Updated: Oct 29, 2020
This is my daughter's Kate's group of friends called the "squad". I love watching this group of girls. Each one of these girls are talented, strong and amazing but also completely different. They have small squabbles but they are one of purest groups of friends, all of these girls feel like they are each other's first-tier friends. They truly love each other and they work hard on making sure each girl feels loved, wanted and connected.
I hope they can always keep this friendship the way it is today - pure, simple, and an asset in their lives. I look at this group and think most adults can learn from how these 11-year-old girls interact and support each other. I see a lot of adults struggle in the friendship department because they have forgotton how to make friendships simple and drama-free.
We all want to feel loved and wanted and connected to others. The problem is we think other people's actions and words are what makes us feel loved, wanted and connected.
We are wrong. We are the only ones who can make us feel connected to others. The feelings of love, inclusion and connection are completely created by you; not by others.
Easy enough, right? If we want to feel these lovely feelings then we just think lovely thoughts. So what is the problem? Why do we have times that we don't feel loved, connected or wanted?
Your reaction and feelings to other's words and actions should not affect your self-esteem or self worth. Don't internalize it. Chances are their words and actions weren't for you to interpret. We make judgements about their words and action, and that might create evidence in our brains that we aren't loved and connected. Our thoughts and judgements create what we feel. Our thoughts create our experience.
This is where some knowledge of how our brains' work comes in handy. Our brains #1 job is to keep us alive and to look for danger. For example, say you are on IG you see a picture of a group of friends at lunch (which you weren't invited to) with the hashtag #Ilovethesewomen.
How does that make you feel?
This triggers the emotion of exclusion which makes you feel like you are a second-tier friend, or your're relationships doesn't matter as much. My experience with 99% of my clients, is that our brains generally think sentences like, "They don't really like me" or "I have no real friends." This gives you a feeling of exclusion, which makes you feel like a second-tier friend.
See how your brain sees danger? It triggered the thought that you aren't good enough to be part of the group. It is a natural human desire to want to be included. So you had a thought that you weren't included and your brain looked for evidence of that thought. Your brain's job is to prove your thinking is right.
This is why what we think is so important. Our brain likes to be right, more than it likes us to feel good, so it is constantly looking for evidence for our thinking.
Having thoughts that we are not "popular" or part of the "in crowd" is not just a high school problem that goes away once we become adults. Adults find evidence that they are not included everyday. In fact, with social media influence I might argue that we feel exclusion more as adults. This is probably the most common pain point that I talk to clients with.
The problem is you can't control the humans. There are going to be times where you are not going to be invited or included.