I’m the first to admit that I wasn’t very likable in high school. That’s not being hard on myself, that’s just stating a fact. And looking back, I wouldn’t have liked me very much in high school either. You see, I was one of those goody-two shoes – and no one likes one of those.
I was judgmental. I was narrow-minded. And in a way that’s very common to the young, I was a black and white thinker. There was no room for gray in my limited world view. The honest truth is that I was a fuddy-duddy of epic proportions.
I was raised with a very strict interpretation of what was right and wrong. There was little allowance made for other viewpoints or lifestyles. And it’s very easy for a young person to crawl up on the moral high-horse and become so straight-laced and rigid that you’re unable to look at life from any other perspective.
But I hope that’s not who I am anymore. It’s funny how life experiences, time, and age cause a person to mellow. Maybe it’s just that having life kick the crap out of you a few times makes it difficult to remain the same person – but sometimes that’s a good thing and we all need a swift kick every now and then.
It’s easy to be a rigid thinker when you’re young. After all, you haven’t experienced enough to know that your point of view is not the only one out there. Your interactions with people from different walks of life are probably limited (if you’ve had any at all). And depending on where you were raised, you may not have experienced much diversity in terms of backgrounds and upbringing. But even when you’re raised in a fairly heterogeneous setting, it’s still easy to discount the various attitudes and experiences that others have. Sometimes it seems that we actually encourage a limited world view rather than encouraging people to celebrate the differences among us. No, when you’re totally convinced that your viewpoint is the only valid one, anything different is seen as bad.
But different does not equal bad. And so to everyone who knew me when I was walking around with my judgmental attitude, I apologize. Life is so much better once you figure out that other people have a lot to add to your life.