10 easy steps to stop feeling unwanted

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Do you feel unwanted or unloved?

If you answered yes, then you are not alone.

Feeling unwanted is something that everyone experiences at some point in their lives.

Whether it’s from a family member, friend, partner, or even a stranger, it’s normal to feel rejected.

In this article, I’ll run through 10 steps you can start taking today to stop feeling unwanted.

I feel unloved and unwanted

Feeling unwanted or unloved can cause us to feel depressed, anxious, and unhappy. It can also affect our relationships and self-esteem.

Feeling unwanted or unloved can show up in a number of ways:

  • Feeling overlooked at social events
  • Feeling like you aren’t close with your family members
  • Feeling like you’re not good enough for someone else
  • Feeling like you are being ignored or excluded
  • Feeling like your needs aren’t met
  • Feeling like you don’t have any real friends
  • Feeling like people don’t care about what you think or say
  • Feeling unwanted sexually in a relationship
  • Feeling like you’ve been abandoned by the person who was supposed to love you most

What to do when you feel unwanted by everyone

1) Know that we are all scared of rejection

Is it normal to feel unwanted?

It’s important to remember that we all experience feelings of rejection at one time or another.

You may be experiencing these feelings because of an event that has happened recently. But you may also feel like there is a constant fear of being unwanted by everyone hanging over your head.

Although knowing this might not change those feelings, hopefully, it helps to know that most of us feel this way sometimes.

We spend our entire life trying to fit in.

There is a strong drive within us that wants to be accepted. But the truth is that many of us are plagued with a deep rooted fear that we are failing at it, no matter what we do.

A fear of being ostracized from the group is hardwired into us, probably both genetically and socially.

Once upon a time our very survival depended on it. And so we are highly sensitive toward anything that we think threatens our position within social groups.

Studies have found that rejection and physical pain are the same to your brain.

Because of this, we all find ways to try desperately to feel wanted. People pleasing and wearing a mask that hides the real us become habits we pick up.

But they only serve to further isolate us, making us feel less seen, less understood, and less wanted.

Can I tell you a secret?

Most of us worry there is something wrong with us in particular. That we are somehow unloveable or unwanted.

It’s more universal than you may think. Far from being a “freak” for feeling this way, it’s very normal. It seems to be a part of the human condition.

The fear that we have of being excluded can mean that our mind plays paranoid tricks on us and goes searching for things that aren’t really there.

2) Practice vulnerability

The thoughts we have in our heads are like monsters under the bed.

When we turn the light on, we realize that it was just in our imagination. But it feels very real at the time. That fear you create in the moment is palpable.

But vulnerability is that light that we turn on in order to reveal the truth:

It was just shadows and illusions.

It may sound counterintuitive when you are already feeling insecure to open up even more.

But here’s what happens:

When you stop protecting yourself and willingly give away your truth (your real feelings and thoughts) there’s nothing left to “protect”.

And so nobody can take from you what you chose to give away freely.

I’m not saying it’s easy, it takes courage to be honest and open with people. It takes practice to get better at it.

But when you do, it feels like a release. Almost like a big exhalation after holding your breath for so long.

So tell people how you feel. Ask for support when you need it. Don’t be afraid to share all the parts of you — even the bits you worry are less desirable.

All those fears deep down that you are keeping to yourself, voice them.

Maybe it’s to a friend, to your partner, to a family member, to a therapist — or maybe even to the person who you feel unwanted by.

There is so much power that arises when we are able to name our darkest fears.

When we can say out loud:

I am scared I will be rejected

“I am terrified that I am unlovable”

Something quite remarkable happens. That burden we have been carrying — and the fear, shame, and guilt that goes along with it — we can now put down.

You might even discover that the person you tell also feels this way. You are far from alone. This is how we find true human connection, by daring to show ourselves to others.

3) Stop searching for validation outside yourself

I read a really powerful sentence this morning that I want to share with you:

“Now is a good time to construct a solid home inside yourself so that you stop looking for a home in everyone else.”

It hit me hard.

I’ve done a lot of work to cultivate a deeper connection with myself, but I’m often reminded of how much further I still have to go.

And it’s not our fault.

We learn from such an early age to go searching for validation outside of ourselves. But that can mean we forget to follow our own guidance and voice.

The reality is that to feel more wanted, we need to start wanting ourselves more.

More than we want the opinions, thoughts or beliefs of others.

That often means being able to break through the social, cultural, and spiritual conditioning that messes with your mind, poisoning your relationship with yourself and disconnecting you from your true potential.

I learned this from the shaman Rudá Iandé. With over 30 years of experience in the field, he’s seen and experienced it all.

He has created a free video that allows you to make a powerful commitment to be present in your being and evolve from frustration, guilt, and pain to a place of love, acceptance, and joy.

So what makes Rudá different from the rest? The answer is simple:

He promotes spiritual empowerment from within.

Click here to watch the free video and start to feel whole and wanted — from the inside out!

Rudá puts the focus solely onto you. Essentially, he puts you back in the driver’s seat of your life so you can meet your true, limitless self.

Here’s the link again to that free video.

4) Consider your connections

The vast majority of things on this list are things that you do for yoursel. They are shifts that you create in your life that come from within.

But there is no denying that the people we share our lives with do have an influence.

The sad truth is that not everyone is good for us or for our self-worth.

We need to spend time with as many positive influences as we can. We all need to seek out as much as possible the people who lift us up and allow us to feel safe and wanted.

It’s important to ask yourself whether all of the feelings you have of being unwanted are coming from your own insecurities and anxieties, or are you perhaps holding onto relationships that aren’t good for you?

If you know deep down that you have people in your life who don’t treat you with kindness and respect — then it is time to seek out those who do and consider ditching those who don’t (or at the very least create firmer boundaries — which we’ll talk about later).

That can mean finding a new community or new connections if needs be.

We can feel unwanted when we are spending time with people we don’t feel connected to on a deeper level.

Do you share values and interests with the people you are hanging out with?

If you’re not feeling seen or heard, part of that might be the quality of the connections you are cultivating.

Community and relationships are important to all of us. When they feel strained, it’s bound to impact how we feel.

If you are looking for an instant way to feel a greater connection, then volunteering can be a really good solution.

When we do things for others we not only feel useful and wanted, we actually feel happier according to studies.

It can boost your mood and give you that all-important sense of belonging.

5) Work on your self-esteem and confidence

At the heart of feeling unwanted is often not the relationship we have with others, it’s the shaky relationship we have with ourselves.

When we feel unwanted, it’s usually because we don’t feel good enough. We are judging ourselves, and so we are sure that everyone else is judging us too.

That’s why building your own sense of self-worth and self-esteem can work miracles.

You see, when you feel worthy, you feel confident. You feel like you belong. And that changes everything.

It changes how you relate to other people. It changes how you act. It changes how you think. It changes who you become.

A quick and easy exercise to try to create more self-love is listing your best qualities.

What makes you great?

If you struggle to see this in yourself, then treat yourself like a best friend would. Look at yourself from the outside and appreciate yourself.

When you’re working on self-esteem it’s important to make time for self-care.

This isn’t about bubble baths and shopping trips. Don’t neglect the simple yet vitally important things like diet and exercise. This vastly increases your overall feeling of well-being.

It’s also about allowing yourself the space to pursue your own passions and goals.

If you don’t know what they are, then play around with new things and go looking for them. Nothing builds confidence quite like pushing your comfort zone.

6) Watch your negative thoughts

Did you know that of the tens of thousands of thoughts that run through our heads every day, 90% of them are repetitive?

Yep. We think the same things, day in and day out on a loop.

It gets even more shocking when you learn that the overwhelming majority of those thoughts are negative.

That means negative thinking quickly becomes habitual and takes over. Once it’s stuck in your head it silently calls the shots.

Simply noticing when you think something negative that makes you feel bad can be the start of turning things around.

For example, when you find yourself thinking something like “I am unwanted” ask yourself whether this is unquestionably a fact.

Is there any chance it is not true?

What evidence can you find that actually, it’s a lie?

Every time you notice negative thoughts, actively try to find several positive thoughts to counteract them.

I know it sounds exhausting, but what you are doing is reprogramming your brain.

Over time, the more mindful you become of the stories you tell yourself, the easier it gets to choose a positive attitude over a negative one.

Our thoughts really can change our reality. Not even because of some mystical explanation. Simply because our thoughts are what ultimately shape our behavior.

You may discover that the more wanted you tell yourself that you are, the more wanted you will feel and the more wanted you will even become.

7) Give yourself what you are looking for from others

I’ve always been a total sucker for a happy ending.

Like many people, I grew up wanting my Prince Charming to come along and rescue me.

Even once we have grown up, most of us are waiting for someone else to enter our lives and complete us.

We can feel like there is something missing, but we think that we must wait for others to bring it into our lives.

Maybe it’s something practical we want to do, like try out a new hobby or activity, travel the world, or accomplish a dream.

Or maybe it’s something emotional. A feeling we want someone else to give to us — like love, confidence, or worthiness.

I recently saw an inspiring video by Justin Brown about loneliness when you’re single.

In it, he highlighted that when we feel something is missing in our lives, we all need to learn to give it to ourselves rather than wait for someone else to fill the gap.

He shared a practical exercise to shift your mindset and fill any voids you may feel in your own life.

He asks us to identify what we feel like we’re missing and then ask how we can start to bring those elements or qualities into our life right now.

It was really empowering and I think it will be really useful in this situation too. So here is the link to the video for you to check out.

8) Create clear boundaries

Boundaries are very powerful tools.

They help us define where we draw the line between what is and what isn’t ok for us. They are the rules we create over what we will and what we won’t accept.

They help us understand where we stand with others. Boundaries give us clarity. They allow us to have healthy relationships with ourselves and others. They protect us from being taken advantage of by others.

In order to set boundaries effectively, we need to first identify what we want to say no to. Then we must create a safe environment so that we can communicate clearly and honestly.

Here are some examples:

No matter how much I love my partner, if he doesn’t respect me or show me that he values me, I will walk away.

No matter how badly I want to please a friend, if they ask a favor of me that I’m not happy to do, I will say “no”.

When we have strong boundaries, we feel safer and stronger. We are less likely to get hurt emotionally or physically. And we are better able to protect ourselves from people who might take advantage of us.

To put it simply, we are happier.

Accepting behavior that doesn’t meet our standards can leave us feeling unwanted.

When you let your crush walk in and out of your life, playing hot and cold, you are bound to end up feeling unworthy.

When you keep giving, giving, giving to a friend or family member who never seems to offer support back, you feel deflated and used.

Boundaries are what shield us from getting into situations that can leave us feeling rejected and unwanted.

9) Take full responsibility for yourself

This is perhaps the tough love step that you need to hear…

A lot of the time we can end up feeling unwanted when we think someone else hasn’t met our expectations.

But the problem is that we make others responsible for our feelings. Then we feel let down when they fail to make us happy.

We were hoping she would call to check in, and when she doesn’t we feel disappointed. We were hoping he would fall in love with us after the first date, and so when he doesn’t want to have a second date, we feel rejected.

With all these silent expectations, we’re sort of setting ourselves up to become victims.

It’s important to remember that we are responsible for our own happiness. No one else actually has any control over how you feel. Those emotions are created within you.

Think of it this way:

When you’re in a good mood, someone can cut you off on the freeway and you just shrug and say ‘oh well’. If you’re in a bad mood you might rant, swear or seethe with anger.

The event is the same, but your reaction is what is different.

We may tell ourselves that someone “made us feel” a certain way. But if we’re really honest, we create our own emotions.

If we don’t like something about a person, we can decide to either stay or go. We don’t have to wait around for them to change before we move on.

The truth is that we all deserve to be treated well. And we deserve to be happy. So if you find yourself feeling unwanted, try taking full responsibility for yourself.

You are worthy of good things. You deserve to be happy. So start acting as though you already are.

10) Avoid these self-sabotaging defense mechanisms…

Feeling unwanted can trap you into a vicious cycle.

In order to avoid those feelings of being rejected or unloved, we can end up withdrawing even further into ourselves.

We may become passive-aggressive or push people away as a way of silently punishing them for the painful emotions we are experiencing.

We may decide it’s safer to disconnect and go into our own little protective bubble. But this only really makes those feelings of being unwanted grow.

We need to be vigilant in identifying defense mechanisms that don’t serve us.

For example, let’s say your partner, a family member or a friend is too busy to see you.

If that makes you feel unwanted by them, a defense mechanism might kick in which tells you “Screw them. If I’m not important to them, why should I make time for them either.”

But this then leads to a chain of events that only draws you further away from the love and connection you deeply crave.

Instead, recognize when you feel hurt or unwanted and try to find a more healthy expression or outlet for those emotions.

Don’t be tempted to “numb the pain” with unhealthy habits like alcohol, food, or spending hours on end alone.

Look to more constructive outlets — things like open communication, creative expression, exercise, breathwork, and meditation.

For instance, you could try this free Self-Healing Meditation as the first step.

It’s a 19-minute guided session that has helped me, and countless others, better understand our emotional landscape. 

The thing I like about it is that it’s more than just sitting quietly — it’s about active self-reflection and healing. 

That’s why I think it could be a great starting point to avoid your self-sabotaging defense mechanisms and navigate those feelings of being unwanted.

Click here to access the free meditation

To conclude: Why do I feel unwanted by everyone?

I suffer from motion sickness.

A captain of a boat once told me (as I was busy throwing up over the side) that motion sickness is 90% in the mind and 10% in the ear.

His point I think is relevant here too.

There can certainly be external factors that contribute to feeling unwanted. These are the 10%.

But the overwhelming majority of feeling unwanted starts and ends with us. It is our own thoughts, anxieties, attitudes, and beliefs that create this feeling.

That’s not something you should beat yourself up over. Instead, it is something you can use to empower yourself and turn things around.

Feeling more wanted starts with realizing how very special you are. The more you can love and accept yourself, the more you will feel like other people do too.

Louise Jackson

My passion in life is communication in all its many forms. I enjoy nothing more than deep chats about life, love and the Universe. With a masters degree in Journalism, I’m a former BBC news reporter and newsreader. But around 8 years ago I swapped the studio for a life on the open road. Lisbon, Portugal is currently where I call home. My personal development articles have featured in Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, Thrive Global and more.

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