By Hwaa Irfan
Finding one’s individuality in these times of illusory freedom can be a difficult course to navigate. The word “democracy” is thrown around far too often as an indication of a society that is liberal and progressive, but as one can see in the liberal democratic U.K. with the recent riots across the nation, “democracy” means being a member of the club, and if you are not a member of the club “suffer in silence.”
Individuality in the spiritual context is not about “I” but about “we” in other words in order for “us” to be a wholesome society, the individual has to be able to discover their talents or God’s gifts to realize their purpose in the world in which we live. It is only then that we are truly able to shine, and through our own self discovery and fulfillment of our own potentials that we are able to give to others.
This is not what society teaches us today, in fact it inflates the “I” which becomes a hungry unsustainable beast never able to conscientiously give to the common good, hence why the common good is suffering badly from neglect. The human spirit is eroded leaving many susceptible to mental ill health.
However, we are social beings, which in today’s context means belonging to the collective “I” leaving the personal “I” wanton and starved of ever reaching a potential in many cases. Unless the human spirit is strong enough, and balanced enough, what happens is the human instinct takes the driving seat out of the innate desire to belong or “be accepted.”
Nathan Dewall, a psychologist at the University of Kentucky stated:
“If you turn on the television set, and watch any reality TV program, most of them are about rejection and acceptance.”
DeWall and Brad J. Bushman of Ohio State University recently reviewed psychological research on social acceptance and rejection.
The Affects of Rejection
- Poor physical health
- Poor sleeping habits
- Poor immune system
- Die earlier without a support system
- Poor mental health
DeWall said that people with social anxiety police their world constantly out of fear of rejection, and the feeling of rejection can contribute to violence, and that violence can be internalized in the form of suicide. On reviewing the cases of 15 school shooters, DeWall and Bushman found that the shooters were all socially rejected. Those who lash out at others give more rage than they can personally stand. If in a position of power, as an employer for instance, they tend to give destructive evaluations of prospective job candidates.
Dewall recommends that:
- One should realize everyone is going to experience rejection throughout life.
- To realize that it is impossible to expect others to be nice one’s entire life
- When rejected to seek out other sources of friendship
“A lot of times, people keep these things to themselves because they’re embarrassed or they don’t think it’s that big of a deal” Dewall comments.
Even if we pacify our minds our bodies respond, and that should be taken seriously because it is a symptom of unsolved issues.