There is no harm in using stereotypes to make sense of an unfamiliar situation, especially if we accept that there is always an exception to any rule or obvious pattern. The brain tends to work from the panoramic to the microscopic picture. Stereotypes become discriminatory and unacceptable when we still choose to use them, even when we have the knowledge and information that disputes them.
BEFORE YOU GO…..
Did you find this post useful? Learnt something new today?
This question was asked of me, when I said I was unique, by someone who argued that we were all the same because of his past hurt and distrust. This was my answer to him.
Personally, I don’t know what ‘most people’ are like, because the few people I will meet in my lifetime are all unique human beings, each with their individuality, especially if we allow that person to show him/herself to us. Each of us is different in some way and will range on a continuum of behaviour: for example, from very kind and caring to cruel and abusing.
Furthermore, there are over 7 billion of us on the planet. Have you met all of them to know what they are like, and for you to be wary of them being one type or the other? And what, exactly,would I be proving that I’m not? Your desire for people to prove themselves to you has its roots in the FEAR of being hurt again, which then stereotypes others into what they are ASSUMED to be, to make you feel comfortable. Lumping them all together like clones for the benefit of your fears.
When you expect people to ‘prove’ themselves, you are assuming that everyone is alike. You are assigning your hurt by proxy so that everyone is blamed for it. Of course, as all you give off is negativity and disrespect to others with that attitude, people will steer clear of you, or act exactly in the negative way you expect which keeps turning into self-fulling prophecies. That’s a sad and isolated way to live, and it doesn’t make you a very attractive person either, because fear is very paralysing and debilitating.
However, your fear, your search for perfection, living in the past rehashing old pain, and desire to seek approval, have led to your distrust of others, so that unless they act exactly as you expect, you are not interested, because you believe they wouldn’t deserve your friendship. It becomes conditional upon how much they act to please you, or to make you feel comfortable.
But life is not like that. We have to take the rough with the smooth every single day as no one promised us only good things in life. Every hurt shapes us even more to handle the future better. All we need to do is learn the lessons, act how we would like someone else to treat us, trust ourselves and others to make the right friends we desire, and that should attract them to us.
We have all been hurt by someone. But remembering that everyone is a unique person will ensure that every new day allows us to forget the pain, start again, chalk it up to experience, learn from it, and continue on our way, more hopeful, resilient, determined and an even better person for it. In effect, to get over it and move on, expecting to find someone even better on our journey.
As the writer, James Allen, once said: “People don’t attract what they seek. They attract who they are!” In other words, be kind, be trusting, be nice and caring to people, and you’ll attract the same in others by your actions!