Is it just me? Am I just being sensitive? Am I invisible, or what?
You may find yourself in relationships or environments where your value is not appreciated or recognized. You may not see it at first- in fact, maybe you’re the last to know. But from time to time in life, you may experience the SHUT OUT.
The SHUT OUT happens in social circles, faculty, sports teams and offices, and sometimes even families. The SHUT OUT is when they (I’ll use they collectively) don’t see you as the valuable person that you know yourself to be.
Maybe you think to yourself, “Why wasn’t I invited to that?” or “Why wasn’t my name considered for that role?” or “Why doesn’t he look at me the way he looks at her?” Maybe you don’t have that pedigree, or that status, or that history, or that education, or that Gucci. Whatever IT is, you’re feeling under-valued and maybe even used. You feel like the Pecking Order has been set, and you’re on the bottom. Unbeknownst to you, the people above you in the pecking order have too much invested in their position to ever let you up.
You wonder, “How did I get here?” And even more depressing, you may wonder, “How did I get here, AGAIN?”
Sometimes, we unconsciously put ourselves in relationships and situations that replicate traumas of the past. We keep trying to get THEM to love us, accept us, or see our worth. But THEY will never do that. No matter how hard we work, or how much we share, or now often we reach out, THEY are incapable of valuing us the way we need. We’re barking up the wrong tree. We are drawing water from a waterless well. We are throwing our pearls among swine.
Did you know that there are relationships, offices, social circles and groups that DON’T do the Pecking Order Thing? It’s true! There are places and teams and relationships and partners that don’t do the SHUT OUT. There are people out there striving to operate in God’s light of love. People who want to value you for you. People who don’t want to step on you to get ahead. There are people out there who will pick you first for the team, not last. Yay for that!!
If you find yourself SHUT OUT and don’t know what to do… consider these steps.
Don’t Just Walk Away: you have something to learn from your SHUT OUT. Since you don’t want to visit this nasty place again, glean all that you can from this experience. Most importantly, learn as much as you can about YOURSELF. Ask yourself some questions- what did I do to set myself up for this? How was I attracted to this in the first place? What signs did I miss that were warning me in the beginning? How have I contributed to this problem? Did I send messages about my own self-doubt?
BIGGIE to ask yourself: In what ways am I NOT VALUING MYSELF, and how am I giving off the vibe that it’s OK for other people not to value me either? If you learn these things, you won’t leave one SHUT OUT to hop right back into another.
Determine when Enough is Enough– I wish I had the secret recipe for READINESS. Everyone is ready at different times to move out of unhealthy and into healthy. I look at my own life, and I see how God patiently teaches me the same lesson over and over until I’m a friggin expert. I’m like the karate kid, wax on wax off. Sooner or later, I become a badass at it. And once I’m competent, I’M READY and I don’t ever have to repeat that lesson again. Whew!
Watch the Magic: When you get to your READY stage, when enough is enough, and you’re ready to value yourself, watch God work. The fire is burning, the passion is alive, and for the first time in a long time, you are ready to go after something better. This is where God will be most apparent in your life. You will see provision after provision. You know why? Because God loves it when you embrace the VALUE in your own life.
Forgive it, baby: I know when God’s magic is happening in someone’s life when they are motivated with love, not anger. They are not blaming THEM, or angry at THEM or giving THEM the proverbial bird. They are motivated by love for themselves. They forgive and pray for the best for them. But, be open to the opportunity to SPEAK UP- you may have some work to do to say what you need to say, before your work is done.
If you’re in a circle, office or relationship that does not appreciate your value, take heart. It happens to all of us. You may feel like the only one, but you’re not. Follow these steps to get yourself moving again. You can do it!