Celebrating Individuality (+free poster)

Whenever I find myself judging someone based on what they’re wearing or the music they listen to; the way they walk or their opinions on books, a flash sign immediately goes off in my head and I think about what Radar says in Paper Towns:

“…You know your problem, Quentin? You keep expecting people not to be themselves. I mean, I could hate you for being massively unpunctual and for never being interested in anything other than Margo Roth Spiegelman, and for, like, never asking me about how it’s going with my girlfriend— but I don’t give a shit, man, because you’re you. My parents have a shit ton of black Santas, but that’s okay. They’re them. I’m too obsessed with a reference Web to answer my phone sometimes when my friends call, or my girlfriend. That’s okay, too. That’s me. You like me anyway. And I like you. You’re funny, and you’re smart, and you may show up late, but you always show up eventually.”

Paper Towns is not my favorite book, but it is probably the one book that had the greatest impact on my life.

Each person is different, each individual has his/ her own remarkable traits, attributes, and opinions. It is what makes me, well, me; and what makes you you. And as we grow, we begin to develop those opinions and traits, building our own unique personality.

Instead of oppressing this uniqueness or trying to shun it down, we must value and respect it. We must celebrate it.

Whether or not you agree with something is completely your own idea, and just because you have personal reservations about a topic or certain beliefs about a subject does not give you the right to impose those morals on others.

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Movies, the fashion industry, society, and schools try to impose sameness, even if we do not realize it. They encourage stereotyping by defining what is acceptable and what is not, what is beautiful and what is ugly, what is cool and what is boring. It is no wonder that most dystopian novels depict communities where people are labeled and categorized into factions and groups— because that is where we are heading.

Divergent, The Giver, Uglies, The Hunger Games, The Selection… all contain themes themes such as classifying humans, defining beauty standards, and imposing sameness.

I wouldn’t want anyone to form superficial opinions on me based on my hijab or the color of eyes, my love for John Green or Imagine Dragons, my country or my social skills. So why should I judge and label people based on visible attributes or different opinions they have?

I feel like we must try to give people excuses rather than judge them badly. We must respect them, accept their opinions even when they strongly disagree with our own. And most importantly, try to treat them as we wish to be treated ourselves: with love, respect, and kindness.


Click on the photo below to see the free poster in full size:Gandhi

I leave you with this quote by Wayne Dyer:

See the light in others, and treat them as if that is all you see.

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