Sometimes I’m worried that there are people who can actually read other people’s minds and that they realize what a horrible person I am.
I judge people based on what they look like, on how they’re dressed, what they’re eating. Just today I got all bitchy in my head at a man who took the elevator up one floor. I have no idea why. My head said he was lazy and annoying (because I had to wait) but I have no idea what his situation is. Maybe he has just run a marathon, maybe he has joint problems or chronic pain: I have no idea.
In my head (and to a few select people) I am a total bitch.
But here’s the thing. I don’t agree with my head. I see someone wearing a shirt as a dress and my head gets all judgy. “How could she forget to wear pants today? She looks so ridiculous!”. Then my mind (I know they’re the same thing but sometimes it feels a little separate) gets mad at my head for being judgmental: “Who cares what she wears as long as she’s happy with who she is and what she’s doing?!”.
My head makes rude and horrible judgments all the time and I don’t agree with them!
Don’t worry, I’m not talking about voices in my head. I know that when I say my head that I’m talking about myself and that I think these thoughts, but I don’t like it and I don’t agree with it. The thoughts appear before I’ve had a chance to really think.
So what’s going on? Well part of it is about me, I think. I judge a person on how they look or dress because I wouldn’t want to look that way. I am also incredibly judgmental about myself (at least I’m consistent!) so I think part of it stems from that.
But that’s not all of it. Part of it is what we are taught to believe: fat people are lazy, women in short skirts are whores, men shouldn’t be really skinny but women should. There are so many inherent beliefs that we don’t even realize we have. I don’t believe any of the things I just listed but sometimes my head judges those people. Then I get really mad at myself. Why should I judge the woman in a short skirt? She’s no different to any other woman, I know nothing about her. But for that split second my head is judging everyone and it really bothers me.
My head is not judgmental about things that are the big, newsworthy issues of the time: race, sexuality, etc. My brain isn’t racist or homophobic. In fact, I’m more open-minded about a lot of these things than a lot of people I know. It’s a more insipid kind of judgment about the things we’re less aware of: weight, appearance, etc.
This has taught me something, though. I feel like that must be where prejudice comes from. That is, it comes from our own self-image problems and inherent biases that we are brought up with. If I hadn’t been brought up to think for myself, analyze situations, and consider what I’m saying before I say it maybe I would be just like every other ‘prejudice person’. Thinking and believing these things.
Maybe it makes me prejudiced that the thoughts even come into my head. I don’t believe them. I don’t like them. But they’re there. When I notice I stop myself and “talk” to myself, tell myself off.
Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to stop and think about what (if any) inherent biases you have.
Do you assume things about people just from their appearance? Why? Because that man has lots of tattoos does that make him any less trustworthy? Does that girl in the mini-skirt really sleep around all the time? Why do you think these things?
Just take a minute to listen to the things your head tells you about people. Is it really all true?