Feeling Sidelined

June 10, 2024

Understanding the Feeling of Being Sidelined: What It Means and How to Cope


It’s easy to feel overlooked or left out, especially in social, professional, or romantic contexts. Feeling sidelined can impact your self-esteem and sense of belonging, making it crucial to understand what this experience entails and how to address it effectively. This article delves into what it means to feel sidelined, the emotions that come with it, and practical steps you can take to navigate this challenging experience.

What Does Feeling Sidelined Feel Like?

Feeling sidelined can manifest as a sense of exclusion or invisibility. It often involves feeling like you’re on the periphery of a group or relationship, not fully included or acknowledged. And, it sucks! Here are some common emotions associated with being sidelined:

Emotional Isolation

One of the most profound feelings associated with being sidelined is emotional isolation. You might feel cut off from meaningful connections, as if your presence and contributions are overlooked. And it might not be that anyone is cutting you off, but rather your interpretation of events that causes you to do it unto yourself. Either way, this can lead to feelings of loneliness and a sense of not being valued.


When you’re sidelined, it can trigger a cascade of self-doubt. You may start questioning your worth, abilities, or likability. It’s kind of like whatever your Achilles heel of negative emotions gets exacerbated. This internal dialogue can become a negative spiral, reinforcing the belief that you’re not good enough or don’t fit in.

Frustration and Anger

It’s common to feel frustrated or angry when you’re sidelined. You might feel upset that your efforts and presence are not recognized or valued. This frustration can also stem from a sense of unfairness, especially if you feel you have been unjustly overlooked or excluded. And the flip side of this is when you realize you simply misinterpreted the situation and moved your own self into this emotional space. Once the storm has passed, you may very well be looking upon a debris field of scattered petty emotions that you now embarrassingly have to make amends for.

Anxiety and Insecurity

Feeling sidelined can heighten anxiety and insecurity. You might worry about your social standing or fear further exclusion. This can lead to hypervigilance, where you constantly analyze social interactions for signs of rejection or dismissal. This is an exhausting space to be in.

What to Do When You Feel Sidelined?

Coping with the feeling of being sidelined involves both internal reflection and external actions. Here are some practical steps to help you navigate and overcome this experience:

Acknowledge Your Feelings

This is an absolute must! Don’t simply say, “it will be fine,” as that is not honoring the separation you are feeling. So, this first step in dealing with feeling sidelined is to acknowledge your emotions. It’s important to recognize and validate your feelings without judgment. Understand that it’s okay to feel hurt, frustrated, or excluded.

Assess the Situation Objectively

Try to assess the situation objectively. Ask yourself if there are specific actions or behaviors that led you to feel sidelined. Consider whether these actions were intentional or a result of a misunderstanding. Often, our perceptions can be influenced by our emotional state, so taking a step back can provide clarity.

Communicate Your Feelings

Communication is key – Communication is EVERYTHING! – to resolving feelings of being sidelined. If appropriate, consider discussing your feelings with the individuals involved. However, please get yourself in a neutral state prior, if possible, so as not to add a whole other level to sorting out your feelings. Express how their actions made you feel and seek to understand their perspective. This can help clear up misunderstandings and provide an opportunity for them to make amends.

Focus on Self-Worth

Reaffirm your self-worth and recognize your value. Tapping can help with this – “Even though I am feeling hurt over this situation, I deeply and completely love myself”. Remember that being sidelined doesn’t diminish your worth or contributions. Engage in positive self-talk and remind yourself of your strengths and achievements. Building self-confidence can help you feel more secure and less affected by others’ actions.

Seek Support

Reach out to friends, family, a Spiritual Life Coach (like me!) or a therapist for support. Talking about your feelings with someone you trust can provide comfort and perspective. They can offer insights or simply listen, helping you feel less isolated.

Engage in Activities You Enjoy

Distract yourself by engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Sometimes, the process of moving through these feelings and the situation, as a whole, can take a little time to run its course. It may be serving some specific purpose of which you are unaware. Pursue hobbies, interests, or projects that make you feel happy and accomplished. This can boost your mood and provide a sense of purpose.

Set Boundaries

If someone consistently makes you feel sidelined, it might be necessary to set boundaries. Determine what behaviors are unacceptable and communicate your boundaries clearly. Protecting your emotional well-being is crucial, and sometimes this means distancing yourself from those who undermine it.

Consider New Opportunities

Feeling sidelined in one area of your life might be an opportunity to explore new connections or opportunities. See? You can’t know what amazing benefits are lurking behind the event of being sidelined. Seek out new social circles, professional networks, or activities where you feel more valued and included. This can open up new avenues for growth and fulfillment.

Feeling sidelined can be a painful and isolating experience, whether in social settings, professional environments, or relationships. It’s essential to recognize and validate these feelings, assess the situation objectively, and take steps to address them constructively. By communicating openly, focusing on your self-worth, and seeking supportive connections, you can overcome the challenges of being sidelined and build stronger, more fulfilling relationships. Remember, your worth is not defined by others’ actions, and you have the power to create a positive and inclusive environment for yourself.

INTEGRATION: Questions to Move You Out of Feeling Sidelined

Next time you find yourself feeling left out, marginalized, sidelined…try this unique exercise. It’s super simple and very powerful. The purpose of the following exercise is to assist you in identifying what you are experiencing, stripping away the lies you tell yourself about yourself and reclaiming your power.

Step 1: Ask the question:

What must I believe is true about myself, in this situation, to feel this way?

Now, I find it helps to ask the question several times over and plugging in the actual situation and the actual feeling.

Ex: You learn about some friends getting together for lunch, out-of-the-blue, and you weren’t invited. So now you are feeling isolated, wondering what you could have possibly done wrong to have been left out of the lunch.

What must I believe is true about myself, in not being invited to lunch, to feel like no one wants me around.

Step 2: Honor how you are feeling. Feel the Feels! If the emotions are intense, you need to move yourself into a more neutral state. You can do this either through “tapping”. Click here to access quick “how-to” manual! 

Step 3: Once you feel you have shifted into more of a neutral space, ask yourself, is the above statement true? 

Is it true that no one wants me around?

This is where you start to call yourself out on this bullshit. 

  • Is this really true? I was just invited to an event last month (or last week or last year).
  • Work through the instances where you have been included and really list them out.
  • Prove the above perception of reality wrong.

Step 4: Allow for grace. Examine the situation and allow the space for misunderstandings, miscommunication and other considerations that may be beyond your current understanding.

Begin by acknowledging the positives you know about the person you feel sidelined you. If they are a good friend, recognize the value of that person in your life, the strength of your friendship.

  • Mary has always been a reliable friend and had my best interest at heart.

 If necessary, consider potential explanations of why you may not have been invited. This part of the exercise is really only to further prove that you cannot know all of the possibilities of why you may have been sidelined.

  • Just because I don’t understand why I wasn’t invited, doesn’t mean that there’s not a perfectly plausible reason for it. Knowing that Mary is a reliable friend, I can trust that she will be okay with me asking about the lunch and sharing with me why I would not have been invited. 

Step 5: Be your biggest fan. Pump yourself up. Remind yourself that the universe is a friendly place and that “everything is always working out for you“.


*portions of this post were written with the assistance of Jeeves (AI)

The above blog post serves as a foundation for the insightful podcast episode titled
“Feeling Sidelined.”
YouTube Link: Click Here!
Weekly Wanderlust Integration: 
This is an accompaniment to the discussion to assist in integrating the concepts herein and can be accessed via the Facebook group>
KISS – Keep It Simple, Sister: Click Here!

In the podcast, the hosts expand upon the ideas and findings presented in the blog post, engaging in a more comprehensive and dynamic discussion. They delve into real-world examples, current events and emerging understanding related to this topic. Through lively conversation and real-world examples, the podcast episode offers listeners a richer understanding of the topic while fostering thought-provoking dialogue among any participants and audience. Together, the blog post, podcast and the integration of the “Weekly Wanderlust” activity create a multimedia experience, that informs, stimulates and utilizes the topic at hand to create a deeper learning and discovery experience.

Mentioned in Podcast…

Affirmations to Use

  • Everything is always working out for me
  • Ho’oponopono -“I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.”
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