Personally, it’s no secret that we all struggle with judging people based on minimal facts, and mostly appearance.
It’s easy for us to put people in our own self-constructed boxes so that we could interpret and understand them, and the world around us, in “black and white.”
It wasn’t until I was an undergraduate student, studying Interpersonal Communication, at Meredith College for me to realize what I was doing (and that was 5 years ago, geez)!!
You know…I grew up a certain way. I knew the world through the eyes of my parents for the first few years of my life, and interpreted the world as I experienced it.
Growing up, as we try to understand the world we live in, we take what people say about others to heart. It’s a “survival method.” We don’t want to instinctively put ourselves in harms way so we listen to others words as truth to protect and ready ourselves for the future.
This is also where the media comes in whether it be social media, television, movies, books, news media, etc. We grow up watching, and reading, content and absorbing what is being presented to us in order to understand the world.
In time, we inherently believe it to be true, and it eventually becomes an instinctive judgment of the people we meet.
New people are pre-judged by what we have learned so far in our life. It’s sad to think that way, but is also helps us understand how far we still have to go in each of our own societies.
Questions we should be asking:
- How are all people presented in the content that is consumed by a majority of the public?
- What roles are they playing, and how are they interpreted based on our societies standards?
- In each of these roles, how are they economically presented?
- What is currently unbalanced in the media we consume today? Are there roles that are continuously given to certain sexes, races or identities?
Each of these questions are starter questions we should be asking ourselves as we consume content so we can recognize where our perceptions of the world come from.
We need to know the basis of our perceptions so we can see the person that exists behind our perception.
Understand this….if we are never introduced to new people, or experiences, we end up getting trapped in our own worlds, our own interpretations, and continue to put people in our self-constructed boxes without seeing them for who they truly are.
People are beautiful, and there is always something we can learn from each individual that we meet.
And let me tell you something…I notice myself accidentally making a judgment on someone all the time: someone I have never even met, someone I have never sat down with to hear their story, someone I pass by on the street, someone I see in the store, someone I drive by on the road, etc.
I don’t ever want to be the person who never grows past my own perceptions. I want to understand people. I want to love them for who they are, and everything that makes them, them.
I know who I am, and I would want other people to take the time to get to know me.
What about you? Wouldn’t you feel the same way?
I hope, from now on, you take the time to realize where your perceptions may be rooted, and work past them so that you can see the real person that exists behind them.