How did we end up here?

I’m not sure who’s reading this and where you live. According to you, I might be completely wrong. Because I made this observation here at home, in Belgium. I have always felt like this but when I visited New York City earlier this year, it became clear to me.

People are so negative. So vastly negative; it’s sad to see.

In New York, I met so many different people. Not only different in their variety from each other. These people were different on their own. At home, people who are different are mostly met with judgemental eyes and discouragement from not adhering to the social standards that have been accepted. In New York, these same people weren’t different at all. If anything were, it was that they were the foundation of what made that city so unbelievably fascinating. Everybody was exactly who and what they wanted to be. And nobody was ever going to consider pushing them to be anything else than exactly that.

People’s minds were free. Open to difference, to personality, to originality, to creativity, to change. And while it seems like such a small and almost unnoticeable aspect of a city so vast, it was the most impressive observation I made during my time there. It made everybody so accessible; so friendly. One is never met with that look that questions every aspect of who you are; no matter how you look, talk, walk or laugh. Because it doesn’t matter. People just want to meet you. It was such a fantastic experience.

I always tell people to do and feel exactly what they want. “Who cares what other people think?!” But if you live in a world where everybody is being judged based on what is expected of them, it’s hard not to care. Because every personal encounter is driven unconsciously by everybody’s bias as to how different (or not different) you are.

I know you think that everybody everywhere has a personal bias and that’s probably true. The difference here is the mindset in people. The mindset that is open to any personal choice versus the mindset that has expectations as to who you should be to be considered normal. Because normal is the standard. And anything else is frowned upon. I noticed this slightest of differences and it made me view the world in a different way. The difference in people’s mindset between ‘why‘ and ‘why not‘.

I know that not many people will understand; people will tell me it’s me. But like with many things in life, what has been seen cannot be unseen. It’s the kind of thing you don’t notice, until you notice it.

They laughed at Justin Bieber. I never understood why. They condemn porn stars. I still don’t understand why. They bullied me for… Well I don’t really know what for.  And I guess I will never understand why neither.

How did we end up here? Why do we laugh at people who are exactly what/how/who they believe they want to be? Why do we always look around us and judge people because they made choices different than ours? What gives us the right to talk out loud and say mean things about people who follow their own ambitions? What makes us so much better and what makes their choices so much worse?

But most of all: Why do it? Why spend so much time worrying about what other people do? Why do we spend so much time worrying how others lead their lives? Especially if it doesn’t affect us? Why not welcome versatility? Why not enjoy seeing people add their own touch to this world? Why not love how others add their own personal twist to the moments of our lives? Why not just hang back and watch how that makes everything so much more fascinating?

I have tried to no longer add to this myself. But from time to time —more regularly than I’d like to admit— I still find myself being a part of this negative energy. I have started to try very hard to always enjoy how people make their choices. And while on many occasions, I really don’t understand, I must believe that in some way it makes them happy. And isn’t that all that matters in the end?

I’d like to think that one day this negative energy will go away. Because it is unnecessary baggage. Something we need to get rid off so we can make room for happiness, creativity, love, joy and most of all: hope.


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Ronny is a freelance frontend developer with a wild passion for creativity and a relentless hate against flat design. Ronny spent years as a Flash developer before moving to HTML5 and rediscovering fun and happiness.

1 Comment Join the Conversation →

  1. BD

    I think it’s engrained into a lot of people, by evolution, fear. Fear of the unknown situation to increase the chances of staying alive. It’s also the easyest thing to do, judging cost almost no energy and even less empathy…

    But there are always lots of people around who are more secure, more open. People who smile when they see someone who dares to be different, dares to be themself. Positive people, like you and me. 😉


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