The Open Mind Policy : 30 Days of Truth

Day 2: Something you love about yourself.

Following up on the subject of self-love, I embody some admirable qualities.

The Open Mind Policy
“I’ll try anything once.”

Truthfully, that was once my motto.  Except, I found myself in too great of a number of undesirable situations that I would have preferred to not experience.  We live – we learn.

This is the basis of my Open Mind Policy.  It is truth when it is generalized that all humans have certain biases.  That is part of the human condition, and not exactly shameful.  It functioned as a survival mechanism in primal humans.  Hence, we are fearful of unfamiliarity.  Unfortunately, this fear typically turns to hate, and that is one emotion I tend to keep at bay.

Throughout my last year at my job, I have noticed different attitudes in the African American community.  Much of their community is now highly diverse.  These divisions are no longer even regarded as anything.  They’ve helped me understand a world and a culture beyond my own.  And they’ve really opened my mind.

Through my eyes, people are people. Divisions of race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, political orientation, socioeconomic status, mental and physical health, age, and lifestyle do not matter to me. Those differences have no bearing on how I view a person.

- Eminem

A person is who they are, not how they are labelled.  Humans have a particular penchant for categorizing everything within their world.  While this organization is important for cognitive function and development, it does not function as segregation of people.  It is not meant to emphasize differences among peoples, their behaviors, and their cultures.

In recent years, I have noticed that racial tolerance has become the norm. Tolerance is not acceptance, and is by no means synonymous. Acceptance is when those divisions dissolve into an unrecognizable remnants of past prejudices.  I have learned that by working in a community of people unlike any I have ever been exposed to.  I see children and adults alike regarding people as just another person, another friend.  Despite color, culture, heritage, quirkiness, and what-have-you, we act as if we are in a family system.

I am proud to say that I have rid myself of religious biases. I am personally weary of claiming my own religious affiliation, though very interested in the religions of the world. However foreign, and however devout, I am accepting of others who may not share the same sentiments on spirituality.  I realize that everyone has their own interpretation.  At this point, I refuse to make a statement at this point in time concerning my own spiritual beliefs. There is no better way to lose friends and alienate people.  So, I mostly avoid the subject anyhow.

The same goes politics. In past years, I groaned when a person started in on the opposing side of a subject I felt passionately about.  This created a serious schism in interpersonal relations.  Many friends were lost in the heat of debate.

I’ve learned that it’s not worth it.  I may disagree with where another person stands, but I refuse to judge their character by it. Different lifestyles and socioeconomic standings create different opinions.  I promote unity and balance, without digging my heels in too much.  I’ve never walked a mile in many people’s shoes.  I cannot know their journey and where they are coming from.

As for my own journey, I am not one to set my own choices up as the standard in which everyone strives. My own lifestyle choice is likely not fitting for everyone else. There is no such thing as “one size fits all”.  People are more content when they don’t feel societal pressure to live a certain way.

Therefore, I am not exclusively friends with the population that is married with children.  Marriage and children are not a lifestyle choice for everyone.  As a matter of fact, I applaud those that resist the societal pressure, when they know that is not what they want for themselves.  Many recognize that they have a preference for living solo.  Some have a different sexual orientation, and that’s fine with me.  I’m not homosexual (I can’t say I didn’t try in college).  But attraction and love are beyond anyone’s control.  It’s not up to me to decide.  It’s up to the individual.

Individuals have different biology, right down to the molecular level.  We are unique, atom by atom.  We look uniquely, function uniquely, think uniquely, and behave uniquely.  I have a special place in my heart for those that suffer debilitating physical and mental debilitating disease and disorder.  I find a certain kinship within the group of people with unique mental health concerns.

This is a preference, and I’m now careful to not reverse a discrimination against those who do not carry a diagnosis, or norms, Non-Dx, as I may refer to them.  I sometimes use norm(s) as a derogatory term to refer to people who are especially ignorant to the topic of mental health.  Although I am still outraged, I have come to understand that these people are victims.  They are victims of widespread ignorance and fear.  I cannot wage war when my ultimate goal is to bring education to the general population.

I am also guilty of occasional gender discrimination or man-bashing, as it’s typical referred to in the female community.  In all honesty, I do not mean it.  I am not a feminist man-hater pushing the female agenda.  In fact, quite the opposite.  However, I am aware that it perpetuates a stereotype that others could buy into.

The point is, one bad apple does not ruin the whole bunch.  The gender war has been present since the beginning of time.  Only now, in the 20th and 21st centuries are we progressing toward equality for both genders.  That does not mean that stereotypes and biases are erased from existence, much like that in race.

Everyone has heard about the “crazy bitch” or the “pigheaded jerk”.  Women are moody largely in part of a constant cycle of ever changing body chemistry.  Men think sexually because testosterone is essentially the hormone responsible for sexual impulses.  (It’s also responsible for aggression).  That’s fact.  Again, because of the extreme individuality that humans have through by nature and nurture, this can be more or less prevalent.  Accept the fact that it’s possible.  Learn to live together.

And most of all, socioeconomic status. I share in the plight of the working poor. Although I am an avid Occupy supporter, it’s less about the 1% and more about the abuse of power through corruption. That is about justice.

I’m not saying I don’t judge at all. I am human after all. We all judge. However, I will only judge a person when they have proven to commit heinous acts.

I greatly detest people with hate and malice in their heart.  With those two emotions, people have waged unnecessary wars (what war is necessary?), committed vile acts such as genocide, and perpetuated more hate and malice through organizations such as the KKK.  If these people would stop for one moment, think of The Golden Rule, and open their minds to the possibilities, the world would be a much better place.

8 thoughts on “The Open Mind Policy : 30 Days of Truth

  1. Pingback: 30 Days of Truth « As the Pendulum Swings

    • Ha! I don’t really believe in the word “normal”, and I’ve been working it out of my vernacular. But, there are some who work harder than others to fit the mould. Maybe they have their quirks, but they are definitely your run-of-the-mill people. I’ve met them. They are borrr-rrring!

  2. I agree with so much of what you say there. I’d even started to wonder if I lacked some common human tendency toward categorization. Throughout my life, I’ve always viewed people as individuals rather than belonging to categories. Or maybe as a blend. What I mean is that I can understand what categories they might be placed into, but viewing them through the lens of that category doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Everyone seems to want some kind of stereotype to go off of for predictive purposes. While stereotypes are based on some truth, they are greatly exaggerated and are not applicable to the entire population. For instance, (and please don’t bash me. I’m making an example.) there is a stereotype that African American people are lazy. Here’s the truth about that stereotype. It is not in their heritage to be high strung and in a hurry. Things are the way they are. Running a few minutes late for work? Why should I get all bent out of shape, tire myself out running in the snow, and risk hurting myself before I even get to work? Everything will get done, at a good pace. People in that culture enjoy their leisure time and focus more on living their lives than focusing on achievement. To me, that’s a good way to live.

      My boss and co-workers still think I’m high strung, even after I’ve slowed down quite a bit. Don’t worry, be happy! There’s enough to worry about in life, so you don’t sweat the small stuff. They celebrate accidental pregnancy, while other cultures condemn it. Of course we should celebrate a new baby! Intentional or not! Equally, they mourn death and keep the memories of their loved ones alive.

      Personally, I think it’s a great way of life. What kind of society has the popular culture created? A machine that enslaves and contorts everyone and anything it gets around. And that’s where the fearmongering comes in. Because if people know that there’s a different way of life, they’ll opt for the one that makes them happier.

      • Yes, no doubt culture influences people’s lives. I agree with you, though, that background and culture don’t define the person. Perhaps I feel strongly about this issue because I come from an odd background. There are harmful stereotypes that I sometimes revert to, but when I meet anyone, I try to put them first as an individual rather than judging based on predetermined categories.

        • I’ve never quite fit in where I “should” belong (according to societal definition based on race, age, gender, socioeconomic status, etc). Essentially, it was like this. Poor kids didn’t want to hang out with me, because they thought I was too smart and a snob – except I was impoverished, just like them. I spoke like an adult, so no one around my age wanted to be my friend. I wasn’t girly enough for girls, and eww, gross! I’m a female, so boys weren’t having it either. Rich kids thought I was trash, cool kids thought I was a nerd, and “intellectuals” thought I was trouble.

          Go figure. How could I possibly be too much and not enough of the same thing?

          Point is, I didn’t fit the mould. And because I never did, I didn’t expect anyone else to. Sure, I can profile for predictive behavior purposes, but it’s not cut and dry. I won’t hold it as the standard, and it is certainly not rigid.

          I mean, I don’t even fit the diagnostic criteria for BP I. People like me are the reason BP II exists. I feel like I exist to challenge people’s preconceptions. We talked about that before, the walking contradiction, my very own duality. At first glance, I look harmless. Am I?

  3. Pingback: 30 Days of Truth | Sunny With a Chance Of Armageddon

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