Do you struggle with feeling left behind?

Years ago, I wrote a post called Does it Feel Like Everyone is Moving Forward – Except You?  To date, it’s the most popular post on this blog.

This post has allowed me to understand something important about how people feel about this particular topic.

They sometimes feel they are being left behind.

Have you ever felt this way or are you feeling like this at the moment? I can relate. It’s a tough feeling.

Let’s look at ways we can overcome feeling left behind.

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Understand it’s just a feeling

Whilst I’m not implying that we should ignore our feelings, we need to acknowledge that our feelings are not always the truth.

Just because we feel we are being left behind, doesn’t mean that we actually are.

Often we take on a feeling and process it as if it is a fact.

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Re-frame your wording

Some serious re-framing needs to be done on this wording. Think of the words themselves. LEFT BEHIND.

Left implies an abandonment of some kind and behind conjures up thoughts of being inferior in some way. Hardly two words that are going to make you feel great!

Let’s get our re-framing hat on. Depending on your situation you might come up with a variety of different ways of expressing your feelings.

You could be doing your own thing, working at your own pace, doing what’s right for you, shaping your future, working out what you want to do next, taking some time to work out what you want, or trying something different.

I realize this exercise might sound a little cheesy but the language that you use is extremely important.

Try putting a more positive spin on your wording and see if that helps you feel better.

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Time for an attitude adjustment

Ditching the feeling of being left behind really is about making a significant attitude adjustment.

It’s about being okay with things being different.

An important thing to remember is that being different doesn’t necessarily mean that something will end or that a particular connection will be lost, that connection may simply change shape.

One example is when you are friends with someone at work and one of you leaves the company. Of course, you can stay friends once you no longer work together but most likely your relationship will shift slightly because you aren’t in the trenches with them every workday.  You might be able to relate to what they are going through at work but you aren’t experiencing it with them and that is going to create a slightly different dynamic.

Be prepared for some work relationships to dissolve once you change companies. With some work relationships, work is the common denominator and once that’s removed you might not have a lot in common. Of course, the great news is the opposite can happen as well, not working with someone can open the way for forming a stronger, much deeper connection outside of the work arena.

When we think about it, this scenario doesn’t just play out at work. It occurs in families, at school, and in all relationships.

Be okay with things being different from the way they were before. Get comfortable with the way life shifts.

One of our biggest problems can be dealing with our self-doubt. If self-doubt is a problem for you, I highly recommend taking the CreativeLive online course How to Break the Habit of Self-Doubt and Build Real Confidence course run by Mel Robbins.

I took this course myself at the beginning of the year and it was a total game-changer for me. You can read my review of the course in this blog post to see how it can benefit you as well.

Be proactive

In saying that, just because life shifts regularly doesn’t mean we have to sit back and do nothing about it.

In fact, this is where we can be proactive and take action.

Maybe one of the secret reasons we sometimes dislike change is that more work is required.  Have a look back at our earlier work example.  When you work with someone, all you have to do is stroll over and talk to them.  When you no longer work together, it takes more effort to stay in touch and see each other regularly.

This is the same when people get engaged, married, and have children. It takes more effort to keep that connection in place.

Instead of being reactive and feeling left behind, get in, and do something about it. Reach out to people and make arrangements. Be the one driving a positive shift in the relationship.

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Accept that things are changing for a GOOD reason

Each of us and the world we live in is constantly evolving. We can’t stop that, so the best thing to do is jump on board with the idea. Without change we are stagnant.

We have to stop thinking all change is going to be BAD. Most change leads us to bigger and better things or at least puts us on a path we need to take.

Don’t automatically assume that all change is bad. Look for opportunities and possibilities instead.

Related post12 Thought-Provoking Change Quotes

Let go

This one is always the hardest. Sometimes we need to let go of people, situations, and even dreams. (That last one can be super hard!)

Life is going to be a series of hellos and goodbyes. People may be out of our lives for many years, then return later on.

Thankfully some people stay in our lives for our entire lives and that is wonderful. We need to cherish those people and make sure they know exactly how important they are to us.

Other times people will come and go. It’s a natural flow. We try different things. Our tastes and needs change. We grow up and mature.

You can’t make someone love you.  You can’t make them stay with you or be your friend. I know it’s hard but if people want to walk away from you – let them.

You have bigger and better things to be doing other than crying over someone who isn’t crying over you.  (If you have read some of my earlier posts, you will know I learned this the hard way by wasting FAR TOO MUCH of my time crying over people who walked out on me. I’m happy to report that is no longer the case.)

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Run your own race

It all comes down to running your own race.

Running your own race means doing what is right for you and not just doing something because everyone else is doing it.  It means competing against yourself and growing as a person, instead of comparing yourself to other people’s progress and achievements.

It can mean taking two steps back to move forward, which might make us feel left behind but is, in fact, preparing us to take a giant leap forward.

People move at different paces.  People want different things.  Don’t feel left behind, simply because you want something different from someone else.

When you want something different, you might feel disconnected if the people around you don’t want the same thing but remember that there are a whole bunch of people out there who want what you do. Go find your tribe!

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Remember you are not alone

You might be running your own race but it doesn’t mean that you have to go through life by yourself. I think when it comes down to it, that’s what really scares us about feeling left behind.

We fear being left alone. We are afraid of being lonely.

Regardless of the amazing people in our lives, all of us have to deal with feeling lonely at times. Work out your individual formula for coping with loneliness.

If you feel left behind because your best friend just got married, that doesn’t mean that another amazing friend isn’t going to be there supporting you through the transition.

I’m sure you are aware of this already but marriage, relationships, and babies can be a major trigger for feeling left behind. If you know it’s a trigger for you, work out what actions you can take or what mindset you need to adopt to get yourself back on track, and feeling good.

Because people process feelings differently, there is no one size fits all approach. Work out what’s best for you and run with that.

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Focus on what you what

The feeling of being left behind talks more about what other people are doing instead of what you’re doing.

It’s time to focus back on yourself. Focus back on what you want.

Focus on your goals and dreams and what you want to happen today and tomorrow.

If you are doing what you dearly want to do (even if progress is slow and you feel overwhelmed at times) you’ll be much less likely to jump into a feeling left behind mindset.

Remember you are carving your own path – not being left behind.

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Read Next – 10 Important Ways to Make Yourself a Priority