Don’t judge a book by it’s cover
Someone recently put a comment on Facebook about not judging a book by its cover. The comment was something along the lines of: “Some of the nicest people have tattoos and piercings and some of the most judgemental people go to church every Sunday.”
This comment got me thinking. I remember learning in my psychology degree about cognitive shortcuts. How people go about processing and storing information and how we use stereotypes to shorten the amount of time it takes to categorise information. As we live in a world with information overload on a daily basis, it kind of makes sense to try and pigeonhole people. I have often found that when I have tried to generalise that I have been wrong.
That is one of the amazing things about human beings-we may share similarities but we are all unique in our own special way. Since I began counselling I have become much more open-minded. Of course it is natural to assume things about people you have never met and I would do this in the beginning. The new client within begin to tell me a little more about themselves and their life story and I would realise how many preconceived ideas I had about them.
Being open-minded, curious and with an eagerness to learn are prerequisites when offering counselling to others. I have to set aside my prejudices and biases and do my level best to understand the world from another person’s perspective. This has taught me how we all have varying perspectives on what is happening in the world. It has also helped me to appreciate that there is always more than one way to view an event or an experience.
We all carry our own personal filters that help us make sense of the world. These are created from the moment we are born, during our childhoods, continuing into adulthood. Much of the learning and the automatic thoughts we have about the world come from learned experiences-especially as children.
Being a counsellor has made me appreciate even more the uniqueness we all have. Making an extra effort to see past the generalisations and stereotypes that we all use can lead to wonderful friendships, amazing new experiences and unconventional learning about the world around us.