Yes, I get it. We were all raised with certain prejudices about different things-including people, places, culture, food, etc. We have always been told about why we couldn’t eat a particular type of food (and by the way, this has nothing to do with allergies or anything medical for that matter) or become friends with a particular group of people, or live life in a particular way, all because they were considered somehow “detrimental” to our wellbeing. While there may be some truth in some of these biases, many of them are actually overrated.
For example, while growing up, we often were told about how one tribe was better than the other, or why it was in our best interests not to relate to people from certain cultures. And as funny as it may seem or sound, many of us grew into adulthood holding tenaciously to such beliefs, that it even affected our choices of whom to date, and so on.
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However, after over a decade working as a career professional, I have seen the impact of such strongly held ideologies, on people’s growth and development in the workplace. For example, I have come across people turning down offers to work with certain groups of people, just because of these long-held distrusts of others. Some people have even turned their backs on relationships that would have made them more fulfilled and brought out the best in them, just because of these strongly held biases of others. Some people refuse job promotions if it involves relocating to places they have cynical thoughts and ideas about. And all these distrusting practices we engage in, have the potential to limit our progress in life.
Personally, I have developed friendships and relationships with people who look nothing like me, and who have also helped me in my career rise. Something I probably would not have achieved, if I had allowed long-held biases, becloud my sense of reasoning and judgment. I have also met people, who at our first meeting, acted distrustful, cautious or guarded in their dealings with me because that was all they had ever been used to- anyone who doesn’t look like you or share your beliefs or cultural ideologies, must be full of mischief and misdeed. However, these same people totally changed their perceptions about me, once they got to know me better, and learned to appreciate me for my unique personality.
Sadly enough, society has found a way to continuously perpetuate these biases from generation to generation, that this has somewhat become a potentially vicious cycle. Teaching our kids to view others differently, or limit associations with people who do not look like them is an awful way to pollute the innocent minds of these little creatures.
As a society, and as responsible humans, we should all be focused on creating an environment of trust and warmth, which fosters growth and development, rather than focusing on how “different” we are. We should always remember that everyone is unique, with the innate potential of contributing something remarkable to the common good of society.
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You may be surprised to find that the person you have looked upon with scorn and disdain for so long, may actually be the one standing between you and your next break. But how would you ever know, if you do not ever give them the opportunity to prove that to you?
I also wanted to add that no society, community, culture or race is immune to this problem. We all engage in it, either consciously or subconsciously. And indulging in acts like these may actually be detrimental to achieving our common societal good.
So, what is the way forward? Can we be more accepting and trusting of others? Can we give up our long-held biases, and give others the opportunity to actually show the stuff they are made of? Can we be more loving and tolerating of people we consider as “impure” or “filthy?” Other than the whole lot of opportunities this may open up for you, the sense of peace that comes with loving and accepting other members of society may be the long-lost cure for that anxiety and even depression, that you may be dealing with. It is time to let your biases go!
To your continued success. Cheers!!!