How Can We Embrace Individuality If We Don't Stop Judging Each Other?

by Shelley-Marie Phillips

Millennials, as a general rule, are less judgmental than our predecessors. We are often lost but sometimes found. We are explorers and romantics.

We are old-soul daydreams and moments of new-age digital wizardry. Yet somehow, someone, somewhere wants answers from us. They want you to repent your sins and explain yourself.

Someone you know has decided it's judgment day and they want your truths. Who are you?

Still, we all shoot judging eyes from time to time. Sometimes, it's that girl with the overdone Kylie Jenner lip liner and sometimes, we judge that guy with the sour expression on his face.

We wonder what they are trying to prove and whom they are trying to fool. They're wondering the same about you and we are all trying to fool each other.

We feed on the insatiable need to be different and we become champions against the soldiers of conformity. We fight for the right to be unique, but time and time again, I see people sticking labels and hate, throwing sticks and stones.

We understand the need to be equal and tolerant. We don't discriminate against the obvious things like sexual orientation, gender or disability (hopefully).

We don't discriminate against homelessness or mental health. We discriminate against the little things — the petty, the potential and the pointless.

The truth is that occasionally, we don't like what we see in other people.


Whether you are clean or dirty, rich or poor, recklessly damaged or perfectly cut, there is always something to complain about.

Even if someone is perfect on paper, we pick at blemishes in their character, appearance or personality. We find reasons not to trust them and we do so because of the tiniest imperfections.

There will always be extremes. You have your sugar and spice, and a world of war and peace.

You'll always have honeys and lemons, Indian summers and black storm clouds, Taylor Swifts and Kim Kardashians. There are always peculiar polar opposites.

You often feel misjudged and misunderstood. You often have to fight for what and who you are.

Some might say you'd rather shoot a bullet instead of take one, some would say you'd rather fly away than fight in the ring and some would say you were more like litter in the gutter than a diamond in the rough. I would say, "that's such a waste."

Often, reasons you cannot understand motivate people who judge you. Maybe you know their stories as little as they know yours. I find it easy to believe that we all have blind spots when it comes to other human beings.

Beneath the frost of first impressions, the guard dogs and high gates, the passwords and padlocks, we are all in disguise. You keep them out as much as they push you. The point is, everybody hides.

Accept that we cannot love all things and they cannot love us in return. That's okay because though love doesn't need to be felt from every person, acceptance does. If we can accept that we are all human, we can move forward.

I like to think that I'm an accepting person, as life has time and time again proven me wrong about people and myself. But, I'll admit it — there are some people I like, but I judge them for choices they make purely because I wouldn't make them myself.

I admit that I know better, yet I know that they judge me, too. I'm okay with that because I know I'll beat their expectations, like they may do with mine.

I don't name-call, slut-shame or humiliate. I don't judge strangers whose faces pass me by. I think small criticisms about the people I know.

If you're honest with yourself, you'll say that you sometimes do this, too.

You wear a mask to hide your identity and this mask then becomes the identity you've always wanted. It becomes the identity you've built.

As people break you down, bits and pieces slip out from under the plastic of your disguise. They take one piece and they throw it away. They pick up another and they keep it for themselves.

Bit by bit, they love you or hate you and your identity becomes as much of what they make it as what you have created by yourself.

But, you become so much more than what someone decides for you. You are who you are, and only you can define your identity.

We are all contradictions and we are all complications. We all want to try someone else on for size and we all want to try to emulate different people, become different things.

There's no fun in hiding anymore unless it's a game, so it's time for us to breathe and unmask. I think I'm okay with what's underneath mine.