Why Feeling Left Stings And Healthy Ways To Cope

Feeling left out is a common experience that can happen to anyone, at any stage of life. It can happen at school, work, in social situations, or even in families. Being excluded from a group or an activity can be emotionally painful and can have negative impacts on our self-esteem and confidence. In this article, we will explore why feeling left out stings and offer some healthy ways to cope.

Why Feeling Left Out Stings

According to psychologists, feeling left out activates the same part of the brain that processes physical pain. This can explain the intense feelings of hurt, rejection, and sadness that can occur when we experience exclusion.

Feeling left out can also trigger our innate need for social acceptance and belonging. We are social creatures by nature and have an inherent need to connect with others. When this need is not met, it can leave us feeling lonely, insecure, and anxious.

Additionally, feeling left out can cause us to question our self-worth and value. We may start to doubt our abilities, personality, or likeability, leading to feelings of shame and embarrassment. When we feel excluded, we may also start to ruminate on past rejections or failures, which can perpetuate negative thought patterns and emotions.

Healthy Ways To Cope

While feeling left out can be difficult, there are many healthy ways to cope that can help us overcome these negative feelings and move forward. Here are some strategies that can help:

1. Validate Your Emotions

The first step in coping with feelings of exclusion is to acknowledge and validate your emotions. It’s okay to feel hurt, sad, or angry when you feel left out. Don’t try to push these emotions aside or pretend they don’t exist, as this can lead to more intense and prolonged feelings of distress. Instead, give yourself permission to feel what you’re feeling and acknowledge that it’s a challenging experience.

2. Practice Self-Care

When we feel left out, it’s essential to prioritize our self-care. This means taking care of our physical, emotional, and mental health. Some self-care strategies that can help include:

  • Taking time for yourself and engaging in activities that bring you joy
  • Eating well-balanced meals and getting enough rest
  • Exercising regularly to release stress and tension
  • Practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing

3. Shift Your Perspective

One way to cope with feelings of exclusion is to shift your perspective from a negative to a positive one. Instead of dwelling on the negative aspects of the situation, try to focus on the positive ones. For example, you could ask yourself:

  • What can I learn from this experience?
  • What new opportunities or relationships could arise from this?
  • What strengths or qualities do I possess that will help me overcome this?

4. Reach Out To Others

When we feel left out, our natural instinct may be to withdraw from others. However, reaching out to trusted friends or family members can help us feel supported and connected. Talking to someone who understands and empathizes with our situation can provide validation and comfort. Moreover, seeking support can help us gain new perspectives and find healthy solutions to our challenges.

5. Practice Gratitude

Another way to cope with feelings of exclusion is to practice gratitude regularly. Focusing on what we’re thankful for can help shift our mindset from one of scarcity to one of abundance. Consider starting a gratitude journal or reflecting on what you’re thankful for each day. Cultivating gratitude can help increase our resilience and positivity, even in challenging situations.


Feeling left out can be a painful experience, but it’s essential to know that it’s a common one. By validating our emotions, practicing self-care, shifting our perspectives, reaching out to others, and practicing gratitude, we can cope with these feelings healthily and effectively. Remember that feeling included and accepted is a basic human need, and it’s okay to seek out support when we’re struggling. By doing so, we can regain our confidence and self-worth and move forward with a positive mindset.


What is the reason behind feeling left out and why does it sting?

Feeling left out can make us feel unimportant, rejected, and disconnected from the people around us. This can happen for various reasons such as exclusion from social activities, being ignored by peers, or not fitting in with a particular group. The reason behind the experience of feeling left out can relate to our need for social belonging. When we feel left out, it can trigger negative feelings such as anxiety, stress, and sadness.

What are some healthy ways to cope with feeling left out?

Coping strategies can help us to manage our emotions when we feel left out. These healthy ways to cope can include taking time to reflect on our thoughts and feelings, engaging in positive self-talk, seeking support from trusted family members or friends, finding alternative social activities or hobbies, and practicing mindfulness techniques. It’s important to acknowledge our emotions and practice self-compassion when we experience feelings of rejection or disconnection.

What are the benefits of developing healthy coping strategies?

Developing healthy coping strategies can have long term benefits for our mental wellbeing. By practicing healthy ways to cope, we can develop greater resilience, improved emotional regulation, and a greater sense of self-awareness. These skills can help us to navigate difficult life events, increase our overall sense of wellbeing, and help to build stronger, more meaningful relationships with the people around us.


1. Gillath, O., Selcuk, E., & Shaver, P. R. (2008). Feeling lonely, feeling left out: Loneliness and ostracism in social interaction. Social and personality psychology compass, 2(1), 1-16.
2. Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological bulletin, 117(3), 497-529.
3. Maner, J. K., & Leary, M. R. (2007). Making sense of death: Death thought suppression as a terror management strategy. In Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 39, pp. 1-51). Academic Press.