In 1985 I watched a movie, while at graduate school, The Breakfast Club. The movie was set as a comedy, however as I watched the movie the plot opened my eyes.
Opened my Eyes to What I Experienced
Opened my eyes to what I experienced while in high school. A “social” structure that identified individuals as being in a clique: a “jock”, “a freak” or a “nerd”.
In my experience, in high school and as demonstrated through the movie, cliques were the way that students interacted. Each movie character represented a clique.
As in My High School
As in my high school, each individual in the movie found themselves identified with a “clique”. The individual was labeled and stereotype as a member of the clique.
When this happened the individual was not seen as an individual, but as a stereotype of a “clique”.
Although I was athletic, I did not play varsity sports so I did not fit in with the “jock” clique. I was not rebellious or antisocial so I did not in with the “freak” clique. I was smart, so I found myself being assigned to the “nerd” clique. Being in this clique resulted in my being picked on and bullied by people in cliques.
As a result, I found myself being made fun of by the “jocks” and “freaks” because I did not fit into their cliques in high school. Growing up, the impact of a brain injury did not help matters. I found myself rejected and excluded as a “nerd” and ostracized for reasons that I did not understand — my invisible disability.
As I have surveyed my life, I have found myself interacting with similar”cliques”.
Recently I have started back interacting, in person, with groups of people (after Covid). Interestingly, I found myself triggered and experiencing an “emotional hangover” after interacting with specific individuals.
Because of my emotional hangover I took time to process what I was experiencing in a journal. Through writing what became apparent was that these individuals remind me of individuals in these “cliques”.
Why these individuals reminded me of my experience with cliques, was not as important as examining why I was triggered. By examining why I was triggered, I was able to let go of the emotional hangover.
Being Rejected and Excluded by Individuals or Groups of Individuals
Being rejected and excluded by an individual or groups of individuals is not all about me. Therefore, I am able to better detach, realizing that I may be rejected and excluded based on a prior “clique” mindset.
People are who they are in their stage of maturity. Sometimes, for whatever reason, people (including myself) can be “stuck”. As a result, they may feel comfortable relating though familiar”cliques”.
With this awareness and understanding, I am better able to practice, live and let live and quit taking it personally. Quit taking it personally when I interact with individuals who”trigger” me.
Tools to Empower Serenity
With this awareness and understanding I am better able to detach emotionally. Detach emotionally when I feel rejected, excluded or ostracized when I interact with an individual (s) operating from a “clique” mindset. I am better able to practice live and let live. In the process, I am better able to keep the focus on myself, run my own race, be of maximum value and service to a loving God, to other people and to myself.
Below is a prayer that helps me to embrace compassion for both myself and other people.
Peace Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Below are links to several articles that I wrote that helped me understand what I was experiencing and helped me. As questions come to mind, please send those questions to me. All questions a good questions.
The information in these articles may also help you. Click on the links to read the articles: