Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Living in a Box

Do you live in a box? Do you stay within narrow boundaries of what feels comfortable?

It’s interesting how we tend to fall into patterns. After my divorce, for a while I was in a very tiny space. Even when I moved into a house, for a while I lived essentially in one room of my house, a space no greater than what I had left. I had to consciously choose to move out from that room and use all the space in my house. Then, once I was used to that, I had to consciously choose to do things outside my house and expand the area that was familiar and comfortable to me.

It can feel safe to stay in the space we know. Why not keep doing so if it feels safe? Because it’s an illusion. When we stay confined to that safe space, we do not give ourselves a chance to discover new possible places to love and things to do that we will enjoy. Worse, if we are isolated from other people, we do not get a chance to challenge our perceptions about ourselves.

If we have had trouble in our past, odds are our perceptions are distorted in a negative way. Odds are we are harder on ourselves than anyone else would be and we demand more of ourselves than is reasonable. We are likely to focus on our perceived flaws instead of our strengths and accomplishments. We may have negative expectations for how other people will treat us. The only way to challenge those negative perceptions and to change them is to risk doing things we think we can’t do and open ourselves to the possibility that our perceptions are wrong. When we risk interacting with people we have never known before, we have the chance to discover that the people who said negative things to or about us may have been mistaken or we may have changed or that not all people think as they did.

So today I ask you: Are you living in a box? Are you limiting where you go and what you do and who you interact with? Take a step outside that box. Risk interacting with new people and doing new things and going new places. You may discover the world is a much nicer and more welcoming place than you thought. You may discover that even if some people didn’t like you in the past, lots of people out there will like you now.

Sending safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),


1 comment:

Marj aka Thriver said...

This is very interesting. Not only did I tend to isolate when I felt depressed or my PTSD was kicking in, but I used to get this compelling urge to dive under a desk or sit in the dark in the bathroom or a closet. I used to hide in the closet as an abused child. When I was going through the most intense part of my recovery, I had a little studio apartment that I felt safe in. But, I'm not hiding anymore! Thanks for the info. You've got some good stuff here.