How to Overcome Discrimination Without Violating Your Values

Having to deal with and overcome discrimination is unpleasant. Discrimination is an everyday reality for many people.

Your ability to stay true to yourself and not violate your values, if you have to overcome discrimination, will help you stay focused on what’s important.

There are many situations considered as discrimination. It is best defined as the discriminatory or biased treatment of someone or groups, based on characteristics that include gender, race, age, religious beliefs or sexual orientation.

What causes people to discriminate others is due to many factors. These can include environments, cultural upbringing, life experiences or events, and the influence of media.

Most times, discrimination arises because of ignorance, misguided information, incorrect assumptions and fear.

Discrimination can cause turmoil in people’s lives. Its consequences include:

  • Mental health challenges.
  • Greater risk for anxiety, depression and suicide.
  • Drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Loss of confidence or motivation.
  • Inability to focus well.
  • Feelings of resentment, anger and sadness.
  • Increased risk of time off work, which can lead to termination of employment.
  • Lower productivity and poor performance.
  • Serious health issues.

If you have experienced or are experiencing discrimination, knowing what to do to avoid its consequences, will ensure you deal with it as best as you can, without compromising your values.

overcome discrimination

Dealing with discrimination is challenging. It’s important not to lower your standards or act out of character. Your main objective is to stay true to yourself and your values.

Here are five things you can do to overcome discrimination, without violating your values, so you can feel good about how you deal with it.

  1. Show leadership and professionalism. This means not reacting and managing your emotions well. Sometimes, it helps to see things from other people’s perspective. This does not mean you agree with something they have done that has violated your rights. It’s about your ability to let it go so you are mentally and emotionally okay.
  2. Focus on what you can affect. It’s important not to dwell on what happened or continually relive it. You are not responsible for other people’s actions. You can only manage what you feed your mind, your thoughts, the images you visualize, what you say and how you act. If you focus on doing these well, you will be in a better frame of mind.
  3. Reconnect to what matters most. If someone is being discriminatory, it’s really about them and their beliefs or values rather than anything about you. It will serve you more to focus on your well-being and those you can influence positively. Your mental and emotional states are important, so focus on what brings you joy.
  4. Get professional help. If you feel you have been affected severely, working with a professional to get to the root causes will ensure you don’t get triggered again. Having the right support systems will make it easier to continue on doing what you want to.
  5. Speak up so others can benefit from your experience. Those who experience discrimination will either react or suffer in silence. Staying silent will not benefit you or others. If you do not want others to experience what you have gone through, speak up so the issue can be addressed by those who can do something about it.

To overcome discrimination, while staying true to who you are, requires courage, compassion and strength. It’s important to remember something good can always come out of an unpleasant experience.

When you learn to better deal with discrimination, you will also set an example, which can make others become more aware of how to respect everyone’s basic rights and values.

Action Step: If you believe you are being discriminated against, use these ideas to better deal with your situation. At the very least, speak to someone who can offer guidance so you don’t have to deal with the situation yourself.

Question: What are other things you can do to overcome discrimination without violating your values?

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Neel Raman

Neel Raman


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