Nixing Exclusivity

Exclusivity.

That’s a word a I do not like. It’s more than a word really; its meaning is much bigger than to be classified as just a word. Exclusivity has the power to evoke so many emotions, usually negative.
Exclusivity creates walls or barriers if you will. The definition states “shutting out all others from a part or share.” I see this word played out best through the illustration of a crowd of middle schoolers looking with disgust at a non-member of their group who tries to join in. The crowd rejects the other middle schooler who is just trying to fit in because they “don’t belong.” Whether it’s because the new person does not dress the same or is not pretty enough or cannot join in with all the jokes, the reasons do not matter. It all just creates a divide.
Honestly, I think it is part of our human nature. We all have a desire to feel as if we belong to something and to feel valued by others and sometimes it does not matter at what cost it takes to get it. Once we attain this feeling we try endlessly to keep it, because we would never want to go back to being the “outsider.” Blinders are built around our eyes blocking out anyone who tries to jeopardize our position, and we forget what it was like to feel like them: lonely, rejected, unwanted. It is sad that we are so forgetful about certain moments and emotions in life that we will so easily create this divide among people. I don’t blame people though, because I know I have fallen to it too.
When you are on the positive receiving side of exclusivity it feels good. You feel popular, valued, purposeful, powerful, etc. But I think it is important to remember that those feelings will eventually become fleeting because they are driven from others’ opinions of you, and opinions change. Once you’re “in” the group it does not make everything perfect or your insecurities go away, instead it only masks them for a while. Now you find that what you once prided yourself in is not longer your answer of relief.
If this has never affected you then count your  blessings, but we have all at least seen it. I wish I could say exclusive groups does not happen after middle school, but this is something we will always face whether it is on a team, in the workplace, at church or so on… But as we grow up what we can do is be more aware that it is happening in order to limit the spectrum.
My message is to promote inclusivity, inviting all people in! Stop building barriers that keep others out. The world alone makes this life hard, so why should we make it even harder on one another too? If we all believe we are pretty cool people with some stellar positive qualities why not choose to show that to everyone? As you go throughout this week let us all try to be more aware of how we exclude others. Put down the blinders and turn up the nozzle of our emotional intelligence to be conscious of how people surrounding us, not in the group, are feeling and acting! Make an effort to spread the joy!
Spread contagious Joy & Laughter.
~Carly
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