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Conquering Stress! With Dr. Arlene — All Stereotyping And Labeling Cause Stress

Posted Thursday, April 4, 2019 - 6:31 pm

by Dr. Arlene Barro

The hallmarks of discrimination are stereotyping and labeling which the media’s rhetoric reinforces. Referring to Biden, Sanders, and Trump as “old white men” is unacceptable. In 1861, renowned philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson understood that we should focus on function not age.

In his book The Essay on Self-Reliance, he said “The years in your life are less important than the life in your years.” The ignorance that Emerson observed in society, more than 150 years ago, still exists and fuels discrimination today which includes racism, resulting in stress. Emerson referred to “the human race.” Let us start using that verbiage now.

The Distraction of Discrimination

Should we ignore discrimination? Depends on the situation. If you are a Democratic presidential candidate, “labeling” remarks could distract you from your mission to capture the presidential nomination in 2020. Trump is a master of offensive labeling. He used this technique in the previous presidential election to destroy his Republican opponents and succeeded. Notably, Jeb Bush crumbled fast. He lost all his confidence and never recovered. Instead of ignoring Trump and becoming more confident, he played into Trump’s hands.

Bush asked his mother and brother to help him which was a big mistake. Trump then tormented Bush further about his dependency on his mother Barbara and his brother George. Early on Trump portrayed Jeb as a mother’s boy. Why did Jeb ask for their help? Clueless.! He hammered the last nail in his coffin and never knew it until he was snuffed out.

Trump is already sharpening his verbal knives and crafting Twittter talk to takedown anyone who runs against him in 2020. It is the opponents’ responsibility to demonstrate that they are the one Right Fit. Set the standard, focus on yourself, and WIN Without Competing! Nov. 3, 2020 will be a memorable presidential election. If your candidate does not win, follow Senator John McCain’s advice: say, “I’m over it!” If you can do this and believe it, you will not feel stressed. Positive self-talk is the key to success.

Why do we have preconceived ideas about the differences between men and women? It is baked into our culture, and the main ingredients are stereotypes and labels. Again we are using distraction to shift the focus. Think about how gender identification works. We make assumptions, frequently erroneous, and describe people accordingly. Many of us have lost the capability of evaluating the caliber of a person because our minds are cluttered with erroneous assumptions. Delete them.

Instead do the following:

• Forget about gender differences and focus on each individual as a person.

• Do not compare and contrast people. Decide who is the Right Fit for you, using standards and criteria.

• Many in the media do not fully investigate what they are reporting. Make up your own mind, rather than echoing nonsense.

Apply my three point formula to all types of stereotyping and labeling. In case you forget and rely on the media to guide you, remember how Michael Avenatti, celebrity attorney, was courted by them. Where is he now? He was arrested after felony indictments for wire and bank fraud. Then, he was released on a $300,000 bond. There is more. Extortion from Nike? The media darling could spend 100 years or more in jail. Use the Avenatti narrative to remind you to objectively evaluate people.

The Power of Persuasion

Early in life we make an important decision, either consciously or unconsciously. I made my decision in the fourth grade. Who persuaded me? Poet Laureate and four time Pulitzer Prize winner, Robert Frost. The trajectory of my life was instantly changed when I read the following stanza from his poem, The Road Not Taken published in 1916. Frost wrote.

Two roads diverged

in a wood, and I—

took the less traveled by…

And that has made

all the difference.

Frost instantly set me free. I did not need to wear the cloak of conformity. From then on, I proudly wore my cloak of creativity which “has made all the difference.” If you focus on being yourself, you can rise above discrimination and deal with it on a case by case basis.

Do not allow society to dictate how you should feel and what you should do. Use positive self-talk to empower and boost your self-confidence. Speak up when necessary. Use other strategies when appropriate. You have the power to persuade yourself to change your behavior and reduce your stress. The time is now.

The Will to WIN

Before Emerson wrote The Essay on Self-Reliance, he was a Unitarian minister who gave sermons on individualism, personal responsibility and nonconformity. His sermons were not well received. But that did not stop him. He used the negativity to ignite his passion to write his first book to explain self-reliance further.

Emerson had the Will to WIN. He did not allow others to deter him from his mission. Remember this quote, “No member of a crew is praised for the rugged individuality of rowing.” In 1861, unknowingly, he visualized the future. What would he think about inserting microchips in the human brain? Individuality and creativity are dead.

Eager to learn more? Read Anxiety Provoking Self-Talk Causes Stress (March 2019), Trump’s Ego Causes Stress (February 2019), New Beginnings Cause Stress (November 2017), and Erroneous Assumptions Cause Stress (April 2016).

Questions about this column? Email

Dr. Arlene Barro, the creator of the Right Fit Method, is a UCLA-trained behavioral educational psychologist and professional speaker. She is the author of “WIN Without Competing!,” a business, career and personal strategist focusing on success and stress. Founder/CEO of barro global search, inc. at 10940 Wilshire Boulevard, Westwood. Episodes of her radio show are available at

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