HOW TO DITCH THAT STEREOTYPE
Hey Guys! Thank you for all the love you showed me on my last article. I hope you’re doing great.
From the title, I’m sure you can already guess what we’re delving into today and I’m so excited about it. I hope you are too.
I remember as a child, there were certain things I wasn’t allowed to do or wear as much as my father raised us on free rein.
Growing up was fun, restrictive and blurry because there are some experiences and memories (a magpie of experiences and memories, really) I certainly do not remember but in all this what stood out for me was the fact that I lived my life in a box. I was virtually the definition of a stereotypical stereotype- no pun intended.
Growing up in Nigeria, I learnt early on the dynamics of stereotypes. Even as we have it now, the fact remains that there are certain people or activities that are mindlessly stereotyped: If you had more than one ear piercing then you’re probably, no, most likely pushed into the box of ‘Oloshoism’, ‘Runs girl’; in other words, you’re conceptualised as wayward, even in the face of little or no evidence. If you had tattoos or your haircut and style was in a colour other than black then you’re definitely irresponsible or a reprobate of sorts; maybe you’re into ‘yahoo’ or ‘yahoo++’ or whatever other stereotypes supposed bad boys or girls have been conditioned to have.
I recently cut and tinted my hair gold and it brought back memories and thoughts that I definitely wouldn’t have done this years ago.
I’m sure at some point in our lives we’ve all had certain stereotypes or boxed people in certain stereotypes and I’m here to say- STOP!.
I remember how I would judge a particular person for changing from whom I perceived them to be. I judged people who for instance didn’t used to wear trousers then suddenly started wearing them with an eye of scorn, and maybe a tinge of superciliousness. As if I were any better…
Being me now, I’ve learnt that we cannot hold people to the past versions of themselves. We are all humans! We are allowed and definitely going to change, evolve, and BECOME because we gain new experiences, acquire new information, become more aware, make new relationships and connects, and certainly acquire new tastes which shape us and inform our sensibilities.
We should let go of certain general stereotypes and assumptions and get to know people truly for who they are and not what they look like. As someone once said, bad people are bad people and we should not base our opinions of people on societal conclusions.
We are all allowed to express ourselves whatever way we deem fit and not what society deems fit.
We are allowed to truly become what we want as long as we’re not hurting anybody physically or otherwise because, trust me, some people will be hurt emotionally which sometimes is out of our control.
We are allowed to discover who we really are, things we want and don’t want because we are humans and susceptible to growth.
We have allowed our definition of morality (which is really society-based, anyway) and convictions come from religion and our parents’ version of it and not our personal conviction.
“We don’t have to fit in a box. We can be transformed. We can enjoy our true sense of self”- Sarah Sansbury.
Oftentimes, we are unaware of our stereotypical conditioning which is often ingrained in our way of thinking.
A friend of mine posted a scriptural excerpt and it all just validated this: 2 Corinthians 5:16-
‘So then, from now on, we have a new perspective that refuses to evaluate people merely by their outward appearances. For that’s how we once viewed the Anointed One, but no longer do we see him with limited human insight’ (TPT).
It’s time to change our view of life, maybe cut that person wearing an anklet a little bit of slack. You really don’t want to miss amazing opportunities and relationships based on your preconceived thoughts.
I hope you have learnt a thing or two and are becoming self-aware. Let me know what stereotype you had growing up or that you still have in the comments section. Looking forward to your replies.