“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.”

― Marcus Aurelius

I always believed I was right, and my opinions were the only truth, and I didn’t see anything wrong with that. My perspective on life was shaped by my personal experiences, and I considered it to be my ultimate truth, grounded in my beliefs. However, when others didn’t agree with me, I recognized that it was a different story.

I didn’t judge people when they had different opinions because I understood that just like DNA, every human is unique, and no one lives an identical life to another. This diversity among species is apparent when I observed the differences around me. I realized that we don’t judge a mushroom for having a cap, nor do we judge birds for migrating every autumn or envy tree for blooming in the spring.

With this in mind, I pondered on what gave us the power to harbour prejudice, and bias, and to judge fellow humans based on their gender, race, or religion.

“I know you despise me; allow me to say, it is because you do not understand me.”

― Elizabeth Gaskell

Before I even met someone, my mind would scan and form its own beliefs about the person from a mile away. I didn’t think it was wrong, as judging based on physical appearance, clothing preferences, hairstyle, makeup, or other belongings seemed involuntary. It was like putting the last stamp on an envelope before even starting to write the letter. Despite this initial impression, I later got to know people better, spending more time together, and sometimes even starting to like them. However, that first impression would always linger.

I acknowledged that prejudice was present in my personality without any specific reason, and unfortunately, it seemed to spread through friends, family, school, and media. It was as if we became puppets following a script, just going with the flow. But I wondered, how could we change that? The next time I met someone new, I decided to take my time and ask them questions about their life. I wanted to show genuine interest in their experiences, likes, dislikes, dreams, and even the obstacles they faced. By taking the time to truly know someone, I hoped to reduce prejudice and ensure that I first wrote the letters before putting the stamp on the envelope, only when I knew their whole story.

“It’s not at all hard to understand a person; it’s only hard to listen without bias.”

― Criss Jami

One of the common prejudices I noticed was based on appearance: too fat, too short, too dark, too skinny. I understood that we are all different from the very first day of conception, raised in diverse environments, and we develop our own unique ideas and beliefs. So, when we use prejudice, I wondered what exactly we were comparing to others. As humans, we don’t come with standardized qualities; we are not moulded in factories like clay and water. How could “you are so fat” be a fact? Compared to what? To me? To you ten years ago? To your neighbour? To some “TV star”?

I firmly believed that we are all perfect just the way we are, and our uniqueness in shape and form is something to be celebrated. With nearly 30 subspecies of humans on planet Earth, it seemed irrelevant to judge and use prejudice when we are all so different. Though we may have some similarities in appearance, we are incredibly diverse in our actions and creations.

The only comparison I considered worthwhile was with myself from the day before. If I could grow and become better each day, that was the focus of my interest. Instead of worrying about others, I learned to take more time to reflect on myself. We are all created perfectly, and it was up to each of us whether we chose to preserve that perfection or let prejudice drive us to destroy the beauty of our unique creation.

“Even God doesn’t propose to judge a man till his last days, why should you and I?”

― Dale Carnegie

I made a conscious effort to break free from the chains of prejudice, to unshackle myself from the judgments that society placed upon us. I chose to embrace the diversity around me and appreciate the beauty in every individual’s unique qualities. By doing so, I felt a sense of liberation, a newfound acceptance of others and, most importantly, of myself. In this journey of self-discovery, I realized that true happiness and contentment came from within, not from external validations or comparisons. When I stopped comparing myself to others and instead focused on my personal growth, I found that I was able to celebrate the accomplishments of others without feeling envious or resentful.

I started to interact with people with genuine curiosity and an open mind. I asked questions about their lives, dreams, and experiences, eager to learn from their perspectives. The more I listened, the more I discovered the richness of human existence and the vast tapestry of stories that we all carry. As I let go of prejudice, I could see the world through a clearer lens. The beauty of diversity was no longer obscured by the haze of judgment. I learned to cherish every encounter, every interaction, knowing that each one had something valuable to offer. Empathy and compassion became my guiding principles. I understood that everyone had their struggles, their fears, and their hopes. By embracing their uniqueness and seeing the goodness in their hearts, I found connections that transcended appearances.

Over time, my perception of the world transformed. I no longer saw strangers through the lens of prejudice but as fellow travellers on this journey of life. Our differences became a source of strength, a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the human spirit. In breaking free from prejudice, I learned that true unity comes from accepting and celebrating diversity. It is a journey that requires self-awareness, empathy, and a willingness to challenge ingrained beliefs. But the reward is a profound connection with the world and a deeper understanding of ourselves and others.

So, I continued on my path, committed to shattering the walls of prejudice in my own heart and to spread understanding and acceptance wherever I went. With every step I took, I felt the weight of prejudice lift, replaced by a sense of profound interconnectedness with all of humanity. Together, we could build a world that thrives on diversity, embracing the beauty of every individual and celebrating the unique mosaic of our human family.

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