In my pod episode Diversity, equity and inclusion in the media, I chatted to Maxine Penney about diversity and inclusion, and this got me thinking about unconscious bias, but with a different skew. The biases we hold against ourselves, but don’t understand why.
We are actively trying to judge people less. We are actively trying to stop stereotyping. To stop making assumptions. We are calling each other out, checking ourselves.
But I want to ask you something.
How are you unconsciously biased towards yourself?
We are working so hard to judge people less and to uncover our biases and challenge them, that it’s easy to forget that all this applies to ourselves. The person, the human underneath all the noise in your mind.
You have created a blueprint for yourself for how you show up.
You have written a rule book. A how-to guide for your life.
But have you questioned any of it?
As a woman you might unconsciously scroll past job ads when the pay is above a certain level as you believe they are ‘not for you’. Those higher paid jobs are for other people. They are for men. Or someone ‘better’ than you.
When we scroll past job ads, not stopping because they pay ‘too much’, we don’t register this as a problem – because the belief that we are not worth this much money runs so deep it doesn’t prompt a thought that you can make sense of. It might be more a feeling, a slight tightness in the chest, that you don’t give any attention to.
If your thought is that someone better is destined for this job, stop yourself. What does this really mean? How is a mythical person better than you? How do you know they are better? What assumptions are you making about everyone else and now allowing yourself the same graces? And in what ways are you greater than you give yourself credit for?
Start thinking differently
Living in a patriarchal world means our beliefs of self worth run thousands of years deep, and these assumptions we make about ourselves are buried so deep we don’t even know they are there, so we never start the big dig.
Only wanting a small pay rise, or assuming a small pay rise is all that’s possible, is patriarchy talking. If it wasn’t possible to earn a decent wage, then no one would earn good money. But they do. And so can you.
If you’re now telling yourself that I don’t know what I’m talking about because it’s hard for you and you definitely are not worth more, that’s your woe-is-me bitch at work. This is your invitation to step up and THINK DIFFERENT. Start challenging these misconceptions.
If you don’t stop to challenge your bitches when they pop up, you may be falling victim to your unconscious bias against yourself. In the same way you try to be an actively awesome human to everyone you encounter in your life, apply the same level of grace and compassion to yourself. The more accepting you are of yourself, the more accepting you are of others. If you want to hear more about challenging the unconscious biases you hold against yourself, listen to my podcast episode.