“Maybe we should sit with such sign, so people might not be afraid of us anymore”. Last week, this comment by a Muslim moved me. I looked into her eyes and saw a beautiful woman. There was nothing in her energy, her expression that could be a threat at all. Apparently people can be afraid because of someone’s looks, purely based on prejudgments caused by fear.
Of course everyone has his own fears, I had my own that I needed to conquer before I sat down for the first time for Two minute connection. And sometimes I do get the question whether I am afraid for idiots when I sit for such a long time at the station. And every now and then I do come across quite an odd person, but I am not afraid. I would not know what I should be afraid of. If you divide people into groups, I am convinced that in every group there are many people with beautiful intentions and in every group there is a bad egg too.
Do I not have prejudgments about certain groups? Of course I have, although I do wonder where the line is between a prejudgment and an expectation, based on experiences from the past. Like last week, when a man sat down immediately next to me on the bench. He was old, baggy clothes, uncared-for, with a funny smell. My mind would have put him in the category “vagabond” or “mentally declined”. He did not seem to be interested in what I was doing and it looked like he did not notice at all what was happening around him. For a long time he sat completely motionless and I had a quick look at him to see whether he had fallen asleep.
After about half an hour he stood up, turned towards me and with a soft voice he wished me all the best with what I was doing. I felt caught on my prejudgment/expectation. I had not expected that such type would be interested in anything happening in his environment and another expectation, that if such type would say something, he would want something from me, like money. This man proved the opposite of my expectation. So even if one of the groups in my head is based on negative experiences, there is still a chance you come across a gem.
Whether we like it or not, our mind will automatically group experiences, it is pretty much impossible to prevent that from happening. But we do have a choice what we do with these groups. Stick to a group and let us be led by fear or open up for all the gems.