Why social shaming must stop

We've all been there. We look inside ourselves and we don't see the person that the world wants to see in us. Our fathers want us to be doctors, our moms want us to be mothers. Our siblings want us to be adventurous, our friends want us to be witty. The TV wants us to be beautiful, our wallets want us to be rich. Our bosses want us to be infallible, and our professors want us to be brilliant. The president wants us to be passionate, and our pastors want us to be faithful. Our lovers want us to be there, while the world wants to pull us away.

When we decide for ourselves that these stigmas and expectations don't come close to mirroring what’s in our hearts, tension begins to pull between our true selves and the things we've sworn allegiance and loyalty to. Nobody wants to let down their parents or their kids or their partners, but not everybody can be pleased.

We need to stop putting expectations on the people we love. This system can only be changed one person at a time. If you allow your partner the freedom to change and develop and evolve, you are helping to break the chain of social shaming. If you allow your kids to play without constraints of gender expectations, you are helping to break the chain of social shaming. We are all human. We all need to break down the barriers that we've built around ourselves to protect our most vulnerable truths. We need to accept each other in our most fragile states. We need to respect that we all have different passions and desires, and in order to live a whole life, we need to act on those feelings.

Don't put your loved ones in boxes. Don’t pressure them to be “normal” or to follow a prescribed path of life. We all need to find our own way. We need to stop the social shaming of not being pretty/smart/thin/witty/outgoing/successful/fill-in-the-blank enough. This shaming isn’t always explicitly expressed, but it’s there. It is so certainly there. We live in a heterocentralized, academic-focused, career-driven world.

Stop this. Stop yourself from believing humanly-constructed lies about how life should be lived. Let yourself be human. Let your brothers and sisters be human. It’s all any of us can hope to be.

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