I can still remember when I was in elementary. It’s either you call names or you’re called names. I was called not just by a single tag but a lot. Then for the others, the list was long. There’s always this smelly guy. And that girl with dark armpits. And the one who slipped at the hallway. Then the guy with acne-infested face. And even our teachers were not spared. All those ugly stuffs attached to people. And we recognized them by those tags, not by their names. Not their personality. Not the good things they did. Not their achievements. It’s how they looked. It’s that one mistake they did. It’s their not-so-pretty features.
It was how the cool dudes in the class called them. And we would imitate. Even if we didn’t see it personally, we used the same words for the poor guys. Even if it might not be true. But it didn’t matter. ‘Cause if we didn’t join, we might be their next target. We would not be cool also. And we would risk to be branded as kill-joy. And we would be out of the circle.
I got swayed as well. I also called names. I distanced myself from the “losers”. And now I regret it as I lost the opportunity to know those other guys. I’m sure there were interesting things to know about them. Maybe some great ideas to learn. They should also have good stories and great times to share. But I was not able to hear them. I succumbed to peer pressure.
It’s forgivable. We were kids then. Maturity was not yet in our vocabulary. We’re just trying to have fun. And now we’re older. We’re supposed to know more. We understand things now. We think and act better. Or do we?
A lot of us choose things because other people like them too. Especially the popular ones. We believe in what is being said by someone who is famous because…he’s famous . We speak the same “personal opinion” because it’s what the majority thinks. And that seemed to be the most practical thing to do. The easier choice. We’re safe with numbers. It might be awkward if we go against the flow. Everyone’s all right anyway, so why question their decision? Or does anyone among them even question their own options before choosing it?
|The vicious cycle (from nplainfield.org)|
And we hate some stuff. Even if we don’t truly understand them, it’s easy to hate some things that are perceived to be shunned by the majority. They despise them. So we think there’s a valid reason for that. So we also have to hate it. Similarly when we were kids where one of our friends pick a fight with a person or another group, we're expected to be enemies with them also. Even if we don’t have a personal reason to hate them. We’ll surely find one. And we must, or else.
Peer pressure is still affecting even the not so young populace. We sure do. We succumb to what the majority feel or say. At least that’s what the media want us to perceive. Think about advocacies, elections, choice of lifestyle, schools, your job, stuffs we buy, etc. Are we really making our own decisions?
Most of us wanted to stand out but continue to think and act with mediocrity. We refrain from thinking deeper and just move along with the average. And we all wanted to achieve true joy in life. But we let other people decide the things which will make us happy.
|Sometimes, a smile makes a big difference.|
I just hope that I get a chance to talk to those guys I distanced myself from when we were young. I already got to talk with some. And I’m happy about it. My theory’s right. They are very interesting people. More than I thought actually. A lot of them are already successful in life. Many of them are happy. They are nice and warm people. They show genuine eagerness when you get to talk with them. A lot of things I am learning from them. I felt guilty. Maybe they forgave me for what I did years ago. They understand that we were young then. I was immature. I was clueless with what I’m doing in my life. And someday, I hope that time comes when I will become a fully matured and critically thinking person. And today, I decide to be a happy man.