Don’t let your brains fall out

SaraBeth Caplin

We at Kent State have been blessed with the gift of diversity. For a small-town girl like me, the opportunity to meet people of different faiths, political views and lifestyles has made me a more rounded person. I value the friendships I’ve made with people who are different from me, but at the same time, my personal beliefs have also continued to grow.

Have you ever heard the expression “If you open your mind too much, your brain will fall out”? It means there comes a point where we as a society try to be so accepting of others’ beliefs as equally valid to our own that we lose sight of our own tightly-held standards. We become so afraid to share what we really think because the risk of offending other people becomes more important than standing up for what we believe in.

When we preface every statement we make with “I don’t mean to offend you…,” what are we hoping to accomplish? The truth is, people can and will be offended by any statement we make that we assert to be true, from whether rock music is better than rap to green being a better color than blue. I don’t think it’s inappropriate to share what you believe to be true with someone in an intellectual discussion as long as you don’t try to shut the other person down by insisting he is wrong. What I do believe to be inappropriate, and a little sad, is watering down our sacred beliefs out of fear of what other people will think.

Face it: We all want to be liked. We all want to be accepted and loved. But I don’t see how modifying our beliefs¬— the way a chameleon modifies its skin— to blend in with our surroundings is the best way to do that. That’s not to say that it’s wrong to have our beliefs change and grow as we go through different experiences, which in college, that’s just inevitable. The beliefs I have now as a senior are extremely different than when I was a freshman. But that happened on my own terms, not because I wanted to blend in with everyone else’s values.

If anyone is going to dislike me, I would rather it be because of who I am, and not who I pretend to be. If I ever disagree with someone in conversation, my first response would be to ask how he arrived at that conclusion. Maybe he can teach me something. And vice versa.

SarahBeth Caplin is a senior English major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].