What is a stereotype? The Oxford dictionary describes it as :
Stereotype: A widely held but fixed over simplified image or idea of a particular person
We all hold stereotypes of others. In snap judgements we decide whether someone is beautiful, handsome, evil, kind, based on our stereotyping of what these qualities look like on people. Our ideas may be far from the truth. It’s only when we dig deeper that we might realize that we are wrong. Should, God forbid, these people act according to what we think of them, then it only reinforces the stereotype.
But this might apply to our vision of ourselves as well.
What Stereotype Do You Hold Of Yourself ?
We must reject not only the stereotypes that others hold of us, but also the stereotypes that we hold of ourselves. – Shirley Chisholm
Remember the classic story of the baby eagle that fell to the ground and was brought up among chickens? In time, the eagle began believing that it was a chicken and refused to fly. The eagle had a perception of itself that kept it from living life to its full potential.
I had certain stereotypes of LGBTQ people that were shattered by some experiences I had. (Perhaps, I’ll share that story with you sometime next month – Pride Month.) But the ideas that I hold about myself are so much harder to find and then break those stereotypes.
Over the years, I’ve thought of myself as being grossly overweight, lazy, unable to see things through, not creative, not really good at any one thing, too opinionated, too forceful with ideas…..the list goes on. As I’ve been working on myself, I see where those ideas got planted in my brain. I begin to challenge these notions I hold of myself. Gradually, I start to work on rewriting the script. I work on my self-vision.
It takes time to own up to these stereotypes, challenge them and work towards being the best version of oneself. But it’s important to start doing that – today!
What stereotype do you hold of yourself?
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May you be inspired – every day!