A stereotype is “…a fixed, over generalized belief about a particular group or class of people.” (Cardwell, 1996).
Have you ever assumed someone or something to be a certain way that turned out to be the opposite? Yes me too. We must all be guilty of this one at some point in our lives. Labelling, assuming and judging without knowing the full story. I talk a lot on my blogs that we are all human and it is completely normal and okay to become aware of the negative behaviours that you may have picked up from a broken system/family/belief system to be able to change these.
A parent continuously calling their child the “quiet one” their whole life, most likely in turn will make the child adopt this belief until understanding their whole selves without this label given from childhood behaviours.
Social groups that have been historically mistreated, such as racial and
ethnic minorities, continue to suffer through bad stereotyping, perhaps because the groups in power want to perpetuate false beliefs about them (Steele 2010, Glaeser 2005).
“If you don’t get out of the box you were raised in, you won’t understand how much bigger the world is.” — Angelina Jolie
I write this blog as I reflect on these exact thoughts walking through the forest escaping from my dissertation earlier on this afternoon..
As part of my write up on peer support, I am looking into stigma in mental health and how labels have formed over history and still effect our system today putting people into “boxes” dividing us up into labels. As I scope through articles on mental health I have found stigma to be seen generally in a negative light, causing resistance to people accessing support due to fear of being labelled.
Stigma causes people to feel ashamed for something that is out of their control. Worst of all, stigma prevents people from seeking the help they need. Although many outcomes of stereotyping can be negative, formations of groups through shared similar experiences and interests have also create positive stereotyping.
I wish to express my personal feelings on this & also ask a question to all of you in support of building my dissertation.
I have personally never liked the idea of being part of one group or one label to who I am in this world, I believe we are ever changing and don’t need labels to define who we are. After all, every single one of us is unique so how can we be defined by someone other than ourselves?
Looking back, society would have tortured those believed to be suffering from depression, autism, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses much better than slaves or criminals: they were imprisoned, tortured or killed. (Rossler 2016). I want you to imagine you going through a difficult time in your life, could you imagine being discriminated and threatened of being killed for this on top of your pain? This was reality for many before mental health was seen as an important public health focus.
Okay so what I really want to get out onto this blog to people of the world is that “mental health problems” are something we all experience as human beings, diagnosed or not.. I think a lot of problems are built from a labels we have been given by others.
Who you are is not who you have been told you are your whole life. You only know who you are and sometimes that might mean letting go of who you think you are.
Some beautiful insights..
“Let go of who you think you should be in order to be who you are. Be imperfect and have compassion for yourself. Connection is the result of authenticity.” Brene Brown
“I fight stigma by choosing to live an empowered life. To me, that means owning my life and my story and refusing to allow others to dictate how I view myself or how I feel about myself.” – Val Fletcher
How do you feel about stigma from your own experiences? I would love to connect with you!
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