Do you feel like something seems to be demanding your time and attention everywhere you turn?
This can often lead to feelings of frustration or powerlessness. The phenomenon known as the Principle of Everyday Tyranny is an attempt by people in society to enforce their values onto others, whether through manipulation, control, or outright domination.
Despite knowing this isn’t desirable behavior, we still find ourselves trying to do the same thing – but for whatever reason, we don't recognize it when it happens within our circles. Understanding its behavior patterns better helps us reliably identify how a situation works, rather than being taken unaware again and again.
In this blog post, I'm going to explore what everyday tyranny looks like; where it comes from, and what are its causes and effects – fortunately, some practical tips will also be provided on ways you may stop yourself (as well as those around you) resorting back into old patterns!
Definition of Everyday Tyranny
Everyday tyranny refers to subtle forms of control that people exercise over others. It is often characterized by personality traits that include self-righteousness, stubbornness, and a need for validation. People who engage in such behavior tend to be self-absorbed, focusing only on their perspective without considering the views of others. In an effort to exert control, everyday tyrants frequently impose their values on others out of a need to feel superior. Such behavior can go unnoticed, but it can significantly impact individuals and their interactions with others. It is essential to recognize these actions and understand how they conflict with our core values of mutual respect and cooperation to create a more positive social environment.
Reasons why we want to change others
As humans, we regularly find ourselves wishing to change others. Whether it's a family member, friend, or colleague, our desire to mold them can come from various sources. We intend to change others because we firmly believe in our values and want those around us to share them. Additionally, we may be intrinsically motivated to see our loved ones succeed, and we believe that changing certain aspects of their behavior will help them achieve their inner goals. Lastly, seeing those we care about improve and grow can bring us immense joy and good feelings. However, it's important to note that, ultimately, change must come from within a person and cannot be forced upon them.
a. Fear of being judged
The fear of being judged is a common experience that many people face, often due to the intolerance of others or their fear of errors. In some cases, this fear can lead to a lack of self-control, causing individuals to expend unnecessary energy trying to avoid being criticized or negatively evaluated. However, it is significant to remember that everyone makes mistakes and has their struggles. By acknowledging this and working on self-acceptance, individuals may overcome their fear of judgment and feel more confident and secure in themselves.
b. Protection of opinions & values
The protection of opinions and values is a crucial aspect of our society. It allows us to express our thoughts and beliefs without fear of retribution freely. Everyone has their own core values stemming from their personality traits and experiences, which make them unique. The assertion of these values is essential to maintaining our individuality and preserving our rights. We must continue to uphold the protection of opinions and values so that our society can flourish with diversity and inclusivity. As professionals in our respective fields, we are responsible for ensuring that our actions and decisions align with this principle.
c. Lack of understanding of other's perspectives
In an increasingly interconnected world, understanding the perspectives of others is more important than ever. Yet, at times, it may seem that there is a lack of willingness or ability to see things from another standpoint. This may be due to unconscious biases that prevent individuals from truly understanding and empathizing with others. However, it is essential to remember that we all share universal values and intentions and that by becoming aware of our biases and self-hugging tendencies, we can work towards a greater understanding of those around us. Doing so can build stronger relationships, foster mutual respect, and create a more inclusive society.
How to address the issue of wanting to change others
As individuals, we often face the dilemma of wanting to change others around us. However, this urge can stem from confirmation bias, overconfidence bias, and groupthink. When we only seek information that confirms our beliefs or overestimates our ability to influence others, we become trapped in a cycle of self-hugging. It's important to recognize these biases and approach the issue with an open mind and a willingness to listen to different perspectives. Instead of trying to change others, focus on being a positive influence and leading by example. Remember, actual change comes from within, and the only person we have control over changing is ourselves.
a. Respect individual differences and listen without judgment
Respecting individual differences is fundamental to creating a positive and inclusive environment. It is crucial to approach others intending to understand and appreciate their unique perspectives and experiences without judgment. Misunderstandings can happen when we assume everyone should think and act the same way we do. We should be mindful of the purpose behind other people's actions, and instead of immediately jumping to a quick judgment, listen with an open mind. By doing so, we not only foster better relationships but also create a space where everyone can feel valued and heard.
b. Establish ground rules in conversations to ensure everyone feels heard and respected
Effective communication is vital to maintaining harmonious relationships, both personal and professional. Setting ground rules is one way to establish a conducive environment for innovative and productive conversations. In doing so, everyone can listen to and learn from one another by sharing multiple perspectives. Asking questions and practicing acceptance and empathy can help ensure everyone feels heard and respected. This fosters a culture of inclusivity, where diverse opinions are heard and valued. Ultimately, respecting each other's views and coming away with new insights can help build stronger connections and positive outcomes.
Strategies for overcoming Everyday Tyranny in your life
Although a constant search for freedom has characterized our evolution as humans, we still regularly encounter forms of tyranny. The key to breaking free lies in differentiation and acceptance. By recognizing and accepting that not everyone shares the same values or beliefs, we can avoid conflicts that often arise from differences in opinion. Additionally, perspective and synergies can be powerful tools for overcoming everyday tyranny. Looking at a situation, from another person's perspective, can create understanding and foster cooperation. We can create a more harmonious and empowered society by coming together and working towards a common goal.
a. Be mindful of your judgments, assumptions, and biases
In today's fast-paced world, it's easy to fall into the trap of making quick judgments about others based on preconceived notions and biases. It's crucial to be mindful of our personalities and identities and how they shape our perceptions of others. Reflecting on our assumptions and biases opens the door to meaningful exchange and personal growth. By stepping outside our perspectives and challenging our judgments, we can foster more profound understanding and empathy for those around us, cultivating an environment of acceptance and inclusivity in both our personal and professional lives.
b. Understand that not all opinions are equal and some are more valid than others
It is essential to understand that not all carry the same weight in the realm of opinions. When examining a topic, it is vital to consider one's perceptions, feelings, emotions, values, and goals. These factors can significantly influence an individual's viewpoint and the level of validity of their opinion. For instance, an expert in a specific field may have a more valid opinion on a related topic than someone lacking the same knowledge and expertise. By recognizing the varying degrees of importance of opinions, we can engage in productive and meaningful discussions that foster growth and progress.
The importance of conscious oppression versus unconscious oppression
As we strive towards creating a more equitable society, examining the role of conscious and unconscious oppression is crucial. Unconscious bias is often prevalent in everyday interactions and can lead to harmful outcomes without any intention of malice. However, conscious oppression is a deliberate effort to withhold power and privilege from certain groups, frequently through discriminatory policies and actions. Addressing and dismantling both types of oppression requires a commitment to value-based communication and a willingness to engage in uncomfortable conversations. Ultimately, recognizing the importance of conscious and unconscious oppression is essential in advancing toward a more just and inclusive society.
Ending Everyday Tyranny – Practical Ideas for Positive Change
As we strive to create a more inclusive and diverse society, it’s crucial to recognize the everyday tyrannies that exist and act to end them. Co-creation is vital in this process, as we work together with individuals from all backgrounds to develop practical ideas that generate positive change.
By focusing on results rather than simply acknowledging issues, we can turn the concept of inclusion and diversity into a tangible reality. Through thoughtful collaboration, we can challenge the current conditions and build a society where everyone feels valued and respected.
Everyday Tyranny has been around for centuries, but that doesn't have to be the case anymore. Consider your fear of being judged, your desire to protect your opinions and values, and your lack of understanding of different perspectives. Respect individual values, listen without judgment, and appreciate that not all opinions are equal.
Stop the power dynamics about who is right or wrong by identifying potential biases you might hold on to. Regarding our personal lives, we can be mindful of our judgments and accept different opinions with an open mind. It is only through a combined effort that we can help put an end to Everyday Tyranny. Ultimately, we need each other to evolve.
We need multiple perspectives to grow. Let's move away from tyranny by having an open dialogue about actively understanding each other's perspectives to discover what it takes to create lasting change in ourselves and society.