No one can make you feel inferior without your consent ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
BOFA had the opportunity to participate in a leadership workshop at his place of employment. In a leadership position, he was excited for the class and to build on his already stellar skills. The course was all about bias and how that bias plays out in the hiring process. Always having a thirst for knowledge, my own passion for leadership, and the study of human behaviour, I was riveted and soaked in all that he had learned while we discussed it over dinner and a glass of wine.
Bias is a preference for one thing, person, viewpoint over another which is often seen as unfair. Bias in and of itself, is a preference, and is discussed heavily in the scientific and research world. We all have bias. Bias is simply the way we look at the world, our perspective, and our inherent ways of interpreting what we see, hear, experience. Bias, our perspective, our lens through which we view our interactions and experiences is learned from our past history, our historical knowledge and understanding, our cultural and societal norms, and our own sense of reality. Our bias, our perspective, is ever changing as we have more experiences and grow and learn. What we know to be true can change with every experience or interaction that ends with a different outcome than what we have experienced before. Our lens changes shape, colour, clarity as we see the world differently, but although it changes, it is always there.
In my curiosity and interest in interpersonal dynamics and relationships, including the relationship I have with myself, I make a mindful effort to witness my biases playing out in my thinking, my observations and my interpretations of the interactions I experience. In science, research and our own lives and perspectives, we cannot eliminate bias.
Not only do we inherently have our worldview that is biased, we also have our own self view. This self view is also affected by bias. I see myself a certain way. I know me better than anyone. I’m the only one that I can’t lie to, or pretend to, the only one who can see me in my raw realness. And I likely see myself differently than the people in my life. The simple fact that I see myself a certain way or believe myself to be a certain way lends itself to bias. Confirmation bias, humans are motivated to verify our own self perceptions and will seek to do so in a variety of ways.
In my past life, I have believed and viewed myself as unworthy of love. I have experienced incredible feelings of insecurity and anxiety in relationships believing that my partner was going to most certainly leave me, in hindsight, I wish many of them had. Because of this self view, I sought confirmation of that belief, proof that I was not wrong. I interpreted words and actions and feedback as confirmation of my beliefs because of my own self bias.
We will always have bias, it’s inevitable. However, we can also employ awareness and challenge those biases. I can ask is that truly the intent behind the message or am I merely seeking to validate my beliefs? I can ask why I have that belief? Why I choose that particular interpretation? I can choose to not only listen to but truly hear the intent behind messages, actions, and situations. I can choose to see the other side, change my perspective. Not seek to verify a learned, negative perception. As in the research world, identify, plan and challenge bias.
What self view bias can you challenge?