The Psychology of Exclusivity: How Limited Access and Exclusive Membership Affects Your Mindset

Everyone wants to feel like they’re a part of something. From childhood, not being invited to a party or being excluded from certain clubs or groups is hurtful. 

That doesn’t go away as an adult. 

Times have changed, of course. You might not be involved in things like invite-only apps, or you might not be able to join private clubs or membership-only events. While the situations are different, the hurt can still be present. 

But how does exclusivity really affect your mindset? 

The Fear of Missing Out

The term ‘FOMO’ has become increasingly popular in recent years, mostly used to describe the fear of missing out on certain events or activities. However, you can also experience that same fear or disappointment when you’re deliberately left out, without making that decision for yourself. 

When you’re not involved in private clubs or events, for example, you might wonder why you can’t be. Maybe you’re not in a place financially to join certain clubs, or maybe you don’t have the “right” social standing. 

Wondering why you can’t be invited to something allows your mind to wander. It can eventually affect your self-esteem and create a lot of negative self-talk. 

Additionally, you might wonder what people who are invited to such things are doing. Are they having fun? Are they involved in something you would enjoy? Again, this allows your mind to wander, and it likely won’t go to a great place. 

Looking Outward Instead of Inward

When you feel you have limited access to anything, you’re bound to focus more outward instead of inward. You’ll be more focused on the exclusivity of the situation, rather than focusing on who you are, what you really want, and why that exclusivity bothers you. 

That is why it’s so easy to spiral into feelings of anxiety or even depression when you feel excluded. It becomes less about you and more about the outside world that you can’t control. 

When you do finally decide to look inward, you may have such a negative opinion of yourself that those feelings of depression become even worse. You’re more likely to deal with feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can affect both your physical and mental health. 

How to Fight Back Against Exclusivity

You may not be able to avoid exclusivity in your life. There will always be “clubs” you won’t be a part of, or events you may not be able to attend. 

But you can fight back against the negative mindset and anxieties it causes.  

One of the best ways to do that is by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness can feel like a bit of a buzzword these days, but it is a technique that is highly effective when done correctly. It allows you to focus on your breathing and the way you feel in the moment. When you practice mindfulness, you’re staying in the present, rather than worrying about the past or future. You don’t hang onto any thoughts that try to enter during that time. 

Mindfulness can help you feel more grounded in who you are and what you’re doing.  

Additionally, you can lean on the people you care about and the people who love you. Spend time with friends and family who want you around. They can provide you with the support you need to deal with feelings of exclusivity. That will help to boost your self-esteem and keep your confidence where it should be. 

If you’re really struggling with the idea of exclusivity or wanting to be included, feel free to contact Integrative Psychotherapy Group. Together, we can further discuss how it’s impacting your mindset and explore what you can do about it.