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Prejudiced thoughts run through all our minds — the key is what we do with them

https://ideas.ted.com/prejudiced-thoughts-run-through-all-our-minds-the-key-is-what-we-do-with-them/

ideas.ted.com

Prejudiced thoughts run through all our minds — the key is what we do with them
These 3 steps can help you notice and disarm your own prejudice, and psychologist Steven C. Hayes takes us through them.

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Prejudice is inside us all

Prejudice is inside us all

Prejudice stems in part from cultural learning, our parents, our schools, and social messages in the media. Prejudice is also deeply embedded in our thought networks.

The good news is that we can combat it.

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Negative stereotypes are lodged in our cognitive network

They pop up to do mischief, even when you're not conscious of it.

We can learn to recognize bias in ourselves and reduce the harmful impact of that part of ourselves by applying acceptance and commitment therapy. It focuses on developing psychological flexibility. When we investigate our implicit biases, we become more aware of them and can bring our actions in line with our conscious beliefs.

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Authoritarian distancing

All forms of prejudice can be explained by what’s called authoritarian distancing - the belief that we are different from some group. Because they are different, they represent a threat we need to control.

When people adopt authoritarian distancing, they display three characteristics:

  • The inability to take the perspective of other people.
  • The inability to feel the pain of other people when you take their perspective.
  • The inability to be emotionally open to the pain of others when you do feel it.

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Steps to disarm your own prejudice

  • Own your bias. Note your prejudicial thoughts or biased action. Recognize tendencies to judge others or yourself. Bring self-compassion and emotional openness to that awareness.
  • Connect with other people's perspectives. Take the view of those whom your mind judges. The purpose is connection and ownership. Allow the pain of being judged or hurt to enter into you. Acknowledge how causing anyone that kind of pain goes against your values.
  • Commit to change. It could mean learning to listen more, speaking out, stepping back so others can step forward, joining an advocacy group, getting to know people who belong to groups that your mind judges.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Cognitive Bias

Cognitive Bias

Cognitive Bias is a predictable pattern of mental errors where we misperceive reality and move away from the most likely way of reaching our goals.

These mental blind spots...

Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias refers to unconscious forms of discrimination and stereotyping. Unconscious bias often leads to discrimination, be it deliberate or unintentional.

Unconscious bias is different from cognitive biases. Cognitive biases relate to our brains' particular wiring, while unconscious bias refers to perceptions between different groups and are specific to different societies.

How to Reduce Unconscious Bias

  • Recognise that the unconscious bias is a systemic issue. Internal cultures need to be checked and addressed first.
  • There is no shame or guilt in unconscious bias. Unconscious bias stems from our tendency to categorise people into social groups and often doesn't match our conscious values.
  • It takes a series of conversations and interventions to prevent and protect against unconscious bias.

You are not your thoughts

Most of us will do anything not to feel worried or dissatisfied and will try and find ways to soothe ourselves or find ways out of our problems.

However, the key to healing and understanding ...

Separate thoughts from the act of thinking

We usually buy into what our feelings tell us and allow them to overly direct our actions and choices. 

Instead, notice the act of thinking without getting tangled in your thoughts. See your thoughts as ongoing attempts to make meaning of the world — give them power only to the degree that they help you. 

Disobey yourself on purpose

The mind's power over you is an illusion. For instance, say one thing while doing the opposite. You will find that it is possible to do the opposite of what you are thinking. (For example, type, I cannot type this sentence, while you are typing the sentence.) Regularly doing this exercise can give you more freedom to do hard things.

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Information that matches our beliefs

We surround ourselves with it: We tend to like people who think like us; if we agree with someone's beliefs, we're more likely to be friends with them.

This makes sense, but it means ...

The "swimmer's body illusion"

It's a thinking mistake and it occurs when we confuse selection factors with results. 

Professional swimmers don't have perfect bodies because they train extensively. Rather, they are good swimmers because of their physiques.

The sunk cost fallacy

It plays on this tendency of ours to emphasize loss over gain.

The term sunk cost refers to any cost that has been paid already and cannot be recovered. The reason we can't ignore the cost, even though it's already been paid, is that we're wired to feel loss far more strongly than gain.