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Tips to Manage Personal Bias

man thinking

Let's face it, we're all set in certain ways of thinking, patterns, behaviors, and in communicaiton. Whether you consider yourself to be more open minded, closed minded, or somewhere in between we can't escape our internal programmed responses. With that being said, many of you reading may have already engaged in or are actively educating yourselves on biases that do not serve you or others. So, if you're already on the path of ongoing bias battling, or new to challenging your biases what should you consider? First, let's start with brief definitions of two types of bias:

Differences in Bias

Implicit bias: A predjudice or negative attitude one is not consciously aware of.

Explicit bias: Conscious attitutes and beliefs towards certain groups of people.

Self awareness

Being aware of where your thoughts and behaviors come from is the very first key in continuing to manage bias. For example, have you ever been driving and someone cut you off suddenly, causing you to lay on your horn? A first thought may be that they are an a-hole! Right? However, when you find yourself running late and taking risks on the road you don't consider yourself to be in the wrong if you happen to cut someone off. It was an accident and unintended from your perspective. By bringing awarness to why we're experiencing certain thoughts and behaviors, and how they came to be, we can better understand the root of it's creation.

How do people resond to you?

We all perceive and experience the world based on many different factors. Power, privilege, culture, and location in the world are just a few of those many factors. If you already exist in a marginalized group, chances are you move through your community and space with existing stressors and concerns your peers of a majority group may not recognize. If you belong to a majority group (e.g. cis gender, white, etc.) you likely have not experienced the same stressors as your diverse co-workers, friends, or family. This does not make you inherently wrong or a bad person. It does offer an opporutnity to reflect on the differences in how you live and operate your life vs. someone else with a different background. It is important to note, that you if you belong to a majority group and are seeking information and education for yourself to engage in your own search, but appropriate sometimes to ask for guidance in the right direction.

What do I do with my old and new thoughts?

After you've exaimined the why, how, and, where your automatic thoughts and behaviors have come from, and how your existing privileges fit into your understanding of bias, it's time to integrate! Evolution in how we continue to think about certain situations or groups of people is the final step in changing bias. If you can learn to catch yourself in a particular thought loop-e.g. "maybe that driver that cut me off isn't an a-hole, but late to work like me," - then that's where we can start to see the world from a different lens. Going back to the definitions of implicit and explicit bias, we can also learn whether our prejudices are conscious or unconscious within ourselves. If you want to consider yourself an ally or to continue being one, this work is lifelong and always changing!

If you live in Colorado and are considering ways to implement mindset changes, behavioral changes, or feeling ready to process deep rooted mental health issues, please reach out to us at Identity Insights to get set up with one of our behavioral health specialists. Please note, we can only offer therapeutic services to those currently living in and with residence in Colorado at this time. Submit an inquiry below or call us at 970-697-4169.

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