How to Feel Better When You Feel Left Out

Feeling left out

Updated Mar 23, 2020 @ 4:42 pm

By Beth Lipton

You have healthy-living goals, and you work hard to keep up your good habits. You work out, you eat well, you try to get enough sleep. But even the most dedicated among us have stretches where life gets in the way and our healthy lifestyles fall off, or our usual approach to life’s challenges isn’t as optimal as we intended, or stuff just goes wrong. In this series, we ask experts in different disciplines for their recommendations for dealing with these hiccups and getting back on track.

Imagine checking your friend’s Insta, and finding that she and a whole group of your friends had an amazing night out… without you. Maybe it was a simple oversight that you weren’t on the group email, maybe there’s something else going on—either way, it hurts. Now what? We asked experts to share their best advice.

What a Functional Nutrition and Lifestyle Expert Says, Elisa Haggarty

Humans are social beings and friends can help nurture you back to health during your roughest days. If you find out that you’ve been left out of a friend event, I recommend doing three things:

  • Embrace radical candor. Radical candor is the art of caring deeply and challenging directly. Clearly communicate how being left out made you feel and directly ask the question you want the answer to. You may even give them the benefit of the doubt and say, “We have been friends for a while and I would have loved to attend the dinner party. Was there a specific reason I wasn’t invited?”
  • Feel what you feel—don’t repress. In the wild, animals let their emotions out. Cats hiss when angry, dogs bark when scared, and we should be no different. So, feel in your body what hurts, aches and/or buzzes with anxiety when things like this happen and find a space to express that emotion.
  • Surf the wave. In neuroscience, they’ve found that emotions rise and fall away in seconds and have, at the maximum, a 90-second window of time they can be felt in the body. When emotions last more than 90 seconds, it’s because we are believing and fueling the inner narrative that is keeping them going. Surfing the wave of emotions allows you to feel them arise on your body, breathe deeply into them and drop the storyline. When you do this, they dissipate quickly.

What a Clinical Psychologist Says, Michael Brustein

I’ve found that people who distance themselves from others don’t realize that their behavior is putting up a wall and pushing people away. Look at how you may contribute to turning people away. Are you contributing to the issue?

What a Sophro-analyst Says, Florian Fructuoso

[Sophro-analysis blends psychotherapy with meditation, breathing, and other relaxation processes to help clients soothe emotional trauma, work through limiting beliefs and adjust behaviors that have arisen from both.]

  • First of all, breathe and move through these emotions of disappointment/sadness. They are not bad emotions unless they get stuck, so let them move inside of you and then out. Take a few deep breaths and imagine you’re blowing out a dark cloud of smoke. Then, if it’s not enough, play a song that you know will help you release more of these unpleasant feelings and let your body move freely. (“Smells Like Teen Spirit” works well for me.)
  • Don’t hesitate to vocalize your emotions and share them with the friends in question. Without blaming or accusing, ask why did that happen, neutrally admit that it creates disappointment in you, but in a very calm and non-attacking way. You might be surprised by their answers, and you could find that some negative emotions came from non-accurate assumptions.
  • Finally, practice enjoying alone time. Hang out with yourself, take yourself on a walk, to the park, the movies, whatever you enjoy, and be aware of how beautiful everything is around you when you can only focus on the way you look at it.

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