This week, I got invited. I am on a girls’ trip to the Virgin Islands with friends from NYC. But sometimes I don’t get invited. I wasn’t invited to Erica’s birthday party in Jr High. I wasn’t invited to Pam’s summer party in High School. But even now. Sometimes I am not invited to a playdate with other moms or to a camping trip with other families.

And I think social media makes it worse. When I wasn’t invited to Erica’s birthday party, I had to endure hearing a few kids in the hallway at school talk about it. But if FaceBook had been around, it would have felt like I was surrounded with pictures and comments and “likes” – proof that I wasn’t liked.

That is how it feels, right? And, whether it is a Jr High party or a mommy-me playdate, when we see that we have been left out, and if we let our brains go unmanaged, we can fall into shame, there must be something wrong with me because they didn’t invite me, OR/AND judgement/resentment, I would have never left someone out the way they left me out.

And we tell ourselves a story.

“We are hard-wired to make sense of hurt, as fast as we can. And if we can come up with a story that makes sense of it, our brain chemically rewards us for that story. Whether it is accurate or not… We all do it.”

Brene Brown

Brene Brown calls this the Stupid First Draft, right? I have kept my SFD journal for months now, and it has really helped me manage my brain around hurt that I feel.

In the case of not being invited, if I were feeling some shame over not being invited, my SFD story would probably look something like this, using the model:

  • CIRCUMSTANCE: Jessica and Lidia planned a multi-family campout.
  • THOUGHT: I wasn’t invited. They must not think I am fun enough.
  • FEELING: Rejection
  • ACTIONS: I distance myself from them.
  • RESULTS: I have less connection.

In shame, I am making the “circumstance” mean something negative about myself. I am not fun enough. I am not popular enough. I think that whatever is going on is about me. Do you see that?

If I were feelings some judgement or resentment over not being invited, my SFD story would probably look something like this:

  • CIRCUMSTANCE: Jessica and Lidia planned a multi-family campout.
  • THOUGHT: I can’t believe they didn’t invite me. They are so mean to me. I would have never left out one of my friends.
  • FEELING: Anger
  • ACTIONS: I distance myself from them, or maybe even try to do something to prove how much nicer I am than them.
  • RESULTS: I have less connection.

Again, we just made the circumstance all about ME.

Run the model, my friends. Over and over again.

“We, as humans, are wired for connections… Brene Brown said, ‘Shame is the fear of not being connected with other human beings.'”

Connection is a basic human need. That means that there is room for hurt or disappointment around this need. And I don’t need to tell myself, Oh, Rachel. That shouldn’t hurt your feelings. That’s stupid. You are above that. Or whatever it is my brain goes to when it thinks I am thinking the wrong thoughts. It is natural and even good to have feelings – negative and positive – around connection or around a lack of connection.

“This is coming from a basic human healthy part of me that I don’t want to change. But I don’t want to feel like I’m on a rollercoaster – I don’t think that’s necessary… these huge highs and these huge lows. Instead I think it should just be some light rolling hills.

So I still feel a little bit of negativity when I don’t get invited and a little bit of positivity when I do. But it’s just little rolling hills, and it’s okay, I can totally tolerate that, I can manage that kind of emotion easily, and I can still be the person that I want to be at that level of emotion.” 

Let’s get us there. Let’s get us to rolling hills. Tomorrow we will talk a little more about how to get there – how to change those stories in our minds.

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