The archetypal 17-year-old boy or girl, bullied for his or her looks or personality or sexual orientation or prudish disposition or disability, knows all too well the shame and rejection in the fact of their exclusion. Whether overtly or covertly excluded, they feel ashamed that they don’t measure up.
And millions feel this way. Silent suicides occur each year in the hundreds of thousands. Many of these felt excluded in an exclusive world.
Wherever there is not the beauty of inclusivity there is human suffering. Humanity was always meant to coexist with each other in inclusive ways.
The Cutting Nature of Rejection and Exclusion
Rejection and exclusion occur in all walks of life, particularly in the presence of passive aggressive types. Wherever there is a breed of insidious competition there exists the opportunity for rejection and exclusion to flourish.
There is no question that rejection and exclusion breed shame.
When we are shamed in these ways, when we have no comeback, as there are no options provided by the aggressor, it leaves us with no choice but to experience the shame for the rejection and exclusion never more deeply. It cuts to our hearts.
Rejection and exclusion cut like a knife through the agency of shame.
Promoting Community (Inclusivity)
When we understand the self-loathing nature of shame for rejection and exclusion we understand the importance of community—of support for one another.
Inclusivity is the principal of justice and fairness for all, in equal portents. No one person is greater than the sum. No one person is more important than another person, even though they may play different roles of unequal importance.
Community provides for people’s emotional needs by way of ensuring that shame is no desired outcome. Communities from two upwards rely on mutuality where one person is treated the same as another person. No one is excluded. No one is rejected.
People’s identities as a result are more secure; they feel loved and cared about.
The strength of such a community is in how it treats people for getting it wrong. When this community is a church, for instance, no failure is beyond its redemption. No failure is beyond forgiving. No failure should necessitate rejection and exclusion.
Failures can take us straight to shame, whereas belligerent performance—which should not be tolerated—has absolutely no shame about it.
The best of love is its inclusive nature. When we protect against rejection and exclusion, by being inclusive, we protect people from shame. If we could do one thing better within our families, our workplaces, and our churches, it is to be more radically inclusive. Nobody who is committed should ever be rejected or excluded.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.