How to Get Over Your Prejudices
Nobody is free from prejudice: at some point in our lives we all have felt that we have the right to judge others according to the way they look, dress, act, or speak. These prejudices are not beneficial for anyone; in fact, they make our lives poorer and keep us from many positive experiences. In some cases, being prejudiced makes people's lives much worse and actively hurts others.
It is hard to accept others and not criticize them: we've learned to judge others form our families, our formal education, our surroundings and the systems we live in. As adults, however, we can take positive action to change our behavior and even our thoughts, becoming more respectful and fairer to others. In this oneHOWTO article we'll discuss how to get over your prejudices.
"Prejudice" means judging a behavior, person or event beforehand. Prejudiced people have already made up their minds about things even before they have actually happened. We all have unconscious biases about others, but in fact first impressions tend to be wrong.
It is important to maintain un open and flexible mind to be able to get over our prejudices. The first step is to fake it until you make it - even if you have made a judgement, keep it to yourself until you're proven right or wrong. Eventually, you'll get used to not creating opinions about people you haven't gotten to know; let yourself be pleasantly surprised and embrace it when you are.
Before making a comment or labeling a person, you should take the time to get to know them well; it is very likely that your opinion is due to stereotypes, even if you don't think so. You can be positively surprised if you give them a chance.
Observe the person you mistrust from some distance and try not to act impulsively so that they can act freely and be natural instead of defensive or wary. If you do not give other people a chance, you'll never know if you are actually right.
Do not assume anything. If you have any doubts relating to certain situations, ask the person directly involved to clarify what they meant. Communication is key when interpreting attitudes or reactions. Sometimes what we consider an insult the other person doesn't, so don't assume anything without talking about it.
You should try to avoid words that are destructive to both you and the other person. If you ask clarity and honesty from others, you must also offer them yourself - but that doesn't mean sharing your negative, unfair opinions unprompted.
Nobody has the right to judge others without proof of bad conduct. As long as you don't know someone, you can't place yourself above them. You'll always have to live with people you don't know well, so it's best to learn to accept it.
Don't do to others what you don't want them to do to you. This is a very old statement, but it is very useful if you want to get over your prejudices. If you don't want others to criticize you for no reason, don't do the same to them.
Everyone has the right to be the way they want to be as long as they're not harming others. Every culture and every person develops its own ways to live and cope with difficulties, and you'll learn more from differences than if anyone reacted to things in the same way.
No one is better for looking, dressing, talking or acting a certain way. As humans, we all have different experiences and views of the world, shaped by our communities, traits and choices. The only thing you will achieve by being prejudiced is to stay in a place of passivity, to make your life poorer and to make the world a more dangerous place for others. Dare to learn from others and help them do the same.
Is there any prejudice you've had to overcome? How did you do it? Give us your advice on how to get over your prejudices in the comments section!
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