When you see someone for the first time, you make an assumption of who they are based on their appearance. It’s a normal reaction for us as human beings, because we are constantly searching for a place to belong. However, despite this, my biggest frustration is that people can convince themselves that their first impression is true. They keep their thoughts superficial by telling themselves that if you are different from them, there must be something wrong with you. For e.g., when most people see someone covered in tattoos, they think he/she must have serious problems. If this doesn’t sound silly to you, I’m telling you it is. Social standards and society have convinced (and given) us pre-conceived ideas of who we are supposed to be and how we are supposed to act. And why do we want to go against it, if it means we are setting ourselves up to be judged?
Previous generations are more set in their ways and beliefs. I’m not saying that it is wrong, because I’m in no position to state what is right or wrong. I’m just saying that time isn’t standing still and our lives continue to evolve, whether we like it or not. Whereas, today’s youth don’t accept current ideologies as easily and they will question beliefs that they either find interesting or strange. In John Green’s book, The Fault in Our Stars, Hazel questions society in a similar way by asking who decided that bacon and eggs is a breakfast dish? I also want to know who decided this? It’s small, and sometimes big, things like these, which we accept too easily. We are blind to what we can be and then settle for what “they” want us to be.
This makes me question whether we have to accept society’s current standards and beliefs. In this case, I believe the answer is in the grey area without a clear yes or no. I think it comes down to whether or not you are ready to open yourself to possibly being judged for being who you truly are, and at the same time accepting the things you don’t understand. You have to teach yourself not to fear the unfamiliar. You can still listen and entertain a person’s opinion as their own, without abandoning your own beliefs. Aristotle can back me up with that one. You will understand the cheesy saying that every one of us is unique when you take in consideration that your identity is an evolving entity influenced by your culture, morals, religion, etc.
Take a moment and look back at a past mistake. I’m pretty sure that you can say that you made that decision on what you believed to be the best option for you at that time, even if it didn’t turn out great. Accepting that you are different from other people and that people are different from you, is one of the many key aspects to finding your freedom. If you can also accept your own mistakes, you will be free in becoming who you truly are.