There’s a chapter in Robert Greene’s famous book The 48 Laws of Power that says the following:
“Do not build fortresses to protect yourself – isolation is dangerous.” (Law #18)
His main point was that putting a fortress around yourself limits your access to information, knowledge and new experiences. We’ve been taught from a young age that information is power. Experience is the best teacher.
Yet in this day in age (2015 is the year I’m writing this post) many of us choose to box ourselves in and separate ourselves from the rest of the world.
I believe that our wide access to the internet, social media and countless ways to watch tv (Netflix, cable, Hulu, Youtube) has made it much easier to build these personal “fortresses” and refuse to let others in. All you have to do is get under the covers, turn on a movie and get lost in someone else’s world until you fall asleep. The urge to get out and have contact with others diminishes more and more over time.
Shielding Yourself from Being Hurt Again
I know all about how easy it is to start boxing yourself in. It often comes from a deep seeded need to shield yourself from being hurt after being hurt SO many times in your life. So many people have offended, disappointed and betrayed you that you begin to believe the whole world is out to get you.
And that’s not a healthy place to be if you want to thrive in life. You can’t be empowered when you’re in complete isolation.
Human beings have an innate desire for purpose. Deep down we all want to be useful, necessary and important in this world. And it’s hard to do that when you choose to separate yourself from others.
You need contact with other souls in order to be healthy, wealthy and wise. How can you learn and grow if your only contact with other people is the fake, manufactured personas that you see on television or the internet? How will you ever have a chance to come in contact with a soul mate if you cut the world off and box yourself in forever?
Offenses Will Come
Like someone wise once said, there will always be offenses to contend with in life. There will always be that someone who gets on your nerves. There will be that girl at the department store who tosses you an attitude, or a family member who brings up something hurtful to try to bring you down.
But that’s a part of life, and more importantly it’s not what happens to you in life, it’s how you choose to react to it. That’s what makes all the difference when dealing with others.
When you get back out there into the world and someone offends you, you have to think about the proper reaction in order to stay empowered.
When the girl at the department store gives you an attitude, just smile or laugh and tell her to have a good day anyway. When your family member comes to you with that same old story, this time laugh and make light of it. They only bring it up because they know it irks you, and they crave that negative reaction from you.
When others offend you, don’t join them in their misery.
Getting Back Out There
Here are some ideas to help you start coming down from your ivory tower:
– Go to Meetup.com, choose a group and randomly go to an event near you. You can go alone (make sure it’s a safe, public location). Go with a positive attitude and smile a lot.
– Join a cooking or painting class. Look for an “intimate” class of about 10 people where you’re almost guaranteed to have to speak to someone.
– Go to an adult learning class that will pique your interest, such as starting a business or managing your money. Ask plenty of questions and become the teacher’s “pet.”
– Wave hello to a friendly neighbor once in a while and smile at people you see when in town. 8 times out of 10 they will smile back. There’s a powerful energy exchange going on there–soak it in as much as possible.
Start with these ideas and use them to fuel more inspirations for how to rejoin the world. In exploring your interests (known and new) you will start to feel yourself coming out of that box and back into a place of power.
Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a book of life and love advice for women entitled Why Doesn’t He Love Me? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.