Everybody has opinions and I’m glad for it. It gives us reason for conversation, debate, and to learn. Learn about each other. Learn about other viewpoints. And maybe even discover something we didn’t know.
The problem though is that many have opinions based on the assumption of one’s so-called title. Whether it be a political title, religious affiliation, or even job title or position.
What I mean is people see the label and automatically assume that person has these characteristics and/or beliefs because of that title. We as humans automatically identify, recognize, sort, and discard people based on our thoughts on what that person is based on their position or affiliation.
Many times we do it without realizing we are doing it. If you think about it, it’s part of our DNA we gather and sort. Sure it started as survival instincts. Gather our food, sort out the bad fruit from the good, bring in the crops, discard the infested bug eaten pieces and store the remaining.
To make things grow better we prune plants, shrubs, and trees. So it’s natural to do so with the people around us. We stereotype people to sort them out and “prune” those we feel are unhealthy to our walk in life.
That being said, we humans are different organisms. You cannot compare apples to oranges and expect the same flavors. Let’s look at it this way. You see a thin person and think this person has good eating happens and probably works out. But it could be they have an eating or neurological disorder, different metabolism, or hundreds of other things.
The same if you were to see someone on the opposite end of the spectrum. You see someone that is overweight. Labeled obese by doctors but the truth maybe be they have food allergies that keep the food from digesting properly. Maybe this person is genetically thicker or works out and the muscle mass is different. Industry standards such as BMI (Body Mass Indexing) just don’t match up. Just as our preconceived notion that this person is lazy and sits around eating all the time.
In recent years I’ve seen this escalate and drives me crazy. People attack a “label” and assume all people that fall into that category or that way and don’t give it a second thought. Many times it’s misconceived notions that have been put into your memory banks from a trusted friend, family member, or media source that you have taken as fact.
This whole thought process started needling me over the past decade. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and have seen a lot in my years. It seems that whichever political party is in charge it’s the other party’s fault. Oh they’re Democrats, they believe this way. Or their Republican they’re just too conservative. Just those two labels alone start adding sub labels on beliefs, ways of life and so on.
I think the biggest thing is that once a label is applied, many won’t take the time to know that individual to find out that maybe all aspects of that label just doesn’t fit that person. My personal belief is that we should stop putting people in the proverbial box! Each person is molded by their walk in life and things that shape them along the way. Kind of like asteroids flying through space colliding with other asteroids and space junk. I’m guessing no two are exactly the same. They’ve had different trajectories based on the last collision.
If you hastily slap labels on people and dismiss them, you end up being a very lonely person.
Maybe I did start noticing this back in highschool. If you think about it, most schools have their cliques. The jocks, drama squad, nerds, techy techs, band geeks, socialites, motor heads, metal heads, etc. The thing for me was I didn’t fit into just one box. I still don’t! And back then because I didn’t fit into any ONE category, most times I was out. I was either involved in many of those groups or had friends that were.
I played basketball A LOT, practiced with the wrestling team, was a computer geek, played in every school band possible, listened to a wide range of music, talked about cars, involved in art, technical art, and print classes. I missed out on a lot of activities because I enjoyed working after school. I was the guy that was at work on Fridays and Saturdays because nobody else wanted those hours. Actually I was at work most nights and then wondered where all my friends went.
What hits me most today is the attack on labels and belief systems. Again people assume because of your affiliation you must be, act, or believe a certain way. You shouldn’t have a dislike for someone just because of a title you’ve put on them. Or a box you’ve put them in unless you really know them.
The thing is you MAY have been negatively affected by someone of the same label you’ve put on someone but that doesn’t mean that every Democrat is so far left you can’t agree on somethings. Or that a Republican is so far right you can’t even be in the same room. Many believe that all politicians are crooked, all lawyers are out for blood, all police are brutal, all judges are fair, all referees are blind, etc. etc.
Keep in mind that there ARE people in each of those positions that have acted in a way that have caused them to be judged that way as a whole. I think we remember those things because of the way they made us or a loved one feel.
Think about this for a moment. Which do you remember more: the time you burnt your hand on the stove or the hundreds of meals you cooked without burning yourself? That time you were stung by a swarm of ground hornets or the times appreciating the flowers you planted? To me it seems that we associate pain with an event or person. We think about how things make us feel and associate that experience with it.
We also remember the good things as well. Tell me you’ve not tried hundreds of recipes trying so hard to chase that elusive flavor of your grandma’s favorite meal. But in those cases you don’t label those experiences. Those are memories we hold dear and near to our heart.
And again though not all relatives give us the warm fuzzies either.
Sure we all run into people that just makes you close your eyes real tight and shake your head. But every individual deserves a fair chance without an applied stereotypical label.
The one that has been bothering me the most of late is religious beliefs. I’m not afraid to say I am a Christian! Yes, I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. And while there have been debates about whether the two are different. I’ll proclaim it, just the same.
It saddens me though that people will discredit you, or automatically associate you with someone who has been judgemental of them because that person professed to be a Christian. Not all Christians are judgemental, browbeating, bible thumping, finger pointers.
In all actuality, Christians or any religion for that matter if you think about it are just normal people that have found something to believe in. They strive to be like the leader for that faith. It definitely doesn’t mean they achieve that overnight or maybe even ever.
As a Christian we’re to love our neighbor as yourself. There are no other stipulations of who that neighbor is, what they look like or what they believe. We are to love them as Jesus loves us. So much so that He died for us to show His Love. Please message me if you’d like to know more about that. I’d be happy to share more.
Just like anything a person strives to be or belong to something you don’t become that instantly. Think about it this way you go to school or apprenticeship to become an architect, lawyer, doctor, electrician, plumber, mechanic. You don’t say you will be that and you are. It takes trial and error and you WILL make mistakes. You learn from those mistakes. And maybe along the way you decide that life choice wasn’t for you. Then the mistake is staying in that career path.
Maybe, as I think about it now, the people that have given those names a bad reputation are ones that have made the mistake of not making a life change.
The thing is, we have to get out of that mindset of everyone under that umbrella is NOT a bad person. Not everyone that has been labeled actually fits the label placed upon them.
Maybe we should even reevaluate why we feel the way we do about those situations and instead of demeaning a group, we get to know more people of different beliefs, cultures, backgrounds and walks of life and know them for who they are not who we think they are.
If we can do that maybe then the world might be a little less angry all of the time and more appreciative of the person next to us.
I’ll close with a quote:
A flower doesn’t think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.