we have failed to exercise a particular muscle, and now it is so weak we don’t know how to use it. Yet, in order to return to a healthy, balanced state of being, that’s exactly what we need to do. If you find yourself in this situation, call an understanding friend who will listen to you with compassion, not a defensive friend who may have taken your withdrawal personally. The last thing you need is to be chided; a negative response could intensity your isolation. If you don’t have a kind friend you can rely on, call a spiritual counselor or therapist. They may be able to help you determine the underlying cause of your isolation and help you find your way out of it.
When you’ve been in a pattern of secluding yourself, it can begin to seem impossible that you could reenter the world of friendships, conversations, and group activities, but with time, you will. Most people will understand if you take the time to explain that you’ve fallen out of touch and would like to reconnect. Take your time and be gentle with yourself, starting with one person and building from there. Try to reach out to one new person every week. Before you know it, you will find yourself back in the company of friends.