Imagine being a sleepless, hungry and exhausted. Like all millennials. All day, every day. You're having breakfast and minding your own business. An acquaintance casually says, "You sure you want that second helping?" You're startled with an overwhelming feeling of shame, guilt or embarrassment. The feeling is even more pressing if one is body conscious. We are forced to laugh it off, simply because expressing disagreement only makes us sound unreasonable.
We all constantly live in the fear of being judged. Or more specifically, a fear of not conforming. This has been ingrained in our brains since birth. Our upbringing subtly nudges us into following social conventions.All groups form societies which have some unsaid rules. These dictate how a person acts, talks and behaves in such a society. Societies and rules ensure that there is no chaos and the social strata are undisturbed. All societies also have leaders who control the group to some extent. However such rules and leaders can sometimes be extremely toxic.We see this behaviour in all walks of life. In fact, let’s talk about that one boy who answers all questions in class.There is no doubt that being studious and answering questions in class are good habits. But when a professor gave recognition to one of my classmates, he was humiliated and made fun of by our classmates. He was called many names from 'nerd' to 'teacher's pet' etc. Further, the classmates would laugh a bit harder at him than they did at others whenever he answered incorrectly.The name calling seemed harmless until he went visibly quiet in class and became withdrawn.
It’s not only with the ones that do well, it’s with others too.Growing up, such behaviour became clearer and began making sense. Once, a fellow classmate disciplined herself and worked hard to improve her grades. Another was quick to comment "When did SHE start studying?"
A female friend earned an internship with the biggest MNC recruiting in her college. A few male batchmates reduced her hard work to-"They only selected her because they must recruit one male and one female candidate."
A classmate in college showed promising potential in class. From sports, studies and public speaking skills. She earned a public shaming post on the college's gossip Instagram page.
And the list goes on.When we try to imbibe a good habit such as exercising, we face the first wave of demotivation from our own mind. "I can't do this." Once, we are able to overcome this, the second wave comes in the form of judgement from friends and family. This could include anything from subtle comments to constantly making fun of the person's efforts.
This common attitude is called "the crab mentality". It stems from human nature to reduce competition, through any means possible. It's the annoyance when a person doesn't want someone else to improve and tries to hinder their efforts instead of improving themselves. It is quite commonplace.
It is important to detach yourself from your environment and do what's important for your life in the long run and not be controlled by the judgement of others. It is important to control your life and not be controlled by it.
I try to remind myself that people don't think about me as often as I think. Nobody cares. Nobody gives a second thought to how I act. Everybody has their own lives to worry about. Another fact I’ve realized over the years is that people don't matter. Never do something for others rather than for yourself. People are temporary. Our surroundings and people change every two to three years.If something wouldn't matter a year from now, I don't give it a second thought.
Finally, don't Judge. It is a lot easier to keep my environment positive if my thoughts are positive in the first place. I won’t be hurt by the judgement next year but benefit more from my growth in whatever aspect.