THIRTY: Growth

In my opinion, people should wear different deodorants, one under each armpit…but that’s just my two scents

Do you remember the first time you tried beer? Or wine? Or maybe something less boozy, what about olives, or coffee? Do you remember that time? Remember HATING it?

I ‘member. I can recall the first time I tried beer. It sucked. Tasted like a butt, awful. Would not try again…until I did. But then it still sucked. Then one day, it didn’t suck as much, eventually it became somewhat enjoyable. Then I worked in a craft beer bar, and the relatively enjoyable Friday afternoon beverage (although I worked every Friday afternoon) became BLISS. Then I was sipping alllllllllllll of the tasty beverages

The moral of this extensive tale? My tastes have changed, as I am sure yours have too.

Now what if we took the beer example out of the equation, and we added a sport or hobby? For me, I would use UFC. Before I watched it, I used to think it was a thug sport and would refuse to give it the time of day. These days, it’s one of my favourite uses of my time and I follow it religiously, to the extent that I feel physically sick with nerves when my favourite athletes has a fight. Do not contact me during a Robert Whittaker fight, I am busy panicking.

Now what if we took sport out of the equation, and we replaced it with, I dunno, feminism? How did you feel about it 5 years ago? What about now, has your opinion changed, or remained the same?

So many questions Tim, too many.

The lesson this week is that your opinion can change about literally anything. You might hate a food, then one day you suddenly love it. You may think a sport/hobby is boring or unappealing until you participate and find that you were mistaken. Maybe you decide to change your viewpoint on a social issue after you learn more about it. There’s no harm in that, and there’s certainly no weakness.

Changing your views on something is an indication of growth. It takes a stronger individual to admit that they feel differently about something, and it sure beats keeping an old opinion for the sake of stubbornness. It’s 2021 fam, we ain’t got time for being stubborn for all the wrong reasons.

I’m not afraid to say my opinion has changed about a lot of things, and I’m not afraid to say it because I feel like it’s helped me progress into a better person (I hope…*nervous sweat*).

The biggest example would be feminism. I never really gave feminism the time of day growing up, which I attribute this to 3 things

  1. Lack of education on the issue, which came with my youth
  2. Toxic masculinity, and the pressure to dismiss women’s matters because that wasn’t “tough”
  3. Not listening to those who were affected by the issue.

It was in my final years of school that I slowly began to listen a little more, and opened my eyes a little wider. My best friend was and to this day is a very annoying ( I do say that lovingly, I swear she is far meaner to me) passionate feminist, and that proved really useful in understanding that she wasn’t passionate about putting one gender/sex over another, it was about being equal. She just wanted to be paid the same as me for the same job, she just wanted to be given the same rights that I took for granted. And who was I to disagree with that? As I started to understand the intention and the motivation, suddenly I started to give it more of my attention.

The point is, my opinion changed, because I educated myself about the issue and was able to formulate more informed perspective on the matter. It wasn’t about being wrong before and right now, it was about being able to support how I felt on something now I knew more about it with some legitimate facts, not just something I read on social media.

I’ve carried the lesson from this experience with me and applied it more in the last 12 months, and made some lifestyle changes. I cut meat out of my diet months ago once I started to shake the ridiculous idea that was engrained in my subconscious that “I could never give up meat”, and challenged myself to learn more about it. Sure, I might go back to it later, but it wouldn’t be because of some preconceived idea in my mind that one option is morally better or more socially acceptable than the other.

In a time when people of colour are asking to be treated the same, women are asking to be given the same rights as their male counterparts and our trans community are asking to be recognised the way they are identifying themselves, the best thing we can do for ourselves the greater community is to be the big enough person to understand that there is absolutely nothing wrong with acknowledging that you feel differently about an issue after you’ve learned more.

If you needed any more of a nudge, consider mental health. You’re likely reading this because you’ve had experience with mental illness, or you know someone who has. The biggest barrier we encounter as an anti-anxiety army of depression demolishers and bipolar busters is the stigma around our various conditions. Too often is mental illness dismissed because it is not always recognised by those who are not as versed as being “legitimate” because they can’t recognise the effects or understand how it affects an individual. The best thing we can do as individuals is remain inclusive, not just on mental health. Be the change you want to see in the world, my friends.

So the challenge for this week is to reflect. What is something you feel differently about now? What is something you could learn more about? No education is wasted, and the beauty of an opinion is that it can be changed in a heartbeat.

Happy Mental Health Monday!

Be the change you wish to see in the world

Mental Health

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