Tomorrow is the national day of change and this year’s theme is respect. Therefore I would like to make a bit of space in this blog for respect and its meaning and the importance of embracing change in our lives.
Respect has a lot of meanings and it can be expressed in many ways, but for me, the most important aspect of respect is the kind that makes you accept the people around you. Respect to the others might seem easy to conquer. We tend to think that as long as we are not being verbally harmful to those around us we show them respect but this is not the case. Society is filled with unspoken rules about how people should behave. Men should not be sensitive, women should not misbehave or, let’s face it, sleep around, which for me has never been okay. I have always wondered who is making these rules and why do we feel that we have to follow them, and I think that the main reason of society’s shortcomings to diversity is stereotypes.
Stereotypes are in the core of our thinking; sometimes we don’t even realize that we have them and they are something we acquire from a very early age. The thing is though, that stereotypes are not a good enough reason for people to be cruel to one another. We have our stereotypes but we also have our education and I believe that it is high time that we realized that whenever society has changed for the better it is through the fights of the minorities and oppressed members of society. From oppressed slaves, to oppressed poor people, to oppressed women history has shown that whenever a group of society is being out casted things build up and change, when it comes, is of a radical and often violent nature.
Despite all these, we have somehow managed to formulate a society that is crueler than ever. People nowadays are forced to have the perfect body, the perfect outfit, the perfect life. We spend so much of our energy trying to fit in, because if we don’t we will end up alone in the sidelines of society, where people can mock us and make us feel less of a person. And it is so easy for people to do that nowadays; everyone’s opinion is a matter of public speaking and since we are not face to face with the other side we don’t associate our words us harmful. Hate speech, slut shaming, racism, xenophobia are all things that we read online day after day, in a society that boosts that has reached the 21st century.
It is, therefore, high time that we took a step in the opposite direction. We tend to stay passive when we see these types of incidents but this is not enough. We need to stand up to those who feel entitled to judge other people and their way of living. We need to educate young people to respect and accept one another and this not in order to eliminate or prohibit thoughtful thinking or judgment but in order to promote creativity and differentiation. If we allow young people to think openly we allow them to open their minds to new ideas and new possibilities and grow. In any case change is inevitable, so why not embrace it?