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Life is about relationships. What happens when people are rejected and locked out of relationship with others?
…belonging to a group was probably helpful to our ancestors. We have weak claws, little fur, and long childhoods; living in a group helped early humans survive harsh environments. Because of that, being part of a group still helps people feel safe and protected, even when walls and clothing have made it easier for one man to be an island entire of himself.
But acceptance has an evil twin: rejection. Being rejected is bad for your health… They don’t sleep well, their immune systems sputter, and they even tend to die sooner than people who are surrounded by others who care about them.
Being excluded is also associated with poor mental health, and exclusion and mental health problems can join together in a destructive loop. People with depression may face exclusion more often because of the symptoms of their disorder — and being rejected makes them more depressed… People with social anxiety navigate their world constantly worried about being socially rejected. A feeling of exclusion can also contribute to suicide.
Exclusion isn’t just a problem for the person who suffers it, either; it can disrupt society at large… People who have been excluded often lash out against others. In experiments, they give people much more hot sauce than they can stand, blast strangers with intense noise, and give destructive evaluations of prospective job candidates. Rejection can even contribute to violence. An analysis of 15 school shooters found that all but two had been socially rejected. -Science Daily
Writing Prompt: Write about a character dealing with rejection.
Journaling Prompt: When have you felt rejected? How did you act? How did it affect you?
Art Prompt: Rejection
Nonfiction / Speech Writing Prompt: Write about the problem of exclusion and rejection in our culture.
Photo Credit: Billy Wuot on Flickr
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