For those of you not familiar with the religious tradition of Lent, the idea can be summed up as forty days (technically forty weekdays) of fasting as a way to express humble or regretful pain for your sins.  Essentially, the days before Easter are supposed to be spent showing your commitment to giving up something you love while simultaneously making attempts to better yourself overall.  Sticking with this theme (but in a non-religious manner), I have decided to analyze our generation and dissect forty bad habits that we should look to improve upon. Each day I will discuss a bad habit that I have observed and try to give a little insight as to why we should be seeking to improve our behaviors. These “bad habits” aren’t your typical ones… I won’t be discussing reasons on why you should quit smoking or drinking, but instead the tendencies that our generation has fallen into, whether it’s within our interactions with others or through various social media outlets…a lot of times we fall into these habits without even knowing it, let alone knowing the kind of effect they are having on our lives and how other people perceive us.

With that being said, let’s hit the ground running with Day 1:

Bad Habit #1: Ignorance

I feel like I use the word ignorant everyday. There are so many instances where I come across people or read tweets and status updates that just come off as foolish. The dictionary defines ignorance as “lacking knowledge or awareness in general”, and to me, it is almost always used with a bad connotation or in some sort of negative context. I witnessed a great example of this in my personal life the other day. A good friend of mine (and a potential love interest) brought up the Frank Ocean/ Chris Brown drama and while talking about Frank Ocean he kept referring to him as a f*ggot. Now let me just say this…. Don’t EVER use that word around me, especially not when you’re a black man who doesn’t ever want to be called a n*gger. Just hearing him use that term made me shake my head and want to hang up the phone immediately, and the fact that he didn’t stop using it when I asked, pissed me off even more.  It just sounded so IGNORANT, let alone unnecessary. He not only sounded so ridiculously uneducated, but unsophisticated as well. Now don’t be confused here; I have no problem with people who do not particularly agree with a gay or bi-sexual lifestyle, but at this age, you need to be less ignorant of things, especially those in the mainstream, that go on around you. Speaking condescendingly about Frank Ocean’s lifestyle and calling him negative names not only doesn’t change the fact that he is indeed a bi-sexual man, but it made me realize how ignorant my friend was to concepts that may be different from his own lifestyle.

What I’m saying is that you have to educate yourself and be careful how you express opinions, especially when they are opinions on potentially controversial topics.  Perception is everything, and once someone perceives you to be ignorant, that opinion they have of you will be hard to change. I’m not saying you have to agree with everyone or everything, but you have to at least acknowledge that there are so many different people and opinions out there, and how you express yours can say a lot about you.