How To Tell If You’re Agist, And How A Journal Can Help
Are you a part of the larger problem that is ageism? Most people assume that they aren’t, however, even if you don’t intentionally participate in ageist stereotypes, you might have subconscious biases that are ageist.
Our society perpetuates ageist thoughts and actions. We are trained that older adults should retire “the earlier the better,” and then head straight to a retirement community. We believe that younger generations are better in touch with the world and “have the only ideas that matter in workplace innovation,” but at the same time that the youth can’t run the workplace because they “don’t have the experience or business acumen.”
While you might not actively be trying to be agist, your built-in stereotypes might be holding yourself and others back. It’s hard to kick habits we’ve had ingrained in our society, in our media, and in our marketing. However, if you start scrutinizing each of your interactions, you may be able to tell if you are a part of the ageism problem.
Pay Close Attention To Your Interactions
Pay close attention to when you interact with each individual during your day. Do you listen more closely depending on someones age? Do you prepare to implement advice from someone younger, and brush aside advice of someone older? When you’re in the office, do you prefer to work with a younger group?
From this moment forward, really listen to your internal conversations. Try to determine why you make decisions throughout the day, and what causes your interactions to go the way they do.
Start An Interaction Journal
Taking down these details in a journal can be helpful. Document the person you interact with, the situation or space that interaction took place in, how old that individual is (or about how old you perceive them to be), and what your initial thoughts about them where.
Journaling these details will show you that often you stop at your initial stereotypes in interactions. By realizing that, you will be able to push forward, sliding the initial thoughts about people to the side, and keeping judgement at bay until you actually listen to them. Hear them out, hear what they are working on, what they are asking for, and who they really are.
This will cause you to slow down your response time. By realizing that you quickly judge each conversation you have with ingrained biases, you will be able to pull back from how you would usually have that interaction, and instead go about it a different way, free of stereotyping.
How This Will Help
Once you allow yourself to move past initial thoughts and biases, you’ll find that you are having deeper conversations, and gaining more education from individuals you would usually write off.
This isn’t your fault. Society trains us to immediately stereotype when we come into contact with someone. However, once you know that, it is your job to work on changing that by slowing down your responses, listening more intently to what is being asked and how you can help or implement the knowledge you are receiving. Your world will open up – just wait and see.