Updated: Nov 13, 2019
I went to the same school from Kindergarten until 9th Grade. It was a magnet type public school that required your parents putting you on a weightless before you were even born to get in. Most of the kids at this school were exactly like me, similar socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. That is all I knew in my little bubble of a life. It wasn't until I decided to move to my neighborhood school in 10th Grade that I started to meet people different than me.
I remember one day at my new high school getting into a deep conversation with my friend from Haiti. He started talking to me about all kinds of things I never thought about before, especially the topic Racism in America. He enlightened me on how even though we think in this day and age everyone is treated equally, they really aren't. As time went on my friend and I got really close and had many deep philosophical conversations. I continued to become friends with a diverse group of kids at my new high school and grew a lot as a person over those few years.
Over time, I started thinking about how different my life would have been if I had stayed at the same school with people exactly like me, I would never have known anything different, and I may have stayed in that "bubble" for a very long time, if not my whole life.
This "Aha" moment led me on a path of continuing to seek things outside of my bubble. Freshman year of college, I was questioning my religion and exploring Bahaism, as well as starting a Students Against Racism Club on campus.
I don't remember the moment I detoured from my deep path back back into my bubble, but I think it was around sophomore year of college. That is when I joined a sorority and was back again surrounded by people just like me. I slipped back into the bubble subconsciously and at the time I didn't even realize I was back in it.
It’s so easy to live in your own bubble, and even easier to not know you are living in a bubble.. It is so common in our society for people to make fun of or debate ideas that are different from our own. It is so common to not even acknowledge people or ideas that are foreign to us. In my opinion, that is really sad.
Living in your own bubble is boring. Nobody challenges you; nobody disagrees with you; nobody ever asks you to explain why you think the way you do. Everything is pleasant — on the surface. It may seem like nirvana. But it’s artificial. It’s shallow. Sometimes it can come from fear of the unknown, and sometimes it can come from truly not knowing the unknown exists.
We all need to realize that we are not right about everything. We may be wrong, naive, or just plain ignorant on many subjects. We may even be partially wrong. Or, it may have nothing to do with right or wrong. Just different. Different childhoods. Different baggage we carry. Different communities we live in. Different experiences we've had. Different books we read. Different religions we practice.
Having friends who are just like you, and dismissing those who are different, is no great accomplishment. For many of us, that is just high school all over again. So, now that we are an adult, it’s time to recognize that we may have a cognitive bias. This means we make inferences about others from our subjective reality, believing our opinions are the absolute truth.
We need to go beyond our cognitive bias. Be open to getting to know people who are nothing like us. Hear their experiences without judging them. Expand our social networks. Get outside our bubble. We need to live with and work with people of different races, religions, and belief systems.
Many of us need to: 1. Admit we are living in a bubble.
2. Step out of our comfort zone.
3. Put ourself into a situation that will require change and may be uncomfortable.
Then see how you grow. You might be surprised at just how alive you feel.
Question: Have you ever felt like you were living in a bubble? Leave a comment below...
*Written by Laura Yazdian, small parts adapted from articles by Linda Sapadin and Michael Hyatt.