Living in the 21st century has changed many of the ways in which we as people see each other. Social media has changed our view on many things – the way we see each other as human beings happens to be one of those. It has led us to believe that a person must have the look or wear specific clothing to fit in or be categorized with a specific group of people, leading us to making a conclusion on the type of person someone is before getting to know them. This is where the metaphorical phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover” comes from. It literally means you shouldn’t prejudge the worth or value of something, just by its appearance.

We can’t blame people for judging each other because of the society, technology and times changing. As far as I know, people have been doing it from way back. Times of Apartheid here in South Africa are a great example. Black people were thought to be thieves before even getting to be known. We all know that not all of them were criminals, but their colour got them categorized as criminals. While white people were oppressors of apartheid, also because of their colour, not all of them supported the system. Thus, this shows that people have been prejudging each other before getting to know each other even before technological and society changes.

Judging a book by its cover doesn’t always imply that the inside must be good. Some books have good-looking covers, but the inside turns out to be a huge disappointment and that’s what we as people struggle to see from each other. We easily get lured by what a person looks like on the outside, which most of the time turns out to be the opposite of our judgement.

I, personally, have had many experiences where people have prejudged me on my appearance before getting to know me. People conclude that: “Khanyisa is a quiet and shy person who doesn’t argue with anyone”, whereas the people who have had the time to get to know me describe me as loud, argumentative and very outgoing.

People who have had a bad childhood or were victims of any sort of abuse tend to put on a brave and happy face. That is like the front cover of the book that’s great looking, just like the appearance of these people. On the inside, these people are hurting and slowly dying, which is basically the inside of the book. This shows two opposite things, a happy looking person who is sad and miserable on the inside. We don’t want others to see our pain because we think of it as our weakness, and that’s what makes us cover up the real US; the us that has been through so much, but can still smile through the pain.

If you don’t stop judging people before getting to know them, you will wake up one day to realize that you a 50-year old spinster with no friends, because during the time you could have been getting to know people and making friends, you were too busy judging them by their looks. As for your soul mate, he could have been that one boy you didn’t give a chance to because you were judging him by his appearance.

Don’t judge a book by its cover. You never know what the inside looks like until you open it. It might be the one that changes everything about the way you feel.” – unknown