From Feeling Left Out to Being Late

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“Suzanne Gelb Image”

”Left Out – Why Don’t I Fit in?”


Dear Dr. Gelb:

Recently I attended a workshop with my peers. As I was driving to the workshop I realized that I had strong feelings of not fitting in or feeling welcome at the workshop. Why would I feel that way when my credentials entitled me to be there?

Left Out

Dear Left Out:

I believe that it is so valuable to learn the lesson that credentials have nothing to do with self love, self worth and self respect. It is not uncommon for children who are raised in an environment where caregivers did not teach them that they matter and what they have to share matters, to develop into adults who do not feel like they fit in, be that intellectually or socially. The old saying, “children should be seen but not heard or have anything to say about what adults talk about” can be so destructive. Children then get the message that they should not interfere with the adults’ conversation and that what they have to say is not important. Unfortunately many carry this negative message into adulthood, and it can manifest with feelings of insecurity, and then when they have something to share as an adult, that insecure attitude tends to default.

The key is for children to be engaged and involved with interactions, and for adults who missed out on that experience to begin to acknowledge that what they have to share and say does matter and is worth listening to.

”Missing Out – Why Does it Bother Me?”

Dear Dr. Gelb:

I get so bothered when I’m late for an appointment because of something unforeseeable like car problems or even unexpectedly heavy traffic. Why can’t I let go of being bothered, rather than seething on the inside for hours about missing out?


Dear Bothered:

For many people, the bother that you describe often has its roots in a fear of being thought of as untruthful. This invariably is linked to some aspect of childhood conditioning, where a child was either punished for not telling the truth, or disbelieved, even when they told the truth. The feeling of rejection is one of the most painful emotional experiences someone can have. This is why it is important to allow inner authority (self-confidence) to be one’s keeper. Then how other people judge us and think of us can be accepted as an opinion, and not be associated with some type of fault-finding.

”’Suzanne J. Gelb, Ph.D., J.D. authors this daily column, Dr. Gelb Says, which answers questions about daily living and behavior issues. Dr. Gelb is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Honolulu. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Services. Dr. Gelb is also a published author of a book on Overcoming Addictions and a book on Relationships.”’

”’This column is intended for entertainment use only and is not intended for the purpose of psychological diagnosis, treatment or personalized advice. For more about the column’s purpose, see”’ “An Online Intro to Dr. Gelb Says”

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