We typically view stereotypes in a negative light but more often than we realise, stereotypes are what bring us comfort. Stereotypes can be grounds for false judgement and negative misconceptions, but they can also arouse feelings of belonging.
As with most things in life, the unfortunate truth is that humans don’t struggle to identify a bad thing. But we are quick to turn a blind eye if that bad thing works out in our favour. But when things aren’t to our advantage, we are always quick to find blame and excuses.
Being uncomfortable is a part of change
When times got tough and confusion set in, I blamed stereotypes. I found myself questioning my life at that point because I didn’t fit the standard. Despite ticking all of the necessary boxes, my inability to fulfil a certain stereotype made me feel out of place. This is another reason Representation Matters.
Without beating around the bush, I’ll put my situation in simple terms for you. At times, I felt like the ‘token black girl’. This wasn’t the case. I got the grades I needed, I went through the same set of interviews and smashed the same assessment centre as everyone else! I was just the only one that looked like this and so my Imposter Syndrome started to seep through and cause me to question how much I deserved what I had.
Often, insecurities and self-doubt are rooted in the stereotypes manipulated by other people. When we allow such negative thoughts to hold a significant place in our lives, we are at risk of blocking the blessings God has laid out before us.
God has a plan
I’ve learnt to recognise when I’m in a place that God has put me in. When God has placed you somewhere He’ll let you know. Problem is, in these cases I often feel as though I don’t belong. Here’s why:
When I have worked hard and persevered to achieve something, it is likely that I desired to be there. No-one has a desire to be in a place where they feel they won’t fit in- your subconscious has already taken a full assessment of the standards and stereotypes and decided that you’re a good fit. Therefore, you’re free to pursue whatever it may be, with the confidence that once you reach the end goal; you’ll be in a place where you belong.
However, when God plants me somewhere, the chance to validate such is gone and so I feel out of place. But does this mean that I don’t belong?
The simple answer is no. You may have heard the saying “When God wants you to grow, He makes you uncomfortable”
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23
Seasons will test you
Where He may have placed you at this point in time, in which you feel you don’t belong, may not be the final destination. I can guarantee that there are lessons laid out for you to learn during this season. Being a follower of Christ and taking up a daily cross means that things will be difficult. Try to remember this during trials and tribulations.
I’m not suggesting that you will never feel comfortable in the places God has led you to. But I want you to remember that when God’s favour is upon you and He guides you somewhere, being obedient to His plans for you will eventually lead you to peace, joy and fulfilment.
Don’t let stereotypes mislead you or throw you off track.
Grow in the comfort of being uncomfortable.
Accept that if God has placed you there, you most certainly do belong!
All the best,