Monday, October 29, 2012

The Excluded...We're All Included

There are few things that can cause hurt feelings more than feeling excluded.  Especially for women.  You go through the gamut of emotions and questions, "What did I do wrong?"  "Did I make that person angry?"  "Am I not good enough to be a part of that group?"  I know, it sounds so middle school, but these feelings exist well into adulthood.

I had the pleasure of going through this very recently.  Let me tell you, it isn't fun.  But you probably know that because it has happened to all of us.  And if it hasn't, it will.

Being relatively new to this state, this neighborhood, and this ward, I'm in the middle.  I've been here longer than a few people, but a lot of my friends have lived here most of their lives.  As a social being without many social outlets, being included and embraced has been very important to me.  And, for the most part, I have been.  Which made this particular incident all the more of an ouchie moment.

Like I said, it has happened to all of us, and it bites.  The thing is, what do you do next?

In the same way that loss has its steps of grief, so does being excluded.  See if these sound familiar:
1.  Confusion
2.  Hurt
3.  Anger
4.  Sour Grapes
5.  Retaliation
6.  Shame
7.  Common Sense
8.  Forgiveness
9.  Peace
10.  Moving On

Wow, that is a lot of steps.  I went through all of these last night between 11:30pm to 2:30am.  If I had been smarter and less sensitive, I probably could have moved through them quicker, but I think everything was heightened because of the late hour.  In retrospect I'm a little ashamed that I allowed myself to feel as hurt as I did (and believe me,  I was pretty hurt.)

At some point, between Steps 5&6, I went looking for something to put me at ease.  Hubby was already asleep with an early morning ahead.  I didn't want to disturb him.  So I went to the Church Website and, like a dope, typed in "hurt feelings" in the search window.  Scriptures, talks, and articles on Forgiveness came up.  What?  I didn't want to forgive, I wanted sympathy.

And then it clicked.  We never have control of external situations that happen to us, but we always have control of how we handle them internally.  This was my opportunity.  Either stay stuck in Hurtful Mode, or move past it to Healing Mode.

One article I read was called Finding Peace Through Forgiveness.  Another was called Of You It Is Required to Forgive.  Both of them gave me a lot to think about.  They made me feel that, although my hurt was real, it was also petty.  These articles were talking about forgiving people who had caused enormous, life changing events, like murderers.  Good grief, if someone could forgive something like that, then I could certainly forgive not being included in a little get-together.

The bottom line?  These things happen.  They stink, but they happen.  And not knowing someone's motives or knowing the whole story doesn't mean either of you did anything wrong.  The healthiest thing is to let it go.  You can have your pity party, but don't let it eat away at you.  For all I know, my exclusion may have been an innocent oversight.  It doesn't matter.  It's small, it's over, and I'm not going to let it affect any friendships.  I don't want to be that kind of person.

Steps 7-10.  Mission accomplished.

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