We all desire to belong, whether at our place of work, in our community, or to our spouses. Unfortunately, for many of us, that vital feeling of being the only person in this world is common. Some create a false sense of belonging while others try to conceal their feeling of emptiness.
So what do you do when you lack a sense of belonging in this modern world? Why do we feel that way sometimes, and does the feeling occur often?
No worries. Most people have been in these shoes before. But from such an experience, you can make sense of several things that will help you stop feeling like you don’t belong and take action to make things better.
In this post, we are going to go over the tips on how to overcome a lack of belongingness to help you make a fresh start and become a better you.
∎ If you feel this is you- “I Don’t Belong Anywhere” (Here are the 16 Tips for you) ∎
It feels lonely when you don’t know where you belong. All human beings want to belong. We all go through periods of loneliness or like we don’t fit in. It could be a short-term issue or just a feeling. At times, there could be a deeper issue that needs to be addressed.
Society tells us to be ourselves, but it’s not always as straightforward as it seems. Furthermore, what happens next when we strive to be ourselves but still don’t find someone who has the same interests?
The following tips can assist you to have a balanced outlook on life and soothe the sting of not belonging.
1. Evaluate How You See Yourself
When you feel like an alien, the feeling might or might not be influenced by facts and circumstances that surround your own life.
For instance, if you moved cities, and don’t know anyone, then you are an outsider. It can be useful to remind yourself that the feeling is temporary and that most people feel that way when they are new.
However, sometimes, it feels like we never seem to form deep bonds no matter how hard we try. That might be due to making a social faux pas, but it also comes down to low self-esteem and self-judgment. For example, if you consider yourself a “weirdo”, you may always find it hard to establish a human connection.
2. Accept What You Are Feeling
It’s normal to feel alienated from friendship groups. You might feel hurt when your close friend excludes you from her bridal party, or when your colleagues never ask you to join in on coffee talks. No matter the case, you’ll finally feel a myriad of emotions.
Taking time to acknowledge these feelings can help reduce social anxiety. To kick off, you might try breathing exercises, journaling, a calming walk through nature, and grounding exercises.
No matter what emotions bubble up, they’re completely logical. Avoid trying to shut them out because this is more likely to cause many mental health issues.
3. Don’t Be Embarrassed About The Things That Make You Happy
We all want to be happy. So treat yourself to the things that make you happy. Not everyone might have the same personal values as you. You might love watching Glee on repeat or play The Beatles when you are feeling down.
We are all unique with different personality traits, so you don’t have to apologize for doing things that keep your spirits high.
4. Apply Friendly Body Language
Body expression plays a huge role in how others relate to us. When you’re nervous, you tend to cross your arms or have a serious expression on your face, which makes you less approachable.
When relating with others, take note of how you’re holding your body. Try to relax and smile- it makes you look friendlier and approachable.
5. Avoid Making Immature Conclusions
If you tend to have some negative beliefs, you’re not alone. This thought pattern is quite common but can be detrimental to your emotional wellbeing.
Thinking about worst-case scenarios tends to increase anxiety, thus making it harder to consider valid explanations. Instead of letting fear override you, stick to reasonable thinking by considering the actual evidence.
For instance, if you feel like your friendship group no longer cares about you, look into getting proof that supports your conclusion.
Then try to get proof that they do care. If the evidence suggesting that they care overrules the former, there’s most likely more into why you feel alienated. Even if you’ve been excluded, it might just be your own thoughts.
6. Master How To Open Up
Part of fitting in is opening up and sharing about ourselves. Moreover, it’s good to be an active listener because it goes a long way in making friends.
Opening up to others can be scary, but it is part of social interaction.
When you are going through a rough time, it’s crucial to let someone you trust know. Don’t pretend to be calm when deep inside you’re burning up.
Simple conversations are good for your emotional well-being. But if it’s hard to approach someone you know, you can call a helpline or seek consultation from a mental health professional.
7. Conquer Trust Issues
To fit with others, you have to accord people a certain level of trust. Trusting others can be intimidating, especially if you’ve been hurt before. However, forgiving and trust are things you have to develop and nurture.
8. Remember What You Have To Offer
Feeling like you don’t belong can lead to a loss of self-confidence and worth. That can occur when you’ve been left out for the first time or often experience social exclusion.
Affirmations and optimistic self-talk can help rejuvenate your own happiness.
Besides, feeling more confident about your abilities, such as, having a great sense of humor or being caring can empower you to strive to create genuine connections.
9. Be More Inquisitive
Asking questions shows others that you’re interested in them. Furthermore, people love to talk about themselves, as long as they make genuine inquisitions rather than coming from a place of criticism.
Try to ask questions that are relevant to the topic of discussion and aren’t too personal. You can advance to personal questions later when you get more familiar.
10. Consider That You’re Not As Alone As You Feel
It’s easy to fall into the pit of thinking that everyone’s social life is perfect, but for whatever reason, you have no way of attaining what everyone else has.
The truth is everyone is struggling with psychological issues; they just don’t let it show.
Remember it’s easier to post about a trip one took on Facebook than to talk about how hard it has been to make rent.
So, don’t feel the pressure to compare yourself to others. You do you!
11. Get To Establish New Relationships
If you feel like your existing relationships don’t offer the emotional support or fulfillment you desire, it may be time to join a new friendship group.
People change over time, and new interests and friendships often accompany such changes. That is something you just have to accept. And the sooner you accept, the happier you’ll be.
People might still care but lack the opportunity or time to dedicate to your friendship. Beyond letting them know that you’re available when they are, there’s nothing much you can do.
The good news is you can have a deep sense of belonging by forging new relationships with people with whom you share your passion.
12. Focus on Something That Isn’t You
When you’re wrapped in your shortcomings, it might help to emphasize things that exist outside of yourself.
Volunteer at a nursing home, pet the doggies at an animal shelter or offer free guitar lessons at your music school.
Not only are you actively engaged in activities that help others, but it also reduces isolation and offers you a sense of belonging.
13. Try To Find Commonalities
People often feel connected to people who are similar to them. So if you feel like you don’t fit in, that can make you assume that no one will like you.
But the truth is, you can find something in common with the person you talk to or work with, even if it’s shared love for Korean drama films.
14. Consult a Therapist
Ongoing loneliness and lack of belongingness can lead to emotional and mental illness. If you’re struggling to deal with social rejection, it might help to talk to a therapist.
The professional will assist you to explore new approaches to communication, learn to reframe thoughts of self-criticism, challenge negative thought patterns and address mental illness issues associated with loneliness.
15. Avoid Teasing or Making Fun of Others
You may see people making fun of each other and want to participate to fit in. However, remember that bantering and teasing are fun activities, but only if you are close with someone and feel safe with them.
Otherwise, when you are trying to fit in, refrain from teasing others until you are relatively sure how they will react.
16. Remember It’s Okay Not To Have An Answer For Everything
It’s okay not to know the reason behind your sense of loneliness and lack of belonging. It’s also okay not to have the solution to all the issues in your life.
Simply take one day at a time or go through one moment at a time. Sometimes solutions come to you when you least expect them, and they often find you when you’re not spending all your time stressing about it.
☸ Reasons Why You Don’t Feel Like You Belong
The most common reason why you don’t feel like you belong is you haven’t found the right company with people with who you connect.
When you feel excluded from your family or friends, there’s this observation that they’ll never get you in the way you desire. You may try to act like them to fit in, but you can’t erase that feeling inside you that you don’t belong.
So, here are some reasons why you may feel like you don’t belong:
➣ There Are Communication Disparities
Communication is the essence of any practical friendship or relationship. So when you fail to communicate well, it can create a barrier in making you belong.
Introvert or extrovert, you need to enhance your communication skills to ensure you fit in with your community. One way or another, you need to meet others halfway.
➣ You Are Changing Or Evolving
There is nothing wrong with changing. It’s part of life and growth. So maybe you don’t feel like you belong anymore because you are evolving into someone different with different needs and ambitions than the people you once connected with.
People change, and sometimes that change causes friendships that lasted years to drift apart. If you don’t find the same conversation fruitful any longer, this can be a sign that you have grown. And it’s a good thing! Just find new and meaningful relationships.
➣ You Have Different Mindsets
It’s funny how you can just click with someone minutes after meeting them. It’s because you share mindsets and energy.
That explains why you can feel connected with someone you just met, more than someone you’ve known for a long time. When you don’t share that energy with a person, you will have issues clicking with them.
➣ Your Personality Doesn’t Rhyme With Others
It’s difficult to get along with someone when your character runs due north and theirs run due south.
Most often than not, that is the case when there are several robust personalities in a common group.
➣ You’re Going Through Mental Issues
You may be struggling to blend in because you are dealing with some mental issues. That blocks your channel from linking with others.
Getting lost in your head makes it hard for you to socialize and adjust to your environment.
➣ You Have Difficulties Adjusting
If you are unwilling to adjust and compromise a bit when you are in a new environment, it becomes difficult to blend in with others.
While you have to enforce specific boundaries, relationships need people to meet each other halfway.
➣ Your Interests Differ
Though people say that opposites attract, your similarities and common interests are what glue a friendship and relationship together.
You often feel like you don’t belong when you have different interests and ways of investing in your free time from those around you.
➣ You Don’t Listen To Others
Communication is a two-way traffic road. If you don’t listen actively to what others have to say, they may feel irrelevant to you and end up avoiding you. That causes you to feel alienated.
It’s equally an unpleasant experience to hang around people who don’t listen to you and don’t bother to understand you.
So if you want a sense of belonging, avoid making people feel irrelevant or look for a company where you feel understood.
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➣ You Have A Different Perspective
Having differing perspectives from your peers or the rest of the world makes you feel excluded.
When your views and beliefs vary from a group, it can be hard to fit in, especially when those perspectives are something you’re deeply grounded in.
➣ You Have Contrasting Priorities
It can be challenging to find a middle group for people who have dissimilar priorities.
If you have more mature priorities than your peers, it’s easy to feel like you don’t belong because your elaboration of passing time is different from theirs.
💟 Words of encouragement to get you through for not feeling you belong or being lonely 💟
On the days you feel like you just don’t blend in, here are some encouraging words to get you through.
➮ You Will Find Your Chosen People
Keep holding on. You will eventually find your tribe. One day, you will land a group of like-minded individuals who are just as quirky as you are, and everything will feel right.
Be on the lookout for them by finding opportunities to join groups such as adventure or book clubs. The more open you are to mingle with others, the more likely you are to find your tribe, and everything will feel right.
Your tribe will love and support you regardless of who you are, and you won’t feel like you don’t belong anymore.
➮ It’s Gonna Be Okay
It’s tough now, but it gets better. We all feel like we don’t belong at one point or another, but that shouldn’t deprive us of worthy friendships or relationships. It most definitely doesn’t imply you are a freak either.
Remember that every person is unique, and the world glows when we all reflect our uniqueness. So don’t strive to become someone you are not because of society, the best friends you will ever meet are the ones who appreciate you just the way you are.
➮ There Is Nothing Odd About You
You are not a freak, and you don’t need fixing because you are not broken. You don’t have to change who you are to fit in. you are perfect just the way you are.
Decide to make a list of all your awesome qualities. You can have your close friends or family help you with this exercise. You will see that there’s so much to live for and much to be happy about.
So when you are feeling low, go over the list of your great qualities or think about the things your friends have said they admire about you.
You deserve a shot at being yourself, and that means loving all the quirky and weird things that fashion you.
➮ We Are All Weirdos
Everyone is born with weird traits, but some people are so good at pretending they are not weirdos. They have learned how to tone down their light so that they can fit with everyone else.
The truth is we are all weird in our own way. We all have unique habits, interests and quirks that no one else possesses. Normal is boring! And it doesn’t exist frankly. So the next time a person tells you how weird you are, don’t take it to heart. Take it as a compliment.
➮ People Adore You
You have family and friends who love you. They don’t love you for no reason-you either have a kind heart or a funny personality or a great fashion sense.
Even the most wicked people still have a following. At the end of the day, no one is perfect, and even our closest friends can make errors. So, if you feel like the odd one out, talk to your loved ones about it.
Expressing your true feelings can help them change their behavior to make you feel included. If they sincerely love you, they will do something to show that they care.
Also, don’t forget about your pets, plants, and other support systems that rely on you too. If you’re feeling low, lean on them for TLC.
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☁ Tips on Making New Friends: to fit in or stand out ☁
We all want to feel like we belong. As you are searching for new friends, they are also looking for you, and it is our joy that you find each other!
Hang in there and see our thoughts on how you can put yourself out there to establishing new friendships.
➯ Connect With A Club Or A Social Group
One of the easiest ways to make new friends is to join clubs or social groups where you’ll bond with others over communal hobbies or interests.
There are plenty of clubs that match your interests that you can join. Book clubs, charity clubs, language clubs, study groups, recreation leagues, theatre, chess, video games, film, anime, you name it.
A club is always a natural and welcoming place to forge new friendships.
➯ Don’t Rely Too Much On Social Media
It is easy to think that everyone else has a much better life than you through what they portray on social media. They post many friends, many party gigs, and all that awesomeness going on in their lives.
But the truth Is social media always displays a false reality. Behind the scenes, many people have their moments of boredom, loneliness, and feeling alienated.
So to make genuine friendships, you must stop investing too much time on social media and get out there into the real world.
➯ Get Talking
To make new friends, you will have to speak up. You will probably feel awkward, but meeting new people usually feels awkward for most of us. But don’t let the awkward feeling deter you. That uncomfortable feeling means you’re putting yourself out there, and that’s a great step.
Though you are feeling awkward, try talking to new individuals like you already know each other. Be yourself, be casual, be sensitive. And if you don’t succeed, just keep trying.
Remember that not all people will like or appreciate who you are. But if you keep talking, you’ll more likely end up making new friends than if you remain quiet.
➯ Work On Yourself
Instead of worrying about what others think of you, think of what you think of yourself. Don’t strive to beat someone else’s game but be the best at your own game. Think of who you want to be and what you think is cool.
Don’t hide the qualities that make you different and unique because those are the qualities that draw others to you.
Engage in new hobbies and skills that make you happy. Dress in clothes that suit you, chase your passion, and find your dream. By doing this, you will attract friends that value you for who you are rather than the way you fit in.
➯ Consider Others
When we get caught up in worrying about ourselves-if we are fitting in, whether others judge us or if we are being weird, we prevent ourselves from helping others.
Try to give yourself a break from such mental anxieties by considering how others are feeling or doing. For example, if you see someone who looks lonely, say hi and offer to help.
Everyone fears for how they are fitting in. Sometimes, when we assist someone who feels like they don’t blend in, we get our sense of belonging too.
➯ Be Patient
Finding where you belong takes time, so be patient. Don’t take it too hard if a potential friendship crumbles. It may not be your fault or theirs’ either.
Friendships and relationships need some chemistry to grow. So don’t beat yourself up if you are not blending in with a specific person or group, just keep searching. Your people are out there waiting or searching for you too.
✨ Reasons why do I not fit in with my family? ✨
With the societal assumption that a family is supposed to be close-knit, it can be quite tough to feel like the black sheep.
But being an outsider in your family doesn’t imply you are worthless. It only means you haven’t landed your tribe where you will truly feel like you belong. So keep searching, and you’ll find your persons out there.
It’s a small world! So here are the main reasons why you don’t fit in with your family to help you change or accept things as they are and focus on finding your tribe.
▶ Your World View or Personality Clashes With Your Family’s
Perhaps everyone in your family is a chatterbox, and you are introverted. It could be vice versa where everyone is reserved, and you are outgoing and a people person.
Not having the same values or personality as your family can make you feel left out, especially during family activities when you are forced to be close to each other.
▶ You Are Not Open
Many individuals begin to feel alienated from their family during teenagerhood when they begin to go through changes and discover who they are.
Some discoveries can be so embarrassing that you may clam up in a shell. That causes your family to somehow alienate you because they do not understand you anymore… not like when you were a kid.
Kids are so open, honest, and open-minded, and that’s why it’s so easy to make new friends or fit in during childhood.
▶ Your Family Environment Is Toxic
Coming from a family where people are always fighting or being on each other’s necks all the time is daunting and can make you want to run away in search of a happy and loving home.
No one wants to belong to a family where you are always being abused or misused, and everyone is quarrelsome. It drains you of all positive energy.
▶ Your Family Members Are Changing And Growing
Life happens! Even in the family. When you were younger, you were so tight with your cousin, sibling, or parent, but as you grow, you find that varying needs, ambitions, and goals make you distant. Such things can make you feel so alone as you have no one else to share life experiences with.
When a once-close family member goes off to college, gets married, or relocates to a new place in search of their happiness, it can make you feel like you don’t belong anymore.
But you have to accept that change is inevitable even in the family. And you have no choice but to accept it. Allow yourself to grow and evolve as well instead of fighting it and being bitter about it.
Sometimes, the only thing that bonds a family is the DNA that you guys share, but beyond that, you may not have anything in common with your family. The good news is that there are many people out there who are willing to color your life as you will color theirs. You just have to keep looking for them.
✍️ How to Create a Sense of Belonging in the Workplace ✍️
A sense of belonging to a group at the workplace is something we all desire. Heck, we spend most of our days at the office interacting with our colleagues.
So it’s normal to desire friendships or relationships at work. It comes down to social connection-it is one of human’s basic needs. When that need isn’t met, we feel alone and lonely, excluded and unhappy.
So how can you foster a sense of belonging in the workplace? Below are few helpful ways:
⋙ Check-In With Others
As you desire your workmates to check in with you, you must also check in with them. A simple good morning and how was your weekend goes a long way.
Check-in with that colleague who seems alienated or low or stressed. That is how friendships start.
What you are concerned about others, it takes the weight off not fitting in, and you’ll be happier just focusing on helping others.
⋙ Celebrate Self-Awareness
As we said before, everyone is unique and weird in their way. So, as you accept your weirdness, learn to accept and celebrate your workmates’ unique traits.
That not only smoothens workflow and makes teamwork easier but also draws people to you.
We’re all attracted to people who accept us for who we are, right? With all our quirkiness and flaws. So, do the same for your colleagues, and you’ll see the positive impact.
⋙ Ask For Input
If you’re a manager or supervisor, asking for input from your employees goes a long way in promoting a sense of belonging in the workplace.
Get to know their suggestions and opinions on how you can create office inclusion and belonging.
Employees who feel like they belong to their workplace are happier, more satisfied and increasingly productive.
🌠 Ways To Help Yourself Achieve Your Own Belonging 🌠
We’ve highlighted useful tips- if you find that you don’t belong anywhere to achieve a heightened sense of belonging!
⊵ Challenge Your Core Values
It’s easy to get carried away by societal expectations of you. But always living to please everyone else can make you feel like you don’t belong. Instead, look at your beliefs and values and strive to live by them.
That will give you more peace than living by community standards by people who will publicly crucify you when you fail or make one wrong move.
⊵ Practice Unconditional Self-Awareness
A lot of feelings of loneliness stem from an inner sense of unworthiness and low self-esteem.
The best way to pull yourself out of such feelings of not belonging is to practice unconditional self-acceptance and self-love. If you can experience happiness and peace all on your own, then the feeling of exclusion won’t seem as much.
⊵ Allow Yourself Healing
If you have experienced mental trauma or are struggling with emotional issues, you should consider getting professional help to articulate the roots of your loneliness.
Rather than focusing on how to fit in, prioritize your healing journey to achieve a sense of belonging.
🔯 What Does It Mean To Belong? 🔯
Belonging is the spiritual practice of self-awareness and accepting yourself so deeply that you can show your genuine and inner self to the world. To belong also means finding sacredness and peace with being part of something or being alone in the desert. You may be alone but not lonely.
Belonging doesn’t need you to change who you are to fit in. It requires you to be true to who you are, and share your authenticity with others.
✱ Is it OK not to belong? ✱
The desire to belong is an innate human need but sometimes along the path of life, we are tossed into situations where we don’t belong, whether at work, school, community or a group of friends we can’t quite relate to.
But the fact is that in some cases, even when all evidence points towards the need to fit in, it’s alright to not belong, especially if fitting in means giving up who we are or hurting others. In that case, it’s okay to stand out.
It’s funny how sometimes we’d rather be in toxic friendships or relationships because of fear of facing that scary experience of being the odd man out. But we’ve got to realize that not every bond is healthy for us.
It’s easier said than done, but if you truly evaluate it, you’ll realize that it’s okay not to belong, when it means losing yourself in the process.
✤ How to improve and achieve a better mental health ✤
Making simple changes to gain more self-worth doesn’t have to cost you a dime. Why not start today with these easy tips?
⊛ Open Up Your Feelings
Sharing your feelings can help maintain your mental health and process things when you feel stressed or alone.
⊛ Practice An Active Lifestyle
Being busy and exercising regularly can escalate your self-esteem and keep depression at bay. Besides, exercise keeps your brain and other vital body organs healthy, which is a boost to your mental wellbeing.
⊛ Talk To Someone
It’s so refreshing to catch up with someone face to face. When that isn’t possible, it doesn’t hurt to call a friend, send them an email or chat with them online. It’s good to keep in touch and keep your lines of communication open.
⊛ Give Yourself A Break
A change of environment or pace is always great for your mental wellness. Even a few minutes is enough to distract you from stress. So give yourself some ‘me time.
⊛ Get Help
You are not superhuman. We all need help. So if you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out to someone who can lend a listening ear before you tip over the edge. You can always rely on a friend or family. Local services are also at your disposal, so don’t drown alone!
🤓 Conclusions 🤓
Don’t beat yourself up! It is tough now, but it gets better. We all feel like we don’t fit in sometimes, but it doesn’t mean that we are unworthy of love or meaningful friendships.
Always remember that everyone is unique, so you’re not a freak. Don’t strive to change what makes you for other people because the best people you’ll come across are the ones who appreciate you the way you are.
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Author: Ruth Jesse
Ruth is a life coach who specialises in relationships and career development. Outside work, she loves writing novels and guides for personal development.