pigeon holed

what do we lose out on when we pigeonhole others?

We love to pigeonhole people...particularly those who we disagree with or dislike.

At times, we even pigeonhole ourselves.

We say things like:

She's toxic.

I'm shy.

He's closed-minded.

I'm indecisive.

She's ignorant.

I'm insecure.

He's arrogant.

You get the picture.

We seem to have a judgement and opinion about everything and everyone.

In some ways, doing so seems to make life easier and cleaner...for us.

But at what cost?

The minute we label and pigeonhole a person, we no longer see them as a three dimensional being.

We discount and dismiss anything that runs counter to what we think we know of that person or what we think we've experienced of them.

These people become ever more the person we've created them to be...within our minds.

No exceptions.

It is almost as if they become a caricature of themselves; no longer capable of nuance or complexity or contradiction in gesture, deed or ideas.

Interestingly, should such a person speak or behave in a way that runs counter to what we expect or anticipate, we seem reticent to accept such words or behavior as true.

We distrust and dismiss them as either a trick of the mind or a trick intended to confuse or manipulate.

We discount them as anomalies...one-off blips...outliers of no great significance.

We rarely, if ever, assume the best in those whom we've already determined to be the worst.

In doing so, however, we unwittingly disregard whole swaths of people who may, in turn, disregard us.

And to what end?

So that we may draw deeper lines in the sand...speak and interact only with those whom we agree?

Continue our disengagement, distrust and distaste for all who may espouse a differing viewpoint?

It seems safer and certainly much easier to pigeonhole people, non?

In doing so, we avoid all fussing and fighting and challenges to our judgements and beliefs.

In doing so, however, we also miss the opportunity to witness the remarkable beauty of the human MIND and HEART at play...in Another...and, dare I say, in Ourselves.

By remaining curious and wholly warm hearted...

By resisting the tendency to pigeonhole and dismiss...

we allow for the possibility of new thought to emerge and take hold

we allow for the possibility of insight to change the course of lives

we allow for the possibility of engagement and inspiration

we allow for the possibility of greater compassion and understanding

we allow for the possibility of a change of heart

which, in truth,

are the most natural things about the human condition.

Lana Bastianutti