I had a friend who hated bananas. She had been disgusted by them all her life and the thought of eating any nauseated her; whenever I ate one or mentioned the fruit, she would grimace and feign retching. This hatred was a prejudice that became so inseparable from her identity that I started to think of it as a quality to be as certain and unchangeable about her as the sound of her voice. Imagine my shock when I saw her eating one only a few months later. Something that she had once so vehemently hated was became something she tolerated, liked, and maybe even loved. It was surprising to me how her opinion, once so definite and concrete, could have been completely and utterly forgotten. I was fascinated by this change in character, but even more amazed by how this shift in her perspectives occurred. When I asked her what happened, she said, “I realised that I’ve has been assuming I hated bananas for so long that I forgot what they actually tasted like.”
She was right; assumptions are almost always wrong. In finding a new love of bananas, she had realised that she had been limiting herself, unable to overcome past prejudices. Much like my friend said about her taste in fruit, the deluded conviction that one’s current opinion is final, definite, and immutable prevents change–and change is the catalyst of growth.
In the short years of adolescence, teenagers go through dramatic changes in their personal preferences and opinions; you may disagree with today what you believed in five years ago. Perhaps, as time goes on, the contrast in personal preference will grow to be less stark, and sooner or later, opinions will start to solidify: but even then, nothing is set in stone. Change has no relationship with age. Any personal belief, opinion or preference you hold can change, no matter how big or small, new or old it may be.
Challenging your own beliefs can be terrifying at times. No one wants to feel uncomfortable when given the choice not to. However, the state of being uncomfortable is where you can learn the deepest truths about yourself.
This familiar process of building walls and staying within known bounds is a common defense mechanism for many: it protects people from external threats, but also keeps them stagnant, limiting them from growth.
Being exposed is a universal fear, but exposure is the only route for development. By turning away from criticism, running away from confrontation, and refusing to accept new ideologies, people often let their own prejudices and preconceptions delude them into thinking that they are their best selves and that there is no further personal growth left to strive towards. However, one thing to have faith in is the fact that no one will ever be completely right. Everyone will always have something to change and an area to grow in.
Perspectives are always changing. Those opinions may be big or small and new or old, but they are never truly fixed. Change is a fearful thing as it brings about the unfamiliar. However, one realises through change that the only limits one has are the boundaries that their previous biases have placed on themselves. From bananas to religion, you could be wrong about anything, and this discovery is what brings people to become more open and accepting of new perspectives.