Battles are always uphill. Critical and defining moments of one’s life can be described as battles against themselves, against their limitations and abilities. Chaotic times in our lives are caused by incidents we do not understand, or things we cannot yet place in our mind in the ‘correct’ place. We hear of the common battles, the stereotypical ones between “students and cellphones”, or “society and the human mind” but we don’t hear about the ones that exist the most; the battle against ourselves. The human brain is the most powerful tool in the human body, but we often don’t realize the effect that our brain and mindset can have on our daily life.
Barriers, in general, are funny things. It is hard to pin-point exactly what a barrier is as it can take many forms. Oftentimes depending on the viewpoint of an individual, a 40-foot brick wall could be as intimidating as seeing a minuscule ant near someone’s foot. Barriers can be something physical, an emotion, an attachment, and expectation or just a lingering fear. The funny part about barriers is that most of the time, they simply cease to exist. Fear instead is the ‘barrier’ that kicks in, fear of judgement or criticism, fear of the unknown or fear of a consequence. Societal barriers, a common term referring to its prevalence, is the perfect opportunity to realize this fear and begin to join the fight against it.
In situations today, with the widespread acceptance and openness regarding mental illness, it is possible to still feel trapped. And with the lack of social acceptance in current generations and heightened political tensions turning individuals against one another, we currently face a number of unspoken rules that we feel obligated to follow. As citizens and human beings, we follow examples. However, in social situations and with the prevalence of social media, examples or ‘normals’ are often shown to be one thing. By conforming to such examples or forcing yourself into a mold, you lose much more than you gain; you lose everything that makes you difference in efforts to look just the same.
The same case can be seen in gender gaps and other societal issues, for example. For young girls, seeing other women in positions of power allows them to believe that they too can achieve what other women have. And because it was cultural for women to care for the house instead of a practical job, those who preserve and uphold this system allow it to exist with justification that they were taught was it right. Because its all cultural, isn’t it? We want to believe what we are told, it gives us a sense of direction and purpose to follow tradition. Yet, tradition does not validate the creation of limitations. In some ways, we do see progress being blocked by a barrier of our own making, fear and uncertainty. We are unsure of change become it it unstable and because it follows no rules. Thus, bring upon the notion that self-made barriers are arguably, the fight of the century.
In my life, being different was an idea which took me a while to understand. I never liked nor like to believe that the colour of my skin or gender could be a deciding factor on whether I am chosen for a job. I believe in a just society, one where all individuals are seen as equal and where equality is not something that is seen as a reward, it is seen as an expectation. The destructive barriers in my life have been between me and science, but my participation only came after constant exposure; constant exposure gradually broke down this barrier. With others as it might not be the case, I believe that preventing their formation helping to break down barriers is something we can ALL do to better our society.