Being judgmental and friendships

Even though I’m an extroverted person, inside, I have quite a bit of anxiety about people. Do they like me? What do they think of me? I think it stems from my awkward days as a tween and in elementary school and then later on, my mother comparing me to my brother who was always more popular in terms of knowing and befriending people.

To this day, even though I am 40 years old, I feel this way about other parent-friends. There are cliques and drama at my son’s school and I can’t help but get sucked into it sometimes. For example, today, I hung out with a couple of parent friends from my son’s school and they both bonded so quickly because their kids went to school in-person, while my son was doing remote work. I felt a tinge of sadness and then, I felt 10 years old all over again – like why can’t I be that “cool” kid who’s accepted by all the other moms?

So, rationally, I know that I need to give myself love and I don’t need the approval of others. I did a thought download and a model using an app on my phone.

But my question is, what should I be doing next? I still feel icky. Should I be practicing thoughts in my IM or should I just sit there and feel sad? I don’t think it’s reasonable for me to jump from “I feel left out and sad” to suddenly, “I don’t care what others think because I love myself.” I believe it on a theoretical level, but it doesn’t enter every fiber of my being, in the same way that my sadness and longing for approval takes over my body. So what do I do? How do I get to a place of self-love in this instance?