Our parents generally teach us to be unique, to be different, to stand out and be our own person. But a topic that can fire people up is the idea of judgment.
People are judged based on their looks, ideas, beliefs and so on. Is there a reason we judge others?
Is there a reason why others make it a point to bring others down with their negative, unthoughtful criticism?
Not only do kids experience this when still in their teenage years in middle schools and high schools, but students suffer from this at the college level and as adults.
People constantly judge you, from the clothes you wear, your makeup, the food you eat, to the way you look and dress and the things you do and say - the list goes on. Simply put, we are in no place to judge others.
We are all judgmental. I think it's human nature.
And yet, even though it is in our nature to be judgmental, I don't think it's always useful to us. We look down on others, as if we are so much better, and that creates unnecessary division between people.
Think about it for a second: we see someone, and based on their looks or actions, we judge them. Not a good judgment, either. In most cases, judgment happens before we have any particular encounter with that person.
In many cases, we don't make an effort to get to know the person, or understand them, or see whether our judgment was right or not.
In high school, many students are fearful of cliques, which are groups of friends who would shun those they viewed as not worthy of their status of popularity.
This is where I'm going to bring out the line from the movie, "What a Girl Wants": "Why are you trying to fit in when we were born to stand out."
This quote emphasizes the main point of why we need to realize that it is OK to steer clear of popularity.
But what do we gain from this idea of longing to fit in with the rest of the world? Does it make us feel better to essentially be just another small, insignificant dot in a huge crowd of strangers, or would it be more beneficial for us to branch out, meet new people and not feel like we have to be devoted to a specific group of friends? It's all a matter of personal preference and personal choice.
This idea is not isolated to one specific group. In life, we all need to feel connected to those around us who have similar interests, hobbies, likes and dislikes, are of similar age and so on.
Unfortunately, we conform to the social standards set in place by society and essentially maintain and follow.
We could all spend a vast amount of time telling personal stories regarding this idea. It is important for us to teach our children that it's OK to step outside of your comfort zone.
We should teach that building healthy friendships, creating a positive identity for one's self and maintaining a strong self-esteem will help them live a life without negativity.
A lot of us don't consider just how serious "fitting in" has become in our society.
By addressing the situation, we can better understand why we believe that we have to be accepted by everyone.
Acceptance comes in a whole variety of different ways, but is isn't always accompanied by being part of the crowd.
Kratz is a student in Dan Mason's Citizen Journalism class at Mansfield University.