Feeling left out is normal

Some feelings don't grow up even though people do.

I can remember my so-called friends in a very subtle way making me feel left out in elementary school. And my mom's way of helping me get through this was to get me the American Girl book, "Friendship Troubles."

I remember going through that book and checking off the boxes of not feeling good enough, something my heart could feel but my brain could yet process.

Today, as I was babysitting I sat down next to a girl who was about eight years old and talked to her about why she was suddenly so sad. She told me that she felt left out and she just didn't understand why. She didn't understand why she wasn't included and she didn't like that she was sad.

I looked at her and told her that I was very sorry that she felt sad, but that it didn't mean that she was any less of a person for it. That she was still the great person that she is and that the friends that love her know her to be. Minutes later, she decided she wanted to go play again so she ran off, and most likely didn't focus a whole lot on the words that I was saying to her.

The point is, the feeling that she had is the same feeling that so many of us feel today. When you're in your large lecture hall and you see a group of bubbly sorority girls exchange plans together and beam at each other as if they've been in each other's lives for years, when you walk on campus and can see that there are so many groups of friends that look like they are having the time of their lives together, when you're with a group of friends, but somehow you feel invisible. You feel like you could slip out at a moment and not one person would look up and notice. You feel excluded, uninvited, denied.

So what do we do when we feel these things? When we were kids, we could shove those feelings in the back of our minds and go do something else to distract us, which is what we could also do now. Instead, we need to process these feelings. Remind yourself that you are who you are for a reason. God created you to be, well, YOU! Just because you aren't surrounded by a huge group of people doesn't mean you don't have any friends. And just because you sit by yourself in a big lecture hall doesn't mean you are any less of a social butterfly.

There are times where feeling left out can hurt more than others, I get it. But to keep ourselves from digging into the bottomless pit of despair, we have to remind ourselves the truth of who we are. When we remind ourselves of this truth we are able to take those lies that are circling in our head and stomp on them instead.

So the next time you feel these feelings, don't feel ashamed. Let your feelings be validated, but don't sulk in then. Build yourself up, and find others that will build you up when you are too tired to do it yourself.

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