Everyone has unconscious biases, but they can be difficult to identify.

They are learned attitudes that affect our perceptions, judgments, and actions both negatively and positively, but as they are unconscious, they do not necessarily reflect our true beliefs or values.

So how can you find out what yours are?

Find out more in the video below, or scroll further down for a transcript to read.

What Is Your Unconscious Bias? – Video Transcript

What is your unconscious bias?

Do you beat yourself up for having this unconscious bias of negative thoughts?

The truth is we have evolved to be negative. Some part of our minds are always scanning for danger, for what could go wrong, what lion, snake or tiger could harm you or what negative events from your past haunts you.

Our ancestors survived by being constantly aware of dangers that lurk around every corner, but, now that we don’t live in caves anymore, and are mostly safe where we live, that same ancestral hyper-vigilance, can lead to anxiety, panic, and physical health issues.

So when we continually think that something is wrong or about to go wrong, we are living in a constant fight or flight mode, and our bodily systems don’t function that well, and it is  exhausting, leading to less creativity, productivity, and stress.

Because our minds cling to this possible experience, it seems that there is no space left for anything else, the ‘something that could go wrong’ takes up a huge amount of space in our minds.

man peering around the corner nervously

And when we react, it will be a knee jerk reaction, leaving us feeling continually stuck, because we haven’t had the time and space to invite any wisdom in.

When our awareness is sucked in, in this way,  it helps to pay attention to a sense of space. This can be done in a number of ways: by opening our awareness to every sound we hear; everything we see; by noticing the space around and between objects, and also the space in any room or situation. Noticing space can open our perception, and can begin to dissolve any stress cycle. Even attention to a sense of space around an internal experience such as bodily discomfort or a difficult emotion, can ease stress.

Space is not emptiness, and emptiness is not a space. We can observe how the mind makes an experience seem solid, and how our mind fabricates suffering according to what we relate to, what we see, and what we believe. We can gradually learn to untangle the jumble of suffering. And again, like all deliberate shifts in the way of seeing things, the more we do it, the more accessible it becomes, and the relief we get from being stressed out is apparent.

Here are some suggestions for noticing our biases:

Firstly, notice your habitual thought patterns.

Based on our past experience, we so often find ourselves trapped in habits. We prejudge, and it’s all attached to a story we are holding onto: These people always…and you can complete this sentence, because we all do it.

When we get lost like this, we need to find out where we are, what’s really happening in our minds, as it interprets what’s in front of us. Are we disengaging and distancing ourselves from what’s right there?

Secondly, uncover our preconceptions

It’s finding the filters that we see life through.  Our history provides those filters, so every time something happens we put our personal filter on it.  So it’s good to  consciously explore our patterns: Every time I see this, I think this…and complete the sentence

When we can see the lens we are looking through, we can see the stories that have been running our lives and minds,  and also the reason we have disengaged ourselves from the people around us.

Thirdly, question our initial response

Acknowledge our story or stories that are ruling our responses. Question them. Being really honest is the key here, no matter what comes up. Ask:

What is pushing my buttons? Why would I react like this?

This happened and I gave it this meaning…

The culture or the system I’ve grown up in, may play a role in shaping my stories,  is there anything going on that I can own?

Fourth, let go of what you think you know

We really need to consider that we might not be seeing the whole picture. We could ask ourselves whether we like what we are contributing to the present moment, in our minds and in our actions.

Next, we need to be open to shifting our perspectives

Our map of the world and our place in it,  so often appears too small, with our stories shrunken in a very big and wild place.   So we need to acknowledge and update our ever changing values, often, and educate ourselves as to how we have changed, break old cycles, and cut a lovely new groove in our lives.

So what is your unconscious bias?

We need to be aware that where our biases are concerned, if we don’t see what the big picture problem is, we may be a part of it.  So do take time to notice your biases, it is sooo rewarding.

That’s my sharing for today.

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