12 reasons you feel like an outsider even as an adult – and how to overcome it

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Feeling like an outsider is an experience most of us relate to, at least occasionally. But what if this feeling persists even as we transition into adulthood? What’s going on there? And more importantly, how do we navigate it?

Grab a cup of tea and let’s dive into the 12 reasons you might still feel like an outsider even as an adult – and how to overcome it.

You might just find the answers you’re searching for.

1) You’re a highly sensitive person

As a highly sensitive person, you may find yourself feeling like an outsider more often than not.

You feel things deeply, and sometimes this can make the world seem overwhelming.

This can create a sense of disconnection from others who don’t share your level of sensitivity.

However, being highly sensitive also means you have a unique perspective and a deep understanding of emotions, which can be a strength when harnessed correctly.

The key is to understand your sensitivity and learn to navigate it in a way that serves you best.

2) You’re an introvert

Contrary to popular belief, being an introvert doesn’t just mean you prefer quiet nights in over wild parties.

It also means that you tend to process information internally, often spending a lot of time in your own head, thinking and reflecting.

In fact, Albert Einstein, a known introvert, once remarked, “The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”

However, living in a society that often values extroverted qualities like sociability and outspokenness can make introverts feel like they don’t quite fit in.

This feeling of being an outsider can persist even as an adult.

Embrace your introverted nature as one of your unique strengths. You have the ability to think deeply, listen attentively, and work independently. 

3) You’re too adaptable

Ironically, being too adaptable can sometimes make you feel like an outsider.

You might be so good at fitting in and blending with different groups that you lose a sense of your own identity.

You become a chameleon, constantly changing colors to match your environment.

This can lead to a feeling of disconnect from yourself and others, as you’re never truly presenting your authentic self.

It’s important to remember that while adaptability is a valuable trait, it should not come at the cost of losing yourself.

Embrace who you are, and let people appreciate the real you.

4) You’re a perfectionist

I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist.

I used to think that if I looked perfect, acted perfect, and worked perfectly, then I would never feel like an outsider.

But this is a dangerous trap to fall into.

Striving for perfection can lead to feelings of inadequacy and alienation because, let’s face it, no one is perfect.

It’s crucial to understand that everyone has flaws and makes mistakes.

Perfection is not attainable, and striving for it can lead to unnecessary stress and feelings of isolation.

Learning to accept imperfection can help you feel more connected with others and less like an outsider.

5) You’re a deep thinker

Being a deep thinker can often make you feel like an outsider.

You’re not one for idle chit-chat and prefer to engage in meaningful, thought-provoking conversations.

This can sometimes make it hard to connect with people on a superficial level and make you feel like an outsider in certain social situations.

But don’t despair – your ability to think deeply is a gift.

It allows you to understand the world in ways that others may not.

It’s about finding the right people who appreciate your depth and with whom you can have those fulfilling conversations.

6) You’re not into popular culture

If you’re someone who isn’t interested in popular culture – the latest TV shows, music hits, or trending social media topics – it can sometimes make you feel like an outsider.

Conversations often revolve around these topics, and it can make you feel disconnected when you have nothing to contribute. However, it’s absolutely fine to have different interests.

Your uniqueness is what makes you, you.

Find your tribe – people who share your interests and passions. They are out there, and they will value your unique perspective and interests.

7) You’ve experienced trauma

Trauma can create a deep sense of being different or feeling like an outsider.

Whether it’s a loss, abuse, or any other traumatic event, these experiences can significantly impact your view of the world and your place in it.

You might feel misunderstood or isolated because of your past experiences.

However, it’s crucial to remember that healing is possible. It’s okay to seek help and connect with others who have had similar experiences.

You are not alone, and your experiences do not define your worth or your ability to connect with others.

8) You struggle with self-esteem

Let’s face it.

Low self-esteem can make you feel like you’re on the outside looking in.

When you constantly doubt your worth, it’s easy to assume that others don’t see the value in you either.

This can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy, where you distance yourself from people because you believe they wouldn’t want to be around you anyway.

But hear this – your worth is not determined by what others think of you.

You are enough just as you are.

Building your self-esteem takes time and practice, but once you start recognizing your own worth, the feeling of being an outsider will start to fade away.

9) You value authenticity

If you’re someone who values authenticity, superficial interactions can leave you feeling like an outsider.

You crave real, genuine connections and conversations, and anything less can feel unfulfilling.

The downside is that in a world often focused on surface-level interactions, this can make you feel disconnected.

But remember, your desire for authenticity is not a weakness, it’s a strength.

It may take time to find those who resonate with your depth and sincerity, but when you do, those relationships will be all the more rewarding.

10) You’re a non-conformist

Being a non-conformist means you don’t follow the crowd just for the sake of fitting in.

You have your own ideas, beliefs, and values, and you’re not afraid to stand by them, even if they’re unpopular.

While this can sometimes lead to feeling like an outsider, remember that it’s also a mark of courage and individuality.

Don’t compromise who you are for the sake of fitting in. Those who appreciate your authenticity are the ones worth keeping around.

11) You’ve been bullied or excluded in the past

Past experiences of bullying or exclusion can leave lasting marks, making you feel like an outsider even as an adult.

These experiences can make it difficult to trust people and form meaningful connections.

It’s important to recognize that these past experiences do not define you.

It might be helpful to seek professional help to heal from these experiences and build healthier relationships moving forward.

12) You’re an over-thinker

Overthinking can often lead to feelings of being an outsider.

When you overanalyze every social interaction or conversation, it’s easy to convince yourself that you don’t fit in or that people don’t like you.

It’s important to remember that your thoughts aren’t always accurate representations of reality.

Practicing mindfulness and grounding techniques can help quiet the overactive mind and help you feel more connected with those around you.

Understanding your outsider feelings

Feeling like an outsider can be a complex and multifaceted experience. It’s not just about being different or not fitting in; it’s about feeling disconnected, isolated, and often misunderstood. These feelings can be deeply ingrained, affecting your self-perception, relationships, and overall well-being.

But it’s crucial to understand that these feelings of being an outsider are just that – feelings. They are not definitive statements about who you are or your worth. Remember, we all have a unique journey, and there’s no one ‘right’ way to experience life or connect with others.

It’s also important to remember that everyone feels like an outsider at some point in their lives. Even the most confident and sociable individuals have moments where they feel out of place or misunderstood. You are not alone in these feelings.

Finally, consider seeking professional help if these feelings become overwhelming or hinder your daily life. Therapists and counselors are there to provide support and strategies to help you navigate these complex emotions.

It’s not about changing who you are to fit into the world; it’s about finding where you fit in the world while staying true to who you are. And sometimes, it’s about creating your own space where you and others like you can belong.

Nguyet Yen Tran

Yen is a freelance writer and a researcher specializing in mental health, self-awareness, and psychology. Her hobby is studying human behavior throughout their reaction upon situations.

Be sure to check out her other posts on our blog.

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