There are a lot of people we cross paths with each day. Society and media has allowed us to “bucket” and/or “categorize” people by how they look, speak, dress, and what they do for an occupation (amongst other things). Is this right? Is this helping us as a society?
Each person we meet, become friends with, work with, encounter, or perhaps just sit next to on the subway, has the right to be appreciated for who they are. Whether they are battling a weight problem, a different skin tone than we are, wearing glasses, in a wheelchair, believing in a different faith, and/or sexually ambiguous, it is not our place to judge or bucket them.
Think of it this way, when marketers are targeting us through media, they are picking the demographics that best fit their target market. For example, a luxury fashion brand may target: male and female 18-44, with a household income of above 100K+, urban, and with the following interests: trendsetter, fashion, health conscious, moms, fitness buffs, etc. Just because you are a fitness buff, doesn’t mean you aren’t also a mom or trendsetter. We aren’t just one thing, anymore. Most women won’t just think of themselves, as “just a mom,” they are so much more than that.
Each of us has interests and characteristics that define who we are, and those can change too. Perhaps one day you are a tennis player, and next you are a musician. Perhaps you were a Yankees fan, and then became a Red Sox one (it can happen). Perhaps you decide to marry someone of a difference race and faith. Perhaps you were a vegetarian and now you like meat.
Embracing the weird is clutch. I mean are any of us really normal? What is normal after all? Another bucket someone made up?
Let’s not allow ourselves to get caught up in what media and society tells us we should be bucketed as, or what the person next to us is. Maybe the person on the subway is the kindest soul you’ll meet, but you didn’t give them a true chance, because instead you thought they may not fit into “your bucket” of friends and people you prefer.
Instead, redefine what that bucket looks like. Allow it to be a pool that holds much more.
Image source: Channing Tatum, ew