You view everyone you meet as an individual right? What if I told you that almost every opinion most of us form is influenced partially, or wholly, but societal stereotypes? It’s a shocking revelation but one you can break free of.
The Most Common Boxes We Sort People Into
It’s a sheer reality of modern-day human nature, but we consciously and subconsciously sort people into boxes. Some of the most common boxes are related to gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion. However, we sort people into a far longer list of boxes based on factors such as their marital status, occupation, education, and even their hobbies. For example, what personality do you associate with a leather-clad biker? Starving artist? Lawyer? Or how about a never married man or woman past the age of 40?
Determining If You Are Thinking Critically Or Societal Stereotyping
While you may have a general perception of, for example, lawyers you might believe that you are capable of viewing someone you know on an individual basis—but this is trickier than you might imagine. Even if you spend a lot of time “figuring someone out” odds are that all you are really doing is investing a lot of time sorting, or trying to justify why they really do fit into the stereotyping society has carved out for them. Then you subconsciously translate all they say and do to support this false narrative.
If it helps, consider how frustrating it is when someone limits your potential or creates a false narrative about you. See each person as unique, not as their societal labels.