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‘Protecting my peace’ - a modern-day recipe for isolation

There seems to be a bit of a cultural movement emerging, I’ve noticed, which is rooted in that much-peddled idea of ‘protecting your peace.’


It involves, in part, exercising ever-more ruthless selectivity when it comes to friendships, relationships, jobs and interactions in general.


What this manifests as, in the main, is social cherrypicking, the likes of which is fast becoming a badge of honour on social media - mores the pity!


From where I stand, those who are buying into this trend in the name of self-development, are failing to understand two key problems with the approach.


The first, is the very real risk of isolation it comes with (there has been many reels being made, around the reality of ‘I preserved my peace so much that my only remaining friend is my mum’)


The second problem, is that it strips our social diet of the balance, variety and moderation that personal betterment depends upon.


If you ask me, ‘protecting my peace’ is a recipe for intolerance, self-absorption and ultimately loneliness, if ever there was one.


Granted, there is something in the idea of choosing one’s company, career and life choices wisely. This might look like minimising exposure to people, places and things which don’t necessarily spark joy, per se, but maybe not to the extent being mandated by today’s self-care gospel.


After all, sometimes there is long-term gain, in short term ‘pain.’


It’s the age-old science of ‘grin and bear it!’


‘Just suck it up.’


‘Put on a brave face!’


These once popular expressions, are losing currency in this age of peace-preservation.


Some would argue that this can only be a good thing, since there is inevitably a cost to mental wellness, when prioritising politeness, expectation and responsibility over personal comfort.


However, eradicating all sources of ‘noise’ (the sturm und drang of work, friendships and other) is not the magic bullet for ‘peace’ that its purported to be.


One of the reasons for this, if that it lulls its advocates in a false sense of reality, whilst inadvertently over-feeding them a diet of their own supposed specialness.


As a result, an appreciation for the normalcy of contrast and imperfection in all things - Jobs. People. Friends. Romantic partners - is lost, leaving a person ill prepared for a world which, by its very nature, is nuanced.


My worry also, is that ‘preserving my peace’  also threatens to corrupt the art of compromise and forgiveness (as to do so is deemed a direct hit on personal capital) and all the life-enriching opportunities that flow from it.


There is then, of course, the collateral damage of this tunnel-visioned trend.


The people whose self-esteem is irrevocably damaged, for the fact that common courtesy is no longer as important as ‘owning your truth’ and enforcing personal boundaries.


By way of an example, there’s a movement towards simply walking out of dates, interviews, jobs and situations when the ‘energy’ is off. In so doing, opportunities for stress-testing become few and between… and this is to our detriment.


A better approach perhaps, would be one which concedes perfection is a myth, variety is the spice of life, resistance is character building and ‘peace’ …. it’s not so much a panacea, as it is a palliative!

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