On feeling left out

Nobody likes to feel left out. Nobody likes to feel like they’re not part of the “in” crowd.

In student-athletes I see this most commonly expressed when a team takes vans to a competition (or by dividing themselves into sections on a bus). Inevitably there is a “fun” van to be in and a “not-so-fun” van to be in. The people in the “not-so-fun” van feel like they’re not part of the “in” crowd, invoking a feeling of helplessness:

“I must either conform to the expectations of the ‘in’ crowd or feel isolated.” But there is a better way: feel grateful. Yes, feel grateful.

This passage from an article in The New York Times by Northeastern University’s David DeSteno explains what I mean:

“But study after study has shown that those who are seen as grateful, warm and justifiably confident draw others to them. Because these emotions automatically make us less selfish, they help ensure we can form relationships with people who will be there to support us when we need it.”

So write down what you’re grateful for every day, even if you don’t feel like it. Soon you’ll actually start to feel grateful. Soon you’ll exude more warm emotions, naturally drawing people to you.

The irony is that once you feel grateful for what you have you no longer care about being part of the “in” crowd. You realize there was never any such thing.

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