Many of us grew up experiencing, in one way or another, the pain of being excluded. Perhaps you felt excluded at home - by parents or siblings, or with friendships at school or outside of school. As a child, being excluded is deeply crushing. Children don't have the ability to not take things personally, so being excluded likely contributes to our shame and insecurity.
Gretchen asked me for advice about her fear of exclusion and rejection:
"I have a fear of being excluded which goes back to my days in junior high school where I was part of a group of three friends. Two of us would be friends while excluding the third. This dynamic would rotate around the three of us frequently. My painful memories are of those times when I was the one who was left out and called names. I think the exclusion of the third person is what united and bonded the other two friends. To this day I am fearful of being excluded and so easily feel left out even in benign situations. It is also mixed with a heavy fear of rejection, which I am hyper-vigilant to. I believe the whole world belongs except me. I suffer from depression, which may contribute to this feeling. I would be grateful if you could advise how I may go about freeing myself from this pain."
The first thing Gretchen would need to do is learn and practice Inner Bonding so that she can start to become aware of how she is excluding and rejecting herself. Very often, when I ask clients to go inside and ask how their inner child feels about them, the answer is something like this:
"I feel ignored by you. You barely know I'm here. You never listen to me. You put a lot of pressure on me to do things 'right,' and you often tell me I'm not good enough. Others are always more important to you than I am. I hate that you keep numbing me with food (or other addictions)."
As long as you are excluding and rejecting yourself by ignoring your feelings, judging yourself, numbing your feelings with addictions and/or making others responsible for your feelings and then giving yourself up to get their approval, your inner child will feel excluded and rejected by you. Then, your inner self-abandonment gets projected onto others and, like Gretchen, you may feel depressed and believe that you don't belong in this world. Depression is a frequent result of self-abandonment.
When you learn to love and value yourself, and to define your own intrinsic worth that isn't based on looks, achievements or others' approval, you will find yourself no longer even thinking about whether or not people are rejecting you. When you are consistently including yourself by listening to your feelings and your Guidance, and taking loving action in your own behalf, you will feel full and happy inside, with a lot of love to share with others. You will find that others are drawn to you when you love yourself and are full of love to share, whereas the more you reject yourself, the more you will feel rejected by others.
People often mirror how we treat ourselves, so the more you learn to love and value yourself, the more you will experience love and valuing from others. Feelings of exclusion and rejection become experiences of the past when you practice Inner Bonding and learn to love yourself.