Why Do I Feel Like I Don’t Fit In?
Feeling like you don’t fit in can be emotionally exhausting, especially when it spreads to many spheres of your life including your work, your friends, your partner, and family. There are many reasons why you may feel you don’t fit in, from being in the wrong environment to thrive, not knowing what your values and principles are, to being self-conscious. Keep on reading to find out more.
By M.Ward / July, 4 2021
A Therapist’s Perspective on feeling like we don’t fit in.
Feeling that we don’t fit in is a real challenge to our sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Isolation and feelings of loneliness are known to negatively impact our physical and mental health and wellbeing.
As a social species, humans thrive on connection and belonging. So, if you feel you don’t fit in, it can really impact your own self-view.
This blog encourages a look at the bigger picture and how feeling that you don’t fit in could, in fact, be prompting you towards positive change across a range of areas, including your mindset, behavior, and beliefs. So, if you have ever felt like a square peg in a round hole, read on…
That thing that makes you “not fit in”, Be proud of it. Nurture it. Because that’s your extra in the ordinary. Myra S.
I Feel Like I Don’t Fit in Anywhere – Why Is That?
We have all had times in our lives where we’ve felt like we don’t fit with the group of friends we were with.
For example, you may be in a crowded room full of people enjoying themselves and having fun, but the sounds are numbed out and you feel like although you are surrounded by people, you are alone in your corner
One of the biggest reasons why you may feel like you do not fit in is that you are unclear on who you are.
Although it may sound cliché, it acts as an ‘umbrella reason’ for many other sub-reasons.
When you do not know who you are, or what you hold as core values and principles, it may be extremely confusing to be surrounded by people in an environment that makes you question whether you are at the right place.
If you don’t know where you stand, for example, in terms of your beliefs, it’s tough to fit in anywhere because no matter what happens, you do not have a moral compass to utilize to figure out how you feel about a certain situation.
For example, if you are surrounded by friends from your high school days who are all on their own journey and you aren’t sure of your own, or even of what you believe would be a great way to live.
You may feel like the way you are now has changed and does not fit in with others’ views of life.
On the other hand, if you feel like you don’t fit in with your partner’s friends or family, it may have more to do with your self-conscious beliefs about how others view you.
For example, you may be worried about how they will perceive you and may have a tough time trying to let yourself let go and simply enjoy their company.
Perhaps this is something you can share with your partner and try to solve together.
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Acknowledge Your Environment
Additionally, not knowing who you are can make you feel like you are not fitting in because you are in the wrong environment that is not allowing you to thrive.
Although as human beings we like comfort and like to stay away from the “unknown”, simply as a survival mechanism, being in an environment that is not conducive to your personal development may feel like you are stuck, unable to move, or as though your legs were deep in quicksand.
You aren’t sure of who you are, what you want, what’s next for you, and that makes it hard to feel like anyone you are surrounded by fits this view you have in your mind.
Similarly, if you are surrounded by an old group of friends with completely different goals and visions, it may just be that you need to expand your circle and start surrounding yourself with like-minded people.
Otherwise, it can be quite tough to feel like you’re in the same situation and headed the same way.
As such, you feel like you don’t fit in, or like you are an outlier.
Change is good, and being surrounded by individuals who are not in line with the vision you have for yourself may be the core reason why you do not feel like you fit in.
You see everyone walking by you in a straightforward manner, but all you want to do is turn right. Well, find the people who want to turn right with you!
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Why Don’t I Fit In At Work?
When it comes to not fitting in at work, not only is it emotionally draining, but it can make you so stressed that you feel completely burned out.
Not fitting in at work can be due to many reasons, but often, it is because of a hostile work environment.
During Covid-19 especially, many of us began to feel like we had to work twice as hard to prove that we were not hanging out on our couch all day. And even then, many extra hours later, we may still feel like we don’t completely fit into the team.
Perhaps you have a bad attitude at work, or perhaps you dislike your job. Or, maybe you thought you would love it but the feeling of not fitting in makes it really difficult for you to give it your 100%.
Alternatively, perhaps you do not fit in at work because you are overqualified or are too invested while other employees prefer taking it slow and simply fulfilling their job description.
Meanwhile, you like taking things head-on and like to give it your all. You propose new projects, ideas, and have tons of problem-solving abilities.
This enthusiasm may not work with others as it showcases their lack of dedication to the job. In this case, your environment is what isn’t working for you! It’s not you, it’s where you are, who surrounds you, and the atmosphere you work in!
A similar cause for feeling this way is the imposter syndrome where you feel like you are a fraud or that you are not as competent as others think you are.
Between feeling like you need to prove yourself constantly and still feeling like you aren’t convincing enough, it may just be enough to make you feel like you don’t fit in the environment.
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“Success is walking from failure to failure with enthusiasm.”
– Winston Churchill
What Can I Do?
Knowing the root cause behind your feeling of not fitting in is key to figuring out what you can do about it. If you feel like you don’t fit in, consider the following:
- Could it be your environment? Are you surrounded by like-minded people, or have you changed and need a change in scenery?
- Could it be the work environment you are in? Are you too invested? If so, perhaps you need to find a workplace that provides you with opportunities to channel this enthusiasm.
- Could it be due to self-consciousness? If so, you have some work to do on yourself!
You have what it takes to make yourself feel like you fit in! It’s all a matter of working out what makes you feel like this and adopting a solution-minded, problem-solving mindset.
Marty Ward is the creator and publisher of the 1-Vibrant-Life blog. Marty has over 35 years of sales and marketing experience, along with some success as a musician in his earlier years. At the age of 26, Marty was injured in a car accident in which he sustained a traumatic brain injury. This injury and recovery led him down a path of self-improvement, and self-discovery… Learn more on the 1-vibrant-life about us page.
Claire Law is a UK-based Counsellor and Psychotherapist from Preston, Northern England. Claire became a therapist after a career of almost two decades of High School teaching experience. She’s also worked extensively in the Social Care and Charity Sectors, and as a Mental Health Advisor in Higher Education. Claire combines her current Psychotherapy practice with freelance writing on Mental Health, Wellbeing and Psychology topics. She has a passion for Social Justice and environmental causes.
Claire holds a degree from Nottingham University, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Leeds Trinity University College and a Post Graduate Diploma in Integrative Psychotherapy from the University of Central Lancashire. She’s completed a wide range of extensive training and certifications in Domestic Abuse, Survivors of Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence, Suicide and Self-Harm, Expressive Arts Therapy, Gender Variance, Online and Telephone Counselling and Polyvagal Regulation developed by Stephen Porges, a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina and “Distinguished University Scientist” at Indiana University.