According to my definition of justice, human society is to create such social conditions, in which every individual would be able to achieve his or her full potential, regardless of their social characteristics. The lack of tolerance and open-mindedness often undermine the creation of these so much needed conditions, thus challenging the whole concept of justice. The term ‘open-mindedness’ can be interpreted in many different ways, and there is therefore the need to conceptualize the term. According my own vision, open-mindedness is closely intertwined with the ability to accept different perspectives, especially those that are new and alien to a person. It is also the much needed ability to see the surrounding world through the lenses of social constructivism, and give social, not biological, explanations to the differences among people of different races, ethnicities, genders etc. It contributes to the establishment of equal social environment.
Regardless of the fact that usually I think of myself as a tolerant and an open-minded person who can open his conscious for multiple perspectives, I am aware of the fact that some stereotypes are still deeply embedded in my subconscious, given the long-lasting effect of primary socialization. It would be logical to assume that these stereotypes affect my decision-making process, and they are also likely to affect me at the workplace, leading me to making biased, unjust, and ineffective decisions. I can already see the effect of these biases today given that I am prone to criticizing other people excessively and I want to change this about me.
As to the possible interventions that would help me to develop the virtue of open-mindedness, it is important to note that they should stress a focus on communication between me and the individuals who have different social characteristics, have different from mine views on life, are engaged in activities that I disapprove etc. Many stereotypes are reinforced because of the lack of communication among different social groups, and the results of many sociological studies are a proof. Therefore, constant interaction with individuals who are different from me in terms of their social characteristics will help me to get rid from the shackles of stereotypes that might still be entrenched in my subconscious. For instance, it has been found that behavioral group therapy is effective in terms of the reduction of interpretation bias (Dadashzadeh et al, 2012). It thus might be helpful for me to use this method to tackle the problem. It is also important to understand that my tendency to criticize other people can lead to more serious consequences, such as Narcisstic Personality Disorder (NPD) given that criticism about others are often mentioned as one of its features. The therapy that is likely to be effective in this case is one that focuses on alliance building and diagnostic strategy (Ronningstam, 2012, p. 943). It promotes patients’ motivation and active engagement in identifying their own problems (Ronningstam, 2012, p. 943). Whilst at this point, my tendency to criticize other has not reached the critical level, this method can be effective for other people who deal with a similar problem.
Being understanding and tolerant is a crucial feature for an individual who wants to pursue a career in the field of psychology. Whilst some level of criticism applied to other people might be useful and develop one’s ability to think critically, criticizing others on the ground of certain bias and stereotypes is not likely to lead to any positive outcomes. Therefore, the reduction of the effect of bias on my attitudes and my decision-making process will bring about the needed changes for my personal growth.
- Dadashzadeh, H., Yazdandoost, R., Gharraee, B., & farid, A. A. (2012). Effectiveness of Cognitive – Behavioral Group Therapy and Exposure Therapy on Interpretation Bias and Fear of Negative Evaluation in Social Anxiety Disorder. Iranian Journal Of Psychiatry & Clinical Psychology, 18(1), 40-51
- Ronningstam, E. (2012). Alliance Building and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Journal Of Clinical Psychology, 68(8), 943-953.