Mental Health
Jul 16, 2024

Building Bridges: Strategies for Overcoming Feelings of Exclusion

The need for connection, cooperation, and a sense of identity within social groups has been a fundamental aspect of human survival throughout our evolutionary history. Although our survival is no longer dependent on it, the feelings of exclusion can be tricky to navigate.

Remember that at some point, everyone experiences moments of exclusion, and it's a natural part of life. What can we do in those moments? Here are some strategies...

1. Self-Reflect

Engaging with our feelings in a meaningful way helps us to better understand their origins, and make informed decisions about how we want to respond.

2. Turn to our existing supports

Talk to trusted friends, family, or colleagues about your feelings. Sharing experiences with someone you trust can provide emotional support, validation, and valuable insights and alternative viewpoints that you may not have considered.

3. Seek inclusivity

Actively seek out inclusive environments and communities where you feel valued and accepted. Engaging in activities or groups that align with your interests can lead to the formation of new connections and friendships. By surrounding yourself with positive influences, you can reduce the impact of exclusionary feelings.

4. Practice self-compassion

Practice self-compassion by treating yourself with kindness and understanding. Understand that everyone experiences moments of exclusion, and it doesn't define your worth. We change over time, and friendships can become distant. Some people will not align with our beliefs or values, and that is OK. Treat yourself as you would a friend going through a similar situation, offering words of encouragement and support.

5. Get curious about your expectations

At times, feelings of exclusion can arise from unrealistic expectations. By setting realistic expectations and understanding that not every interaction will be perfect. This may help reduce the impact of disappointments and foster a more resilient mindset.

6. Go and have some fun

Pursue activities that bring you joy, excitement and fulfilment. Engaging in hobbies or activities you enjoy can serve as a positive distraction and provide a sense of purpose beyond the current situation.

7. Seek professional help if needed

If feelings of exclusion persist and significantly impact your well-being, consider seeking the assistance of a mental health professional. They can provide guidance, support, and coping strategies tailored to your specific situation.

Navigating feelings of exclusion is not about finding a place where everyone else fits, but rather discovering the strength within yourself to create spaces where you belong.

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