Therapist Online: How to overcome internalized biases

Therapist Online: How to overcome internalized biases 

All of us have preconceived ideas about another individual influenced by their race, gender, social identity and even domestic situations. In the same way that we see everyone else, we also have an image that we have set for ourselves. For this reason, we are likely to have assumptions about our own skills, opportunities and goals. It is because of these expectations that we tend to have internalized stereotypes. 

What’s dangerous about these stereotype-based assumptions is that it allows us to foster negative preconceptions about our own prospects and abilities thereby limiting ourselves and what we can do. You only limit yourself to the possibilities that you think are open for you. 

According to our research. Women are most likely the victims of internalized biases. This is likely because of the unequal treatment for men and women as well as the high expectations of society for women. 

Our research shows that a man will take an opportunity if he is at least 60% qualified for it but a woman won’t pursue a career unless she is 100% sure that she will make it. The hesitancy of women to risk in such situations is in part due to scrutiny by employers towards the ability of a lady. All of these actions reflect instances of self-limiting biases.

Eliminating self-limiting biases 

We are pointing out the existence of extreme gender career segregation not to suggest that some career pursuits are better than others but to alert you to the need to think carefully about who you are and whom you want to be before making serious career choices. 

You should be certain these career choices are not being inappropriately limited by internalized stereotypes and misgivings about your abilities simply because of your gender. To keep you from unnecessarily limiting your career choices and advancement opportunities, here are some helpful tips to take on.

  1. Do a self-analysis. It is essential to understand when and why you experience threats around stereotypes. If you can recognize the presence of stereotype threat, you will realize the anxiety you are experiencing has nothing to do with your lack of ability and is more about your personal preconceptions. In this way, you will transform your anxiety from self-doubt to something more akin to stage fright, which can become a source of energy, heightened awareness, and improved performance.
  2. Take differences out. Try to view situations in which gender is highly salient through a non-gendered lens. Don’t think, ‘I am the only woman in this meeting’. Instead, think of your advantage and credentials! 
  3. Humour yourself. A sense of humour is always a useful coping method to self-limiting bias. By bringing humour to difficult, unfamiliar, or just plain uncomfortable situations, you can diminish your negative emotional reactions and increase your performance capabilities.