Let’s be honest, we live in pretty judgment and pressure-based society.
If you don’t believe me, just imagine one of your parents staring you dead in the eyes and telling you they aren’t mad, they’re just disappointed.
With that image conjuring up memories from our collective childhoods, I would like to turn your attention to how this social judgment can be a pretty dangerous thing. And as a member of the most judgmental and simultaneously self-conscious of age groups, a high school student, I feel qualified.
I in no way mean this about parenting. That was just an example, and I completely agree with that philosophy. Please keep your kids in line, I go to school with them too. Parenting is a great example of how social pressure can be a very valuable thing. If you can build enough mutual trust and respect in that relationship, then the pressure of maintaining it is more powerful than any rules or punishment could ever be. Social pressure can keep people from littering and committing petty theft because we as a society see those habits as wrong and judge those who do. If you see social pressure only like this, it is truly a beautiful thing.
On the other hand, think of any part of your life. There is most definitely some negative social pressure or judgment associated with it. Do you drive a car? If so, someone has probably judged you for the vehicle that gets you around. And yes, it is really easy to not care about what someone thinks about your car, but my point is this judgment is everywhere. Even in things that really do matter.
Chances are you’ve been judged for that mere fact of your existence multiple times in the last day. Whether it was because someone thought your neck looked too wide, your hair was weird, legs were too short, your arms were too long, or even your eyes totally clashed with the colour of your freckles, it’s all not OK for people to do this. And if ignoring that was just as easy as not listening to other people everyone would just do that.
The problem is that when you hear something enough times you can’t help but believe it too. So many people get so much judgment about the one singular thing that they can truly have in this life, themselves, that they start to think there is something wrong with things absolutely no one could ever have control over.
Even if it is something someone can control, like the food they eat or the clothes they wear, who is anyone to judge you for that? It’s your body, your life and your choice. The definition of good food is food you feel good eating. Good clothes are clothes you feel good wearing. As I am a minor below the legal drinking age who would like his attorney present for any further questioning, I cannot confirm a good drink is one you enjoy drinking. But it makes my point all the same. Don’t judge people for things they cannot change. And even if it is something they can, it’s a free country. Whose job is it to judge you for what you do with your life? Your disappointed parents, that’s who.
Kevin Styba-Nelson is a Grade 12 student at Princess Margaret Secondary School.
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