Pride and Prejudice

What I like most about the people I choose to be friends with is that they are all considerate, nice people who I am able to have a deep conversation with. I’m lucky to have found that here at school with a friend to whom I can relate, and vice versa. However, I did not expect to have had such a long talk with her tonight, but I knew that what we talked about had to be shared.

For once, I have an interesting topic to post about.

You see, my friend has gone through tough times, I as well, and we just talked about everything. She had told me that I was somebody she felt she could share her whole story with, instead of just bits and pieces like she’s done her whole life. I replied by admitting that that was all I wanted to be in life; to be somebody that people can trust and open up to and know that they won’t be judged is my only goal. Of course, by pure human nature, I can be judgmental. I can look at a person and make a judgment based off pure observation, and I know it may not be right at all. That’s why, if the person I make that judgment call on wants to have a real conversation with me, and get to know me, or me them, I will throw all judgment away to learn and form new, truer conclusions on that persons character. We are not all who we come across to be to other people. But do you realize how many people can’t let go of that first judgment? Some may stuff it in the back of their mind to forever influence their perception of another, even after making final conclusions. That’s why I feel so many people don’t really know me. They make judgments based on the character I portray in front of them, but none truly know me until they give me a chance to explain myself. And that’s okay. People can believe what they would like about me, and as I understood a few weeks ago, maybe I don’t even know myself. I mean I have so many different sides to my personality, some that clash and just don’t seem like they could belong to the same person. Maybe they are all fronts, maybe they are all different characters I want people to perceive. I almost feel like I lost touch with who I know I am, and learned who I can be, depending on my mood or situation. I just came to the self-realization that my personality is much more complex than I ever thought it to be, and if I were to explain my character to somebody, the traits would be so all over the place that the person might think I have multi-personality disorder, or whatever you’d like to believe. I can say I don’t believe I do, just for clarification.

Oh, well I got way off point. Back to what matters, the lesson really is just to let go of pre-judgment and not let it get in the way of final judgment after knowing your facts. You’ll only know they’re facts if you get them first-hand, too. Remember that.

But just as we were talking about stories and judgment and understanding, my friend brings up how it drives her mad when people say “oh you don’t/never will understand.” Now let me just go on another little mini-rant here:

Nobody has ever gone through exactly what you have in life. Nobody has ever experienced everything you have experienced precisely. NOBODY will ever FULLY understand what you are talking about. And that’s okay. What matters, is that they will try. People will try to understand as best as they possibly can, no matter what. Even if they have never been in a situation quite like yours, they will try to put themselves in your shoes, and make an honest attempt at relating to you, just to even partially understand where you are coming from. You can never blow somebody off, saying they will not understand, because you are basically shutting down every chance you have of them caring about what you have to say anymore. You shut somebody out, they are going to leave you there. But the more you explain and the more you talk to them, the more they will give a damn about you.

And scene.

I try to relate to every story I hear. I love listening to people. If you don’t want advice or input from me, that’s fine. But vent to me. Really. It’s always good to let it out, and I will be more than willing to listen because for whatever reason, I love to empathize with people. I will always try to understand and relate and be there for you no matter what. Learning about others helps me learn about myself and humanity as a whole. And never will I turn it around to be about me. If I say something to you that is from my own life, it is because I’m trying to prove to you that I relate to your situation in one way or another. But I will never dwell on my story, I will go right back to listening to you.

I used to do that. Years ago, mainly in middle school and the beginning of high school, I would try to relate too much to stories. I think it must have come across as me being an attention-whore because I must have seemed like I wanted to talk about me. In reality, I hate nothing more than when people can’t simply be there for me. I want you to do what I do, listen and let me vent and be there for me.

But there’s one problem:

So many people nowadays are no longer sympathetic, nor empathetic. They are apathetic.

My friend said that line. I gotta give her props, I couldn’t have said it better myself. She had told me that so many times before had she tried to share her story, and people just told her to suck it up and move on. They didn’t want to listen; they couldn’t care less about any one person’s story because if it doesn’t apply to them, it doesn’t matter. All for one, and one for all, right?

Always care, always listen, always empathize.

And then our conversation took a rather unexpected, introspective turn.

She then began to tell me that while she was home, her and her friend were talking about things they were proud of. Her friend had asked her mother what she was proud of, and she replied, “Pride is such a funny word.” And suddenly, we realized how right she was. Pride is a sin, and when you think about it like that, it’s referring to pride in things running your life; Pride in your house, your car, your job, your family, your accomplishments, and all the while you brag about them and show them off and your life revolves around these accomplishments and you take them all for granted. Being a mother proud of her child for winning the spelling bee, but not going to rub it in her friends’ faces is an example of pride in which it is not a sin. You can be proud of something without it being such a bad thing. But we all take things for granted. Just remember, while you are complaining about what’s for dinner, don’t forget that you get regular, daily meals in which you eat until you’re full and then lie around watching your flat screen tv in your brand new LazyBoy recliner with your feet up and the air conditioning on. Are you proud of what you did to earn these things? Good, that’s fine. But do not take them for granted while people across the world may not be as privileged as you are.

So while I end my rant for the night, I leave you all with this question to think about, once again, provided by my friend tonight:

What does it really mean to be proud of something?

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