I love glitter. I wear it on my body, on my eyes, love to play with it any chance I get. Something about glitter makes me giddy like a small child. Time and time again, people ask me if I am moonlighting as a stripper or if I think the glitter is childish. I usually just chalk it up to a cranky person or realize that those people are obviously just jealous because glitter is truly miraculous. I will eventually have an entire room made out of glitter!
As with most things, I started thinking about the why behind people’s issues with glitter. I believe that people can do whatever makes them happy, as long as everyone consents, there is no harm to others, and they aren’t trying to do it to me. I say go for it! However, it seems as though many people believe that there are rules and limitations to everything, even glitter.
Why little girls and strippers? I suppose little girls are allowed to be magical and delight in the sprinkles of joy that glitter brings. And strippers, well, we all know the stereotype of the trashy naked woman dancing on the pole while covered in glitter. If one were just examining the apparent “rules” of glitter, it would seem quite strange that glitter is okay for two groups of individuals that are seemingly so different.
As a therapist, I know the judgments about glitter aren’t about me. People have issues with and rules for different things based on their past, society, and the messages they learned in childhood.
We assign meaning automatically. It is a fundamental trait of humans, and we do it for our ideas on relationships with others, physical items, and our thoughts about ourselves. The brain automatically assigns meaning by reviewing past information and current perceptions of information. The brain can even assign meaning or reject information without you knowing it. It is an automatic process.
Given that it is an automatic process, how do we change our beliefs about things, even glitter? Core beliefs, such as glitter is for strippers and little girls, develop in the subconscious mind outside of our conscious awareness. Because these are outside of our awareness, we have to consciously examine the beliefs and identify what needs they meet.
You may ask yourself what need “glitter discrimination” may meet. Although it seems funny, some people find that these judgments meet their need for superiority. Some people find that it meets a need for certainty. Some people may find it meets their need of being socially acceptable. Some people have been shamed for being “different,” even if just in the scope of wearing glitter.
Before we can change a core belief, we have to decide who we want to be and if that belief fits the mold of our personal belief system. We also have to examine the emotion behind the belief so that we can consciously make a decision as to how we want to perceive a person, behavior, or thought.
Some of the questions you can ask yourself are:
Why does this bother me?
Is the behavior/person/thought hurting anyone?
What need does this belief fill?
Where does the belief come from?
Is the belief rooted in logic or societal norms?
It is also critical to ask yourself if the person was born with whatever your belief is about, such as the color of their skin or a disability. Identify if there is an emotion, such as fear, surrounding your belief. Try to not to introduce shame or guilt into your belief system. Shame reduces growth, which is what can come of identifying and changing core beliefs.
If you do not understand what you judge, then try to engulf yourself in learning about it. For example, asking an adult what glitter does for them. Or going to a church service of a religion you do not understand. Or volunteering at an agency for mental health.
I recognize the core beliefs I discussed span a wide range, from glitter to race to mental health. All of them are core beliefs, and all of them stem from unconscious influences that our brain takes in. And all of them equate to significant pain for the doer and the receiver.
Take action. Identify and recognize your core beliefs. Accept glitter.