In an effort to calm our often harried nervous system, our ego helps us make sense of the world. We do this by labeling, stereotyping and judging as we place people, places and things into tidy little compartments. While this coping mechanism does seem to offer some relief in the short term, over the long term it simply creates more stress and unease in our bodies as we move further and further away from our abiding nature of inclusiveness, love and Oneness.
How do we label, stereotype and judge?
We apply labels, assign stereotypes and judge others all the time. While a label gives a snippet of information about that person, a stereotype is a widely-accepted and often simplified view attached to a person or group based on race, creed or culture. We often make judgments about individuals based on this label or stereotype without holding a complete and accurate picture of the person.
Most of us know that basing our judgments on labels and stereotypes leads to inaccurate conclusions, so why do we do this?
Let’s look at how archetypes fit in
At play behind the scene is an orchestra of characters known as archetypes, influencing our behaviour. These archetypes are streams of consciousness that we all share. They represent fundamental human motifs of experiences.
Though they all spring from the same well, you can chose to activate some and deactivate others throughout your life. Further, how you experience a particular archetype will differ from that of your neighbour. Much of this is beyond our conscious control. Within our control, however, is the choice to find the beauty behind an archetype presented or to focus on its more negative counterpart, Also known as the shadow self.
So why does this matter?
Understanding archetypes and learning to see archetypes within yourself and others not only provides a powerful tool for self healing but also helps you build compassion and tolerance towards others.
Below I have made a table of the 12 main archetypes, XVIV century psychotherapist Carl Gustave Jung identified. Beside each, I added how each can show up in shadow and easily turn into an unflattering label.
The Innocent- A fool
The Guy/Girl next door – A nobody
The Hero- A show off
The Caregiver- A co-dependent person
The Explorer – A reckless person
The Rebel – An angry person
The Lover- An emotional basket case
The Creator- A dreamer
The Jester – A non serious person
The Sage- A Know it all
The Magician – A heathen
The Ruler – A dictator
So take a moment and look at these archetypes:
- Notice which ones you resonate with, the light as well as the shadow side
- How they affect the labels, stereotypes and judgements you make of yourself and others.
At the end of the day is labelling, stereotyping and judging truly necessary? or could we Perhaps it’s time to move beyond this and embrace each other’s similarities rather than differences.
Nicole Rolland- Yoga and Meditation