How many times have you caught yourself thinking or saying, “God, what a skank” or, “He looks like a loser”, “She goes out all the time, how sad” or something along those lines, especially about people you have never met or even spoken to?
Making baseless judgments of strangers is innocent enough, I suppose… I mean, it doesn’t really harm the person being judged if you just say it or think it to yourself… but does it benefit you in any way either?
I don’t know how it is in other countries/cultures, but I know that in ours here in the United States we are raised to be in competition with one another at all times. (Women in particular, but it goes for men as well.) We are, in general, a society of insecure people trying to make ourselves feel better by thinking and vocalizing what is wrong with everyone else around us.
Girls who are overweight want to call skinny people “not real” or “skinny bitches.” Then skinny girls want to turn around and call the overweight girls names right back. People have kids and a family and maybe have a friend get upset with them for not being able to go out, so they turn around and write a Facebook post about how much better they are because they’re at home with their family and not out “partying like an idiot.” The list goes on.
Also, we have stereotypes thrown in our faces pretty much all the time. We grow up to assume that the kid wearing all black with eighteen piercings in his face and ears is sketchy. Or the girl with the tight dress is sleeping with everyone. Or the kid with the dreads and gold chain is a thug.
If you never once made these kinds of assumptions, as a kid or as an adult, then you’re either lying to sound good, or you grew up with the best parents ever, in the best town ever, with virtually no media influence.
I’m not saying I was ever mean or hateful toward people based on assumptions. Definitely not. But when I was younger, yeah, they would cross my mind fairly often. I always gave people a chance and usually they would prove me wrong. Because these assumptions aren’t based on much of anything.
I’ve had these types of judgements made against me as well. I know I have. Everyone has. Especially as teenagers. Everyone is still trying to figure out who they are and they tend to be most insecure at that time in their life, and so they lash out at those around them.
As I’ve gotten older and learned for myself that self-esteem is based on what you think of yourself, and should have nothing to do with what you think of others or what they think of you… I’ve just become happier. Truthfully, I never did care all that much what other girls said about me behind my back. Because I knew it was based off of nothing factual, and was coming from a place of insecurity on their part. A girl once got so upset with me that she cried hysterically and had to “talk” with me in the bathroom because I walked back from track practice in the same group as her boyfriend. And I heard her friends consoling her saying, “Don’t worry, she’s just a slut.” I didn’t even talk to the kid the entire time, and I didn’t even like him as a person. I mean seriously, that is high school for you. I wasn’t all that worried about their words.
However, I did always have the backwards thought process in my head of, “If I’m pretty/funny, she can’t be prettier/funnier.” (Or whatever trait.) And I know a lot of girls who had the same thing going on. Obviously I wasn’t conscious of it at the time, but I know it was there. And it is just a recipe for inner turmoil, and negativity.
I swear, I think every girl should have to read “Queen Bees and Wannabes” and watch “Mean Girls” at like 14 years old. Because the “aha” moment Cady has at the mathlete competition is truly what it all boils down to. Calling someone stupid won’t make you any smarter, calling someone ugly won’t make you any prettier, etc. It’s a simple concept that gets so muddled in the mess of media influence and societal pressure to be the best and not only think you are the best yourself, but have everyone else think it as well.
I really do try to always be aware of myself when I start to make a baseless judgement of someone. If I get a theory about a person in my head I remind myself, “You have no idea, really.” My twenties has been a time of self-reflection and strengthening my self-esteem without bringing anyone down. Luckily I had a good foundation from my upbringing… I feel like I got a head start, really. I was fortunate to have wonderful parents who made me feel special without feeling above anyone else. And that is what it comes down to, I think. ❤ I think we would all benefit from being honest about this type of behavior and just making an effort to be aware of it, you know? But these are just my personal thoughts based on my own experiences. 🙂 I would just rather be positive than negative. ❤