Everyone has a bias towards others people. It’s human nature and how the human mind works. Until we are willing look deep within ourselves and acknowledge this bias, we can never heal as an individual and as a society. Healing occurs when we do some deep truth-telling.
Prejudice, bigotry and bias toward other people have been the albatross around American society since its inception. It’s the one virus that keeps reoccurring generation after generation. It is the one aspect of our democracy that is anything but democratic. It is a symbol of oppression that we have placed upon others and also ourselves.
As long as humans have possessed fearful thoughts, beliefs and emotions, there has been prejudice and bigotry.
As long as fear exists and it controls the human mind, we will remain stuck in a mindset rooted in ignorance, which is the basis for prejudice and bigotry.
In the Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol,” the ghost of Jacob Marley warned Scrooge about “ignorance and want” being the causes of the woes of the world. He shared with Scrooge that ignorance itself is the most destructive force in any society and will ultimately lead to its’ downfall and demise. Therefore, we each must educate ourselves and others. We do this by changing our minds about how we see the world and ourselves. Instead of being biased and having pre-conceived notions we become truth-seekers.
Being open to admitting that we each have negative biases is the only way we can begin dissolving the prejudices and bigoted belief systems we hold on to. For example: have you ever disliked people who dislike others? Or, do you hate the haters? If you do, aren’t you also being hateful? Contemplating our personal biases allows all of us to uncover some of our deeply hidden prejudices. Don’t say, “I don’t have a prejudice bone in my body!” If you do then you are not being honest with yourself and others.
To heal ourselves of our prejudices and biases we want to understand that we are all conditioned at a very young age to adopt certain belief systems.
Until we question our own individual belief systems, we cannot move ourselves out of prejudice and bias.
Our greatest contribution to the world is for each of us to look in the mirror and get brutally honest with ourselves. Are we perpetuating the problems that arise from prejudice and bigotry by being harsh on ourselves? To create positive change in the world, we must first focus on creating positive change within ourselves. Are we willing to do that?
When we deny any truth about ourselves: be it our “dark side” (our prejudices, biases, dislikes and judgments) or our “light side” (our goodness, kindness, compassion and love for ourselves and others), we disempower ourselves and weaken our overall well-being.
To diminish our own self-worth is no different than diminishing the self-worth of another person. When we don’t feel good about ourselves we are essentially being prejudicial and bigoted toward ourselves. On the flip-side: when we see ourselves from a more positive, uplifting and esteemed perspective, we begin to see others in the same light.
If you are willing to take the initiative to being open and honest with yourself, you will become aware that you, too, possess thoughts and beliefs that are prejudicial and bigoted in nature about both you and the world-at-large.
This truth does not make you or anyone else a bad person. It just means you are human. Being human also means you have the ability to change yourself and the world around you.
Prejudice and bigotry are by themselves constructs of the mind. We all can “change our mind” if we decide to do so.
Here are some ways we believe each of us can begin to dissolve our prejudices and biases that are rooted in fear-based thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that can potentially exhibit and inflict pain and suffering upon ourselves and others:
#1. What beliefs do you have about other people who may appear or act different or perhaps see the world from a different perspective? Write these beliefs down. Be honest! Where did these beliefs come from? Are they absolutely true for every person or group you may feel antagonistic toward and perceive in a negative way? Ask yourself: “Am I willing to open myself up to seeing this person/group differently by understanding that they, too, like me, have a set of beliefs they have adopted. And, they also insist that these beliefs are true for them?”
#2. What beliefs do you have about yourself that may be prejudicial or negatively-biased? Some possible examples might be: I’m too short, fat, ugly, tall, dumb, and not good enough. Again, write these beliefs down and be honest! Where did these beliefs come from? Are they absolutely true? Ask yourself: “Am I willing to open myself up to seeing myself differently and realize that I, too, have adopted a set of beliefs that I insist are the truth?”
#3. Pick a person, a group of people, or even yourself as a “test-subject.” See if you have the capacity to send kindness, compassion and good-will to that person or group. How do you feel when you do this?
#4. Be willing to expand your horizons. Make an effort to learn about other people, their cultures and lifestyles. Then attempt to embrace the differences you may have. See the differences not as a problem but as a celebration of life! Remember, we are all human and are all part of the human family!
Now is the time for each of us to contribute to the emergence of a massive, positive transformation within ourselves and in our society. To do so requires each of us to see and acknowledge that underneath all the so-called “differences” we are really all the same.
When we open ourselves up to considering the possibility of letting go of anything that does not serve us or humanity in a positive way, then the process of positive change begins.
At the end of the day it may be worthwhile to remind yourself that we all have prejudicial thoughts and beliefs and have all exhibited behaviors that confirm this as so. Remind yourself from this point forward that all thoughts, beliefs and behavior that hurt others and you, are all rooted in fear. Remember this: “Hurt people hurt other people.”
Also understand that hurtful thoughts, beliefs and behaviors are different than having personal preferences. A healthy personal preference is not rooted in fear. For example, a healthy personal preference might be: I love Italian food but don’t like Greek food. Whereas, a hurtful thought and belief might be: I like Italians but hate all Greeks. The key is not to use your personal preference as a crusade by attempting to inflict it upon others and condemning them if they choose not to agree or comply with you.
In closing, let us share with you a philosophy that we adopted a long time ago in regards to prejudice and bias. It may assist you on your way to releasing any personal prejudices you may have:
“Just because you love chocolate doesn’t mean you have to hate vanilla!”
Remember, we all want the same thing: to be loved, accepted and appreciated for whom we are!
We are here to assist and guide you to find peace and balance. We can also assist you to dismantle the fears that may be controlling your life. Contact us for a complementary initial discussion.
Jon Satin and Chris Pattay – The Possibility Coaches™
©2020 Possibility Coaches, LLC