Fearing Certain Categories of People

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Fearing Certain Categories of People

If someone believed that he is dumb because he has done a certain mistake in the past then we can say that this person has labeled himself. A label is nothing more than a false description you assign to yourself that results from bad previous life experiences. But do people label themselves and not others?

Actually they don't; some people label whole groups of people together and so end up fearing this whole category of people. For example, a person labeling rich people with the label arrogant would end up being unable to communicate with any rich person and believing that he won't treat him well.

How Are These Labels Created

Labeling depends on your previous experiences. If you failed to deal with a certain group of people in the past who share some common characteristics or behaviour you may end up labeling the whole category!!

For example, if you weren't among the so-called "players" during your early school days and if those players treated you badly then you may end up fearing all people who resemble players throughout your whole life!!

The same goes for the example of rich people: if you weren’t that rich and if several of your rich friends were arrogant then you may end up thinking that all rich people are arrogant!

Other examples can be: all men are liars, all men cheat, all rich people are thieves and so on.

The Consequences of Labeling Groups of People

As you may have already guessed being mistreated by a small number of people could result in making you fear the whole category of people throughout your entire life!!

You just become a victim of your own over-generalization way of thinking where you assumed that the behaviour of a few people applies to all of those who are similar to them!!

Another big problem will happen as a result of such beliefs. People usually collect biased evidence to support their own beliefs. In other words, you will start collecting false evidence just to prove that your beliefs are correct.

If for example someone who belongs to that group you have labeled did something bad to you then you will quickly add this action to your experience database and this will further fortify that false belief you have in mind.

How to Get Over This?

Don’t worry, getting over this problem is not difficult. You just need to stop over-generalizing and you won't be able to do this unless you stop using this negative thinking pattern completely in all of your activities and not just in dealing with people.

The other thing you need to do is to start to think of people as individuals and not as groups. Just because the rich man you've before seen was arrogant then this doesn't mean that all rich people are the same. People are so different and can’t be categorized by simply labeling them.

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