Insiders , Outsiders, and Holidays

 As a very young child, I knew the feeling of being an outsider, inside of my family. I was not raised by my parents and their absenteeism in my childhood was felt. This resulted in me searching for connection and relationships in my neighborhood, at the homes of my childhood friends.

I learned at the houses of my friends, at their family dinners, at their birthdays, etc. what being an insider looked like. I joined in other people's families and felt included.  I grew up seeing my community as “home” and learning how to help myself feel included.

And though things turned out ok, I have a deep wound inside that can sometimes rip open or come up to the surface when I feel the sting of being an outsider, or being excluded.

As we go into the holiday season, notice your boundaries, who is considered an insider and who is an outsider in your family?

 If, like me, you are familiar with being the outsider, and the pain of that, take time this season to notice the moments when you feel like an insider and when you feel like an outsider. 

If you find yourself hurt or excluded, use these three steps to help yourself with the pain.

Step 1 - Notice how you are feeling. Acknowledge to yourself, I am feeling like an outsider. When I feel excluded, it hurts.
Step 2 - Assure yourself that this happens. It is a normal, human experience. We all feel like insiders and outsiders at different times.  
Step 3 - Say something kind to yourself. "I know this hurts. I'm sorry you were left out. I'm going to make some time right now to do something with you." Take a kindness break and give to yourself.

You can use these three steps to soothe yourself any time you are feeling hurt, about anything. It takes some practice. 

 Here is a short video giving you ways to soothe yourself with kindness when you are hurting.

The Three steps are from the work and research on Self-Compassion and Dr. Kristin Neff.