It’s difficult when you don’t feel you belong

Post-lockdown... many of us have felt ill at ease. If we’ve been lucky and lived with others, whether family or friends, we may feel we belong with them – and we may feel so comfortable that we don’t want to make the effort to broaden our friendships. But, if we’ve lived alone we may no longer feel we are part of a group, any group. We may wonder who we can relate to.
If we feel really alone and lonely, we can imagine we are different from others and not understood. It may be us or others who have changed — or even both, and we can’t relate to them anymore. They may have found hobbies or ‘themselves’ in lockdown which might make us feel even more isolated and as if we’ve been left behind. Feeling stuck, as we may do, can make us close ourselves off even more – we don’t want to open ourselves up for fear of not knowing what to do or say or even for fear of rejection. It stops us being receptive to others.
Even if feeling isolated and alone isn’t what happened to you during Covid, it may have happened to you at other times of your life. I certainly felt like that in my first year of University, when no-one seemed on my wavelength and I didn’t know where to look for kindred spirits.
What do you do about it when those times do happen? What should I have done? I had no idea. I sat in my room in halls and cried a lot of the time.
How to feel like you belong
Ideally make an assumption about who around you might be ‘on your side’.
Then try and talk to them. Ask them questions then listen carefully — we all enjoy being listened to, and, when/if you speak about yourself and your experiences, take care to express yourself clearly.
If you’re feeling lonely, do something new. Join a group — one that meets outdoors (like walking, when you can drift around) might be less scary than something that has you all sitting still for a while.
Ask others how they’ve felt about this period of time — we all have difficult times.
Avoid trying to fit in. Be yourself. If you change to please others you won’t know if they really like you (or this invented person you’re pretending to be).
If you don’t know what to say, don’t worry. There are lots of people who want to talk. Look at the speaker and listen to them. A question will undoubtedly pop up.
I remember hiding away in my room for a while. I didn’t force it, I didn’t sit next to anyone special at mealtimes, but found somewhere on my own. In the end I had to leave university for a couple of weeks to go and stay with a school friend, but that helped me massively. Somehow coming back felt better than being there.
Good luck!
And why not come along to our next Connect course? It’s a warm, insightful and supportive space to help you feel a little more connected to yourself and others. The perfect place where you can feel you belong.


Image by Wayne Lee-Sing