According to Wikipedia, a ‘stereotype’ is a simplified and/or standardized conception or image with specific meaning, often held in common by members of a group. A stereotype can be a conventional and oversimplified conception, opinion, or image.
We live in the world where values and status are defined very much by the media, fashion industry and manufacturers. Every day, we are fed with a thousand messages, entering our conscious and subconscious mind about what it takes to make us an acceptable human being:
For instance, we believe that an expensive car is a sign of status. It’s not enough to have a functional car that takes us around- as the result, we have to take on much more responsibilities and roles, spending more time away from the family to earn enough to pay for the loan. Even an office boy, earning less than RM1000 per month, is driving a Proton Perdana.
We are also conditioned that everyone should be in a size 2 in order to be considered ideal. As the result of that, many people, rejected their bodies, going through destructive cycles of bingeing and dieting that further robs them of their self worth.
In Fed Up! Free yourself from the Diet Trap, Dr Wendy Oliver-Pyatt wrote: “Gymnast Christy Henrich, who stood 4′ 10″ and weighed 93 pounds, was a contender for an Olympic medal when she overheard a judge say, “She’s too fat to make the Olympic gymnastic team.” When she died from anorexia nervosa two years later, Henrich weighed 47 pounds. “
In order to be happy, we are conditioned that we need to be in a relationship or married. As the result of that, many people are more willing to be stuck in dysfunctional and demeaning relationships rather than be alone.
Or on the other hand, people are also conditioned that there are always romantic happily ever afters as what is featured in Hollywood romantic comedies or fairy tales. The chemistry factor influences what we look for in people, ie there must be a ‘spark’ before we can even consider going out with that person. After a while, when the spark dies, and they are exposed to each other’s bad habit and probably past baggage, the reality becomes unacceptable. People strayed from relationships in order to search for another person to rekindle the spark again- only to find later that the sparks dies again.
Breaking free from stereotypes and conditioning.
It’s important that we do not let ourselves being conditioned by preset values that we acquired from watching movies, seeing advertisements, reading magazines or taught to us by people around us. We need to discover for ourselves what’s really important. For example, I never bothered to dress to the current fashion, but I wear clothes that I like and feel comfortable in.
When gyms are fast becoming like a fashion parade, having folks wearing the latest designs by Nike or Adidas, I still prefer my cheap Tshirts and comfortable short pants. Honestly, I really look out of place, but the clothings are so comfortable, not body hugging- I don’t need to pull and tuck those clothes all the time- instead, I am able to focus on my workouts.
Over the years, I have also learned the values of what constitutes to genuine friendships. It has nothing to go with what you wear, how much money you earn or what is your size. Real friends will accept you the way you are. They care and will be there for you when you need them, they tell you things that may not be what you want to hear but what is good for you. And when they are in need, you also learn to be there for them. It’s just that simple- you don’t need money and hang around at expensive places to go with your real friends. Look for these people to be your friends and to form relationships with.