“My favorite coping mechanism for shitty things is to realize that I may not have the power to change other’s perceptions, but I can honor it while also choosing and honoring my own.” @optimistic_mft
I say this in a lighthearted way because there are many times I (and I’m sure many other people) get frustrated because some “social constructs” don’t match with my personal beliefs. What does that mean?
Essentially, social constructionism is a theory that all the beliefs & norms we have in our lives are based on the larger societies assumptions about how the world is, and absolute truths in reality don’t exist. Ever hear this quote? “There’s three sides to every story; his side, her side, and the truth.” It’s kind of like that. Basically, everyone’s reality is based on their very own assumptions about the world. The assumptions (perspective/opinions) we have (by learning from our families and society) determine how we interpret reality. The ability to question our realities and view them differently, is crucial! Why? Well…
A very basic, every day example of social construction- table manners. Picture you’re eating at a super fancy + elite dinner, all the spoons and forks are in front of you but you have no fucking clue which fork to use first. Someone who seems experienced looks over to you and goes “use the biggest fork first, that’s the appetizer fork.” You say “wow, thanks, I had no idea!” Gratefully, you use that fork for the first dish. Yum! You’re having a great time. Then when the big meal comes out and you whip out your little fork at the main course. Everyone looks at you weirdly. “What am I doing wrong?” You feel shamed and confused. Everyone else uses their big fork for their main meal with a silent understanding that that’s just “how you do it.” You feel sad, alienated, and like you’re doing something wrong. Next time, you use your big fork without questioning it.
Your “reality” was created by the person who told you it was the little fork, then your truth was completely discredited and changed by the majority of the people, who used the big one. MOST IMPORTANT POINT: why the fuck should we care what fork we are using if we all get to eat?
Social constructs that dictate serious issues can have harmful impacts on everyone, but especially marginalized groups and concepts like gender roles, race, career success, body size, and love. •greater awareness to question the assumptions flying around can help you create your own reality instead of accepting the larger society’s. What does that mean? Accepting yourself for who you are rather than what you feel like you’re ‘expected to be’. Something that I find really funny is how Jim Carrey regularly refers to these ideas in the public, without giving an explanation. Without explanation, he sounds like he makes no sense. Prince EA makes awesome inspirational and thought provoking videos to help drop knowledge for everyone for better mental health: check out his explanation of Jim Carrey’s press interview to explain social construction and wtf was going on!