When you feel like you don’t matter, it’s tempting to express your doubts to someone else.
The common response? “Well, of course, you matter! Stop being so dramatic.”
And just like that, they’ve invalidated your feelings (with the best intentions) and left you feeling more alone than ever.
If you’re wondering, “How do I know if I matter?” we’re glad you’re here.
We know the feeling well — so well, in fact, that we’ve collected 15 answers to that question.
And unlike those intrusive thoughts, all of them are true.
Why Do I Feel Like I Don't Matter?
Let’s start with a list of possible reasons why you feel you don’t matter.
More than one of the following might help explain the maelstrom of dark thoughts and painful emotions you’re experiencing right now:
- Clinical depression
- Comorbid mental health challenges
- Bipolar disorder (BPD)
- Painful break-ups
- Toxic relationships
- Toxic workplaces
- Toxic beliefs
- Childhood trauma or shaming
You also need to take into account how long you’ve been telling yourself things like, “My life doesn’t matter” or “My opinion doesn’t matter.”
You need to know whether this is something relatively new for you or something you’ve been living with for years, possibly for as long as you can remember.
The treatment should address the whole picture.
How Do You Stop Feeling Like You Don't Matter?
You’re telling yourself, “I don’t feel important,” because your own thoughts have driven you to that conclusion. And those thoughts come from your beliefs…
- About yourself
- About your life
- About the world
The fact is most, if not all, of us, grow up hearing lies about ourselves and other people. We mistake them for truths and refer to authoritative texts that support them.
It takes a monumental effort to challenge those ideas and reclaim our true identity.
The effort comes in the day-to-day renewal of our intention to see ourselves as we are — not as other people see us and not as we’ve been taught to see ourselves.
I Don't Matter: 15 Reasons You Matter More Than You Know
If your knee-jerk answer to the question, “Do I matter?” is a half-hearted shrug or a “Probably not,” you need to read these 15 reasons you most definitely do matter — more than you realize.
Some will speak louder to you than others.
1. Everyone has emotional triggers.
Everyone has the same universal pain points — self-doubt, insecurity, and fear of not belonging. Some are better at hiding it than others, but we all have emotional wounds that flare up at the slightest touch.
Your past holds clues to your triggers, but we all have memories we’d like to erase.
The more you hold onto your painful interpretations of those memories, the stronger your reaction to each trigger.
2. Everyone believes stuff that isn’t true.
As mentioned above, we all grow up learning ideas about ourselves and other people that are based on flawed texts and age-old scripts that are only around because enough people still believe in them.
You don’t have to accept them, though.
Start with what you know to be true (not what you were taught to believe), and build on it by getting to know yourself and developing your gifts.
3. You have a superpower of your own.
Everyone has at least one thing they’re better at than most. What’s your thing?
Make a list of accomplishments and other moments you swelled with pride and felt good about yourself. What do those have in common? What do you enjoy doing even if no one pays you to do it?
Spend some time reacquainting yourself with what you’re good at and what lights you up inside.
4. What you’ve learned is getting you closer to where you want to be.
Everything you’ve experienced so far can teach you something about yourself.
But since you’re probably used to interpreting every experience using the lens of self-sabotaging beliefs, you don’t allow yourself to benefit from those lessons.
It’s time to change that. Brainstorm a list of memorable experiences and ask yourself what you can learn from them.
Be honest about how you’ve interpreted them and choose to see them as learning experiences.
5. Your low points are lessons, too.
Even the lowest points in your life can tell you things you need to know about yourself, about your place in the world, and about what you can do to make it better.
Think of one of these low points and review your interpretation of it and how that’s affected you.
Chances are good that you’ve chosen to use that experience to justify painful and untrue beliefs about yourself. But you can choose differently.
6. You don’t need to know what others think of you.
What others think of you is more about them than it is about you. Their perception of you depends on what they believe about themselves.
We all have different movies playing in our heads. Yours will be different from anyone else’s. Think of the internal slideshow when you listen to your favorite songs.
Scenes from your own life flash before your eyes, and you choose the soundtrack and captioning.
7. Sometimes, your inner voice is a jerk.
Your inner critic echoes your beliefs and is quick to reiterate the worst of these whenever you make a mistake. It knows just what buttons to push to hurt you most.
It’s worth remembering that what it says is usually not true. When it doesn’t lie outright, it takes a truth, distorts it into something only partially true, and exaggerates the untrue element to a painful extreme. The best way to counter this voice is with a simple truth.
8. Rejection isn’t failure.
It just helps you narrow down your options. Even if a lot of doors slam in your face, you can choose how to interpret those.
Other people’s rejection of you has more to do with them than with you, anyway.
So, instead of taking it personally, take it as a road sign. Use it to help you choose your direction from that point forward.
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9. Resilience is better than constant affirmation.
Getting your way all the time is overrated. So is having everyone around you tell you how great you are.
Not everyone will like you, and you need to be both aware of that and accept it without judging yourself or them.
The ability to get back up when someone has knocked you down (not literally, we hope) and get moving again will do you more good than being protected from criticism.
10. You are not alone / You don’t have to deal with this alone.
You need to know you’re not alone in feeling you don’t matter or that your ideas don’t matter, or that your feelings don’t matter.
And you don’t have to deal with those feelings alone if you don’t want to.
It can help to talk to someone who will listen quietly and then help you get to the root of those thoughts, so you can see and embrace the truth about yourself instead.
11. You don’t have to fix yourself.
If you want to believe you’re broken, just know that you’re no more broken than most other people on the planet. We all have our cracks. But your imperfections don’t make you any less worthy of love or less valuable to the world.
If anything, the wounds you bear help you fulfill your purpose, as long as you see them for what they are. Whatever strips you of illusions can help you see your way more clearly.
12. When someone treats you like you don’t matter, it’s about them.
People will say mean things to you along the way. They’ll see something in you they don’t like — something that feels to them like a personal affront — and they’ll call you out for it.
They’ll judge you and say they’re just “being honest.”
The lies we believe about ourselves influence how we see other people and behave towards them. How others treat you is about them and their beliefs — not you.
13. You don’t have to do big things for your life to matter.
You don’t have to do something worth recording in a history book for your life to be worth something. However small it may seem to you, your influence on others is something only you can give.
Your actions and accomplishments may seem insignificant when you’re feeling low. But, as you learned in school, every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
Every achievement leads to others.
14. You’ve made a more significant impact on others than you realize.
You don’t know what your influence on the people around you might lead to. One encouraging message from you could make all the difference in someone’s life.
Your impact may seem slight to you, but as it radiates outward, it grows and takes on a life of its own. Without you, legions of small but important changes would never happen.
Focus on doing as much good as you can.
15. Confidence can be learned.
You don’t have to have always been confident growing up. And your lack of confidence in the past doesn’t limit your ability to be confident in the present or future.
You can choose to be confident in your bearing, in your words, and your self-talk. No one gets to hold you back if you don’t let them.
Learn what it means to be confident, and make it a priority.
Do you feel like you don’t matter? It’s time to believe you do!
Which of these 15 reminders of why your life matters stood out for you? And what will you do this week to address the self-talk behind your torment?
Take a closer look at your beliefs, and be honest about which ones support the idea that your life is of little value to the world.
Take a look, too, at the company you keep, the books you read, and the things you listen to. Anything that tells you you’re too flawed to matter deserves the hell it creates.
You deserve better.