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8 Amazing Things Would Happen When You Let Go of Stereotypes

8 Amazing Things Would Happen When You Let Go of Stereotypes

There’s no single person just like you in the world.  Yes, every one of us is special and unique.  Moreover, we are all different.  Despite we recognize that we have different thoughts, values and life experiences, we easily become stereotypical towards others. We’ve all witnessed and experienced it.  Sadly a stereotype exists in every culture and society, and negative stereotypes seem far more common.

Research shows a stereotype impacts not only victims but also ourselves on unconscious level. Stereotyping is a common form of discrimination, and can be detrimental to those who experience it. People are often generalized and labeled based on gender, age, appearance, ethnicity, religion or any other factor in their identity. This can make stereotyped persons feel unfairly judged and their feelings on this matter can permanently alter their view of themselves and the world around them.

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So open your heart and get ready to share amazing things that would happen when you let go of these ugly stereotypes.

1. You will be free from judgment.

Despite our best efforts, we all judge others. It might be over small things or even bigger issues.  However, once you practice to put yourself in his or her shoes and try to understand where the person may be coming from, you will become more empathetic towards the person and the situation.  Gradually it will be easier to catch yourself before you make a judgment. Judging a person does not define who they are, it defines who you are.  As Dalai Lama says, “People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.

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2. You will become more positive person.

A stereotyped person views others in a negative light. In turn, the person who is stereotyped throughout their lifetime will become more aggressive and hostile toward people they encounter. These people may develop a bitter outlook on society, often assuming that others will discriminate against them and becoming defensive at the slightest inclination of a stereotype.  You see the vicious cycle? Thus, be the person who transmits positive energy instead of spreading negative emotions in you and others.

3. You will make more nonconformist friends.

Birds of a feather flock together.  You attract what you are.  There are probably some people who fit whatever stereotype you can think of and as a result, you may reject them right off the bat.  As the world is crowded, a lot of us feel isolated and miss the opportunity to connect. Imagine how many more allies you can make amongst over 7 billion people in the world, more than 320 million in US alone. Certainly you won’t be lonely.

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4. You will radiate more love to the universe.

Once again, remember Mother Teresa’s saying; if you judge you can not love.  You don’t have to be religious to claim we are here to serve, or a love for all humanity.  Giving and receiving love is a fundamental right and our deepest desire in every single soul.  A stereotype becomes a stumbling block to express love. One of scary effects of stereotypes is how it’s labeling people unfairly and can adversary shape our culture. Take the Holocaust and ongoing armed conflicts for examples. Welcoming someone that’s different than you with open arms is a foundation of building a peaceful place to live.

5. You will be a role model to children.

Stereotyping will impact the way how children think about others and themselves. Stereotyping is often learned at young age and encouraging bullying behavior that they carry into adulthood. They grow up thinking that they should behave or become certain way to be accepted and that’s the ideal.  Some biased messages from media also can be the blame.  You don’t have to be a parent or teacher to guide them not to be stereotypical.  Start with you first.  Treat others equally with respect regardless of sex, sexual orientation, race, culture, religion or personality. They are watching you and learning from you.

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6. You will be open minded.

In the Tedx “The danger of a single story”, Chimamanda Adichie argues that knowing a single story of a person or a country can cause misunderstanding and create stereotypes. This demonstrates how people are influenced by a single story of a country or a person, and are not aware of many other stories that could change the perception of them.  However, we can change and grow now. We can start making effort into getting to know people on a real level. How great would it be if we all tried to take steps towards greater acceptance in our lives?

7. You will be authentic to yourself.

This time, let’s assume you are the victim of being stereotyped.  Your self-esteem and self-image could have been damaged.  Sometimes in life, you are the one in your way.  You stand up for yourself, the good, the bad and the ugly, and what you believe to yourself and others. That’s when you are not judged by yourself who is your worst enemy. When you practice self-acceptance without judgment, you will find yourself being confident, empowering and authentic to your true-self, whether you are accepted by others or not.

8. You will contribute harmony to the society

Making assumptions about people’s cultures and where they come from is just something else that makes us inherently human, and will probably continue for a very long time. But we can all afford to be more aware of the world around us and respectful as we’re trying to understand different and unusual things. With all of this we can change our perception of the stereotypes that are deeply rooted in our culture and make of this a better society. With one change at a time, one person at a time, you can make a difference to create a more harmonious setting in this multicultural community.

So, stop the blonde jokes at the office and give a pay raise to your female manager for a job well done.

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Kris Lee

Emotional health and communication writer

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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