7 Things to Realize When You Think You Don’t Matter

Woman in a Ski Jacket

“I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.” ~Hafiz of Shiraz

Have you ever felt like you didn’t matter?

Were you ever held back from pursuing something because the voice in your head said, “Why bother?”

You’re not alone.

I once felt that way too, but I discovered a way out of that dark time.

In my early twenties, fresh out of college, I had my first professional job interview. I had the blissful optimism and naiveté characteristic of most college grads seeing a world full of infinite possibilities.

And although optimistic, I was understandably apprehensive because it was relatively difficult for a first-time interview.

It consisted of the following:

  • An interview lasting one to two hours conducted by a panel of eight to ten people.
  • Answering questions in Spanish since being bilingual was a requirement.

I prepared for a week and hoped for the best.

In the beginning, the situation was quite unnerving with everyone watching and analyzing me, but then it got relatively easier. Yet, just when I started to feel somewhat comfortable, someone asked me a question in Spanish (my big weakness).

I wasn’t confident speaking conversational Spanish, so when I answered the question, I completely choked, and my Spanish sounded like I was a toddler learning how to talk. All of a sudden one of the other interviewers belted out raucous laughter, and the humiliation poured over me like a waterfall.

After ten seconds of awkward silence, the rest of the interview didn’t matter because I felt more insignificant than a speck of dust.

And, not only did I not get the job, but the resulting humiliation also destroyed my self-worth and bruised my youthful, inexperienced ego.

I didn’t bother interviewing for another job for almost a year.

Not until I had some clarity one day looking into my daughter’s eyes did I realize how I had allowed someone to control my life like an invisible bully.

I wanted to take back control, move on, and not live life feeling so small.

I had to be strong for my daughter and regain my self-worth.

I realized seven things we should remember when we think we don’t matter:

1. We all have the same emotional pain points: insecurity, self-doubt, and fear of not belonging.

As different as we all are outwardly, we feel the same emotional pain. Some of us hide it or mask it with anger, mean-spiritedness, and insensitivity, while a minority can clearly communicate that pain in a healthy way. In the end, we all want the comfort of belonging to a group and the feeling of sincere acceptance.

Stop feeding your pain by comparing yourself with others.

Whether it’s a lack of success in relationships, financial issues, or being insecure about your body, focus on the emotional indirect connection with others instead, and feel less alone by knowing you share this pain with everyone

2. You were blessed with a “super power.”

You may not know it, but you can do something so easily that you take it for granted. If you are unsure what that super power is, take the time to deeply reflect on the possibilities: intuitive, artistic, empathic, talented dancer or musician, skilled cook, caring, organized, etc.

This is your super power or skill you are blessed with. No matter what you think, this blessing is significant, so recognize you have a gift, use it, and share it with the world.

3. Confidence can be learned.

You may think that people are born confident, but this isn’t true; confidence can be learned. It also can be rebuilt. For me, the difficult first step of doing another job interview began the process of rebuilding my confidence, and steadily my confidence grew with each interview I tackled afterward.

Know it’s possible and don’t get shut down by the myth that you either have confidence or you don’t. Learning to be confident will test your comfort levels, but building confidence is a process that even the most timid can achieve.

4. Look at low points in your life without self-judgment.

Just like we take care of a physical injury, emotional pain also must be taken care of in deeply caring ways.

The most important thing to do when you are at a low point in your life is don’t judge or self-blame. Punishing yourself by going through that mental loop of I deserve this, or I’m worthless is like walking on a broken leg; you won’t heal.

Be gentle to yourself, give yourself time, and rebuild your strength—you’ll get through.

5. Of all the voices in the world, the loudest and most insidious is your inner voice.

The inner critic wants you to believe the lie that you must be perfect. Trying to be perfect all the time strips the joy out of life.

If you don’t accomplish goals, don’t know what you want yet, and make numerous mistakes, that’s okay because life is about discovery.

The only obligation you have is to be true to yourself. Don’t empower that inner critic by listening. Instead, drown out that voice by talking to yourself in more encouraging ways; you’ll live your life with more joy this way

6. You don’t need to know what others think. In other words, nobody will please and be liked by everyone.

Stop obsessing about what others think. You can’t control their thoughts because it isn’t within your control. So let go of that forever.

Free yourself and know that you can’t possibly please everyone. The greatest creators, dreamers, and innovators faced the worse kind of adversity and were hated by many people. Just be the real you and nothing more.

Don’t allow others to validate your worth; all you need to know is you are doing the best that you can do, and that’s enough.

Throughout your life, gather the ideas, thoughts, and opinions of others, but always look within and live your truth. We all want acceptance, but if you never live your truth, you will always be imprisoned by other people’s opinions.

7. Rejection is not failure; it means something better that you deserve is coming.

That rejection by a love interest or that HR Manager for the job opportunity you really wanted is not a failure. You are simply in the process of getting what you deserve and what is right for you.

The doors that slam in your face may be many, but soon you’ll realize they were secret blessings that you will look back on fondly. When people say, “No,” keep trying and eventually you’ll find that one proverbial door that will finally be the one meant just for you.

Rejection is better than doing nothing because you’re at least trying and building momentum, regardless of how crappy you may feel.

If you want something, momentum begins when you take the first step, even if it is the tiniest step.

Make Your Inner Light Burn Brighter

Regardless of all the curveballs that life throws at you, know that you completely matter.

You may feel your self-worth has been lost, but don’t lose hope.

Focus on what connects you with others (both flaws and strengths), embrace your superpower and not your weaknesses, strengthen your confidence one step at a time, and be empowered to accomplish your dreams.

Know that everyone endures the ebb and flow of life in different ways.

Before you know it, the bounce will return to your step, and your confidence will radiate the room.

It’s only a matter of time.

Let me know which of these points you’ll embrace today.

Woman in a ski jacket image via Shutterstock

About Melissa Lopez

Melissa Lopez is motivated and committed to helping people build confidence and stamp out their self-limiting beliefs with her personal development blog Bold Steps for a Big Life. Get your free resource 5 Books That Will Help You Step Out of Your Comfort Zone.

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  • Bullyinglte

    Wonderful article and your seven items are all so important. Not the least of which is important is that you also have to LOVE yourself first, before you can share LOVE with others. Don’t look at others for LOVE or approval, look within first and then share that feeling you have with others. We are in charge of how we feel. If we are angry, it is our internal feeling and only if we let someone make us feel this way. It is such an important lesson to learn. Thank you for sharing.

  • Kadu

    Thank you for this timely article. It helps lift my head up and see my own light.

  • ericaled

    “Rejection is not failure; it means something better that you deserve is coming.” – I wish I could actually believe that. Over a decade of romantic false starts and countless times getting dumped is starting to wear on me. Thanks for the uplifting article, though. I’m working on coming around!

  • Hi Melissa
    Thank you for sharing your experience and insights. I imagine that was a very painful experience, especially against the backdrop of that ‘take the world by storm’ excitement of building an awesome new life post college. I wholeheartedly agree with all of your tips but a few resonated with me in particular.

    The first is confidence being able to be learned. That is absolutely true since whatever negative view we have of ourselves now is something that was formed over years of falsely taking other’s opinions of us as true, etc..that formed a bunch of negative beliefs that were simply mirrored back to us, which we mistakenly take as ‘proof’ they are true.

    The second is all of us having a superpower.We all have unique talents and strengths.

    Third, the idea of not getting what we want as part of the path to getting what we do. I believe our world is a mirror of our internal life, and if we can examine how unwanted situations made us feel, we can see what might have attracted them and what we can shift to create a more desired outcome. Second, sometimes things we dont like happening is the best way to figure out what we do want.

    Great post!

  • Your outlook on life being about discovery is great, especially where it relates to the points you made on the importance of not dwelling on mistakes or falling short of reaching goals. Also I like the “invisible bully” concept you mentioned. It is an interesting way to look at how we view ourselves and our worth in relation to everyone else. I haven’t heard or read a phrase like that in some time; it’s such a poignant takeaway in terms of reflecting on inner-strength that rises and falls from one day to the next. As it’s only Monday, I sure do hope to remember this as the week continues on.

  • gsfraser

    God I wish one of you could write an article I could understand. Not your fault, and no need to reply. Just wish I could understand what I don’t, and believe what I don’t believe. I can put every paragraph into one of those two categories.

  • Reader

    Hello and thank you for your article. Can you expand more on the second point (“super power”)? I’m not sure everyone has something that special or unique about themselves. Even skills that people do have are also had by others who are more proficient. There is little need or point in sharing your “super power”. I do not believe anyone cares.

  • Melissa Lopez

    Thank you for taking the time to read and adding a very inciteful comment too. Yes, the key is to celebrate yourself and the journey you find yourself on. I completely agree that we are in charge of how we feel. It is one of the most difficult things to grasp especially when we are at our most lowest and for some this comes easy but for most it is a work in progress but we can all achieve this. Thank you again and also for your kind words.

  • Melissa Lopez

    Thank you Nicole for not just reading but reading with a thoughtful and wonderful analysis as well and I hope this post helps remind you of your inner strength not only for this week but for the rest that follow. Dwelling on mistakes is what often stops us from moving forward. Learning from mistakes is where the work comes in because we have to separate momentarily the emotions we feel from these mistakes. Thank you for summing up the message about life as discovery, which is namely the discovery within yourself. Your thoughts were heartfelt.

  • Melissa Lopez

    Thank you Kelli for taking the time to read and for your kind words. The fact this post resonated with you melts my heart as this is the very first post I’ve ever written that reflects a very personal story and from which I I learned a great deal as you can see. I’m so happy it helped remind you of your own personal strength. Yes, I completely agree with all that you say here and one of the things I love is that your revealing how we are not powerless to our circumstances. When we not only feel but then also take the time to examine our experiences, we learn so much about the extent of our inner strength. Your comment adds more wonderful uplifting advice to the post and I’m grateful that you took the time.

  • Melissa Lopez

    I feel you and am happy to hear you are coming around. The fact that you opened up and revealed something deeply personal shows a tremendous amount of strength. Thank you for taking the time to read and for commenting. I’m happy it uplifted your spirit in some way. Take care.

  • Melissa Lopez

    Thank you Kadu. It is so rewarding to know I helped remind you of your beautiful inner light. Thank you for commenting.

  • Melissa Lopez

    Thank you and it is my pleasure to help in any way. Yes, good question. The post hopefully sparks an inner dialogue within yourself so you can rediscover yourself in a positive way and in turn celebrate yourself as a result. When I talk about superpowersit is just a fun way for you to realize your strengths. We often overlook what we do that is so easy until someone points it out to us or we notice someone asks us to help them because they ser in us the strengths they take for granted. As examples, I know someone who can read a novel in a day and someone who can organize a room so that it has practical and aesthetic value. The point is to celebrate these things about yourself and not see them as trivial. So when it comes to sharing these things it is not about getting validation from others of your gifts but a self confidence or self awareness that you have these gifts. Thank you for commenting and for your question. I hope this helps clarify a bit.

  • Melissa Lopez

    All thoughts and comments are valued and appreciated. Thank you for just taking the time to read. If there is anything I can help with specifically let me know. Take care.

  • gsfraser

    Can’t fix this kind of broken. All claims that I’m not broken need prove it before replying.

  • Thanks for your insightful article, Melisa! I grew up feeling insecure. The biggest battles on that front are over, but I still have my moments. On the job scene, I got rejected a lot, but always felt that was their loss–not being able to see my strengths. Using a mentor, coach or friend to check in with for accountability in making those small steps you speak of is essential to me. However, I need to watch out for my tendency to use mirroring to an extreme. Especially when those mirror tend to be dirty.

  • Joel Hansson

    It’s so weird. I would never Have been writing this if it wouldnt have been cuz of alcohol. I’ve been blessed in my life. From a really early age I’ve meet monks, alchemists, and schamans. Still I come back to the suicidal point. Everything you talk about is something i’ve found out by myself thru meditatiion, But I cant seem to get a foundation in it, I always come back to seperation and depression. Yes, It’s probably my choice, and stil I dont know why I choose this. I’ve been fighting all my life for truth and purpose. But the illusion has got a such hard grip in me, and my view of everything that I can’t seem to break thru. well I dont even know why Im writing all this.

  • Billy

    If everyone had superpowers they would cease to be “super”. I disagree with this point
    Also, rejection does not always mean something else better is coming. How many people have been rejected due to lack of preparation, insufficient talent, inferior resume, etc… and didn’t not reach anything worth notoriety? For every story of a person who gets the “something better” there are 1000 stories of failure.

  • gsfraser

    Been thinking on this. There is something specific you can help with: Prove the implied “fact” of the title of your article. That is, “prove,” as you would in a court of law or scientific study, that you “DO” matter.

  • Dannimon Coutee

    This article convinced me that i should kill myself.

  • Ian Corral

    Sounds like idealistic nonsense. Not everyone has a superpower, some people are just mediocre.

    Confidence is really something you have or don’t. Those who have it get over failure and the rest don’t.

  • Carter Davenport

    Why do you bother finding purpose in something that wasn’t meant to have any? You don`t matter, none of us do. Our actions are worthless and kind of pathetic, telling ourselves that we do, somehow matter, is just trying to cover up the obnoxiousness of our existence and plaster it with comforting lies.

    Call me a pessimist..
    It doesn’t matter,
    nothing does.

  • Tomspy77

    All I hear is after college, where I learned skills and had a social life, I had to face a (gasp!) job interview! Oh noes! Will my silver spoon of education and most likely proper socialization fail me now??

    Can we have an article that makes examples of true adversity, like being an adult survivor of mental abuse or having no family, friends or life?

    Something people REALLY in trouble and mental crisis can relate to?

    But no, we get a person, little proud degree in hand, complain about how bad their little job interview went.

  • Tomspy77

    Riiiighttt… With your aspect I’m sure you have so much negative talk…

  • Tomspy77

    It’s not uplifting, she does not relate to you… See how the other comments here got deep advice and a sense of connection?

    She most likely has no clue about romantic rejection by her picture and the fact her ‘most stressful time’ was a bloody job interview!

    Most likely, like me you’ve seen REAL pain (first world pain perhaps, but still) and fear, most likely also like me you will never fit in and be loved, sorry to say for both of us.

    They just keep people like us just appeased enough that we stay docile and continue to drink the Kool-Aid.

  • James McGrath

    I know this is an old article but tonight, I realized that I really don’t matter anymore, not to my wife and children. All I am now is the income, nobody cares ar has time for what I think or what I have to say. Nobody has time nor interest in what I have to say. They sit in front of their computers and become irritated if I say something only acknowledging that I said something if I ask if they heard me.
    Interestingly enough, the only people that are interested is people I don’t know. Oh, and a cat. I enjoyed the article but the fact is, sometimes we don’t matter.

  • Tomspy77

    I love how I challenged this whole piece and my comment was deleted… Guess the “pressure” of responding to a different view point on this was too much…

  • Desiree Ciak

    “As different as we all are outwardly, we feel the same emotional pain.”
    I definitely disagree. If the biggest moment that sticks out in your mind is people laughing at you at a job interview because you couldn’t speak Spanish, you know little of despair and sorrow..of feeling truly worthless. Feelings I am well acquainted with as a sex trafficking surviver. So no. Not all people feel the same pain.

  • rolfen

    We can feel like we don’t matter but we can remember ourselves that we do.

  • ZenMyAss

    This article is so ridiculous it isn’t funny anymore. Really? We all DESERVE something? People are horrible, especially Americans. When a woman leeches off of a man and cheats and then runs away and gets married she can chalk up her actions to ‘I deserve happiness!’ or ‘everything is a happy mistake!’ and rationalize that her actions were correct. But if a man does it, the world will try and kill him. How many stupid women have run away from lives they built with one group of people so she can have ‘a new adventure!’ or her ‘happy journey!’? Yeah, this eastern wisdom bullshit has lost all value – forever.

  • Chante Farsht

    I wish I could agree with you, but not everything is a superpower. Anybody can cook, or make a drawing of something they like, or who knows what, even if it’s bad. With my anxiety, the feeling of worthlessness and that my feelings and opinions don’t matter can be unpredictable when it comes to just “popping up” in my brain. It’s one of the loudest things I hear when I do, and I listen to music and shows REALLY loud sometimes (haha). But I’m trying to turn my failures around and it’s going fine. Before I know it, maybe failing a math class, or finding a job, will be the least of my worries and concerns.

  • Alex

    Sometimes it’s necessary to look into your own self. Although article is great and has good points, often solution can be found within. What kind of people you date, what kind of a “date” are you. There is probably a pattern.

  • Jen

    Mattering is so different than ego and greed, and your post here is about mattering. Thank you for this quick and clean inspiration.

  • I.R.H.

    There is no light in a tunnel, it is better to be a finger than a thumb.