Things aren’t always as they seem, and neither are people.
I remember very clearly coming home from a date, pulling a snack out of the fridge, and standing in the kitchen when my roommate walked in. In typical good roommate fashion, she wanted all of the details about my date. We went through the list of need-to-know questions, and I told her I had discovered that he was a big fan of a “galaxy far far away.” I had grown up in a family full of football players and had always viewed Star Wars fans as nerdy (sorry babe). I told my roommate I just wasn’t sure if we would really be compatible. I will always remember my roommate’s surprised reply, “Well if that’s what’s stopping you then you probably aren’t right for him.” That comment brought me back to reality, and I realized that I was allowing one petty difference from letting me see who he really was. It was shallow, and it was all due to my preconceived notions of who I thought he was due to his “nerdy” interest.
Luckily, I’ve changed a lot since that semester of college. I’ve learned that there is so much more to people when you REALLY get to know them. It’s been life changing. I see people clearer. I love easier. I give more grace. I give the benefit of the doubt. I’ve become happier. I’ve become more myself as I have allowed others to be themselves.
If I had gone with my original assumption about my now husband, I would have missed out on who he is. I would have missed that he is the biggest fun-lover and makes everything an adventure. I would have missed that he loves the outdoors including camping, kayaking, and going on drives. I would have missed that he is a state tennis champion, and an incredible dirt biker. I would have missed that he is an AMAZING self-taught piano player and plays by ear. I would have missed his deep loyalty, passionate personality, and his devotion to family. I was labeling him without REALLY knowing him, without knowing his heart or who he was. I would have missed out on our entire future and life together, all due to my own inaccurate perceptions.
As much as I would like to believe that I no longer categorize people, I do unintentionally. I’ve realized that in those cases, I’m the one that’s missing out. We all have moments where we categorize people without REALLY knowing them. We assume someone has a certain identity based on one of their interests, their family, the way they dress, or how they style their hair. We assume these identities based on our limited knowledge, and it can prohibit our opportunities for new experiences, new skills, new people, new growth, and new friendships. Take chances on people who have different interests, ideas, or beliefs than you. When you meet someone new, try the board game, movie, music, or sport you NEVER thought you would like. You might surprise yourself, gain a new friend, or find a new passion.
There are so many beautiful people in the world and I don’t want to miss out on the potential friendships around me any longer. If I give more people a chance, who would I meet? What would I learn? What hobbies would I gain? How would my life change? I’ve decided to put down the stigmas and be open. Open to new, open to change, open to skills, open to people, open to learning, to growing, to friendship, and open to the idea that I still have perceptions that are holding me back from amazing people, opportunities, and connections. So, here’s to new adventures, new friends, new experiences, and to a better me.
Oh, and P.S, it turns out I really like Star Wars.
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