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Breaking Through Shame and Isolation to Find Self-Acceptance...Finally

This blog is going to explore why you may feel like an outcast and some ways to help yourself heal this.

Have you ever been sitting somewhere and suddenly felt like you’re very out of place? As if you didn’t belong? It can feel overwhelming. Your body is experiencing a fear response. But what causes this?

In a word - shame.

Shame is the belief that there is innately something wrong with us. Therefore, we are unlovable, unacceptable, and an outcast.

Here are reasons you may feel as though you don’t belong.

1. You have different beliefs.

If you’re amongst people with a different core belief system, you may not feel as though you belong. This can especially be true if you feel you can’t contribute to the conversation because you either don’t have anything to add or you’re afraid to oppose due to fear of being rejected. Also, you may have already decided these same people aren’t your tribe due to different beliefs.

2. You’re trying too hard.

Our greatest fear is being judged. This is why most people dread speaking in front of a crowd. They don’t want to be rejected. When we gather amongst people, even those we know and love, we carry that fear with us either consciously, subconsciously or both. This can cause us to act in a way that counters our authentic self.

3. You’ve already decided you won’t fit in.

Sometimes we make up our mind about people, or a group of people, before we give them a chance. When we do this, while we are the ones who feel judged, we are actually judging them! We do this to protect ourselves because we are perceiving a threat before one exists.

4. You were isolated as a child.

Well meaning parents can sometimes be overprotective. This can cause them to perceive the outside world as a threat thus teaching their children the same beliefs. If you were isolated, walking into a room filled with strangers is going to activate your nervous system. You also may have experienced narcissistic abuse where parents made you feel different or alone.

So, how do we start to heal these beliefs that are keeping us from developing authentic connection with others?

1. Build your self-esteem.

While this can feel like an impossible task, building our self worth isn’t as hard as it seems. Find something you love to do for fun and spend time doing it! Also, getting clear about your value system and establishing boundaries can build that self esteem muscle.

2. Heal your trauma.

Trauma is personal. It’s how we respond to an event that made us start seeing the world, or ourselves, differently. Most people shove down those extreme feelings while trying to “feel normal” or fit in. Healing those hurt feelings is a necessary component to deeper relationships. By healing your past, you can build a more comfortable experience with others.

3. Don’t fake it.

Pretending to fit in, faking happiness, and “going along” harms our self-esteem. It also increases shameful feelings. Why? Because shame loves secrets. So, if your secret is that you don’t really enjoy your current circle of “friends,” then you’re setting yourself up for further isolation.

4. Build your confidence.

Remember when I said to find something fun and do it? A great way to meet new friends is to find groups or clubs where everyone is sharing your hobby. Maybe it’s a walking club, painting, or gardening. If you can start by focusing on the love of your common interest, you’ll immediately feel a connection and your new relationships will flourish.

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