I’ve often wondered who’s fault it is when someone is feeling left out. Watching children play exposes some interesting social dynamics. They are not trying to be anything, they are just themselves. So why do some get left out? And whose responsibility is it to rectify the situation?
There are times for sure when someone is being deliberately excluded and it can be pretty hurtful to be on the receiving end of that. But I think a lot of the time we feel left out because we fail to engage. Did you do everything possible to contribute? Did you make it known that you wanted to be part of it?
Sometimes I think we expect others to be mind readers and to know what we think or want. Yes, it is true that it can be scary and make you feel vulnerable to make your needs known and to risk rejection. Having done the values exercise in Tony Robbins’ book Awaken the Giant Within, I discovered that some of my ‘moving away’ values are humiliation and rejection. Could I be missing out on some life-changing activities by avoiding them? Possibly.
If you were truly made to feel unwelcome, perhaps it’s not the thing for you. In this world full of opportunities and options, there are more than enough avenues to achieve what you want to achieve. Respect yourself enough to know that there is a place for you to contribute and to be accepted. I’m finding that as I become interested in things, opportunities keep emerging. Currently, I’m exploring creativity and how it helps me recover. I’m finding that people are sending me art class and workshop invitations regularly. If you are open to things and are willing to put yourself out there, you find that more doors tend to open for you.
Vulnerability can be the source of great growth and joy if we allow ourselves to take the risk. Take a look at this TED talk on the subject. As adults my feeling is that it’s our own responsibility to make ourselves part of the dynamic. Being an introvert makes it a lot harder to assert your needs but if it’s really something you believe in and something you want to be part of, involve yourself. Why are you waiting for an invitation? Most people are too busy living their lives and dealing with their own problems to worry about whether you’re feeling included.
I see many people living in fear. Fear of being judged, fear of the unknown or fear of putting themselves out there. Fear of speaking up for what they want. I say, nothing ventured, nothing gained. You would only have yourself to blame if you didn’t experience something new.
I’m certainly exploring creativity in ways that I’ve never tried before. And it can be a little daunting at times. But I’m enjoying it and it might become a way for me to restore myself to full health and find my true sense of self that has been diluted by meeting everyone else’s needs for too long. As part of this journey I’ve learned that you can grow as a person if you stretch yourself a little. I don’t want to be living in a cage and afraid to speak up about what I want. And if I have to make myself vulnerable to speak my truth, that’s what I’ll do.