Not so long ago, we used to be little kids. Beyond caring and full of reckless abandon, we used to drift along in life like a little twig in a mighty river. Not thinking twice before blurting out anything on earth, our shenanigans were outmatched only by our unrestrained passion. Then one fine day, we grew up. We started minding what we said, when we said and where we said. We started appearing ‘proper’ in front of guests and on our Facebook walls. What changed? A lot of things, of course. But what is that one primary thing which made us change every aspect of our public behaviour? We started judging each other. Habit of judgement based on first impressions is formed on the basis of the biases and prejudices that are formed over the years through learning (or a lack of learning). We need to undergo a lot of experiences which shape our thinking, which the children inherently lack.
A more apt statement would be that things change when we become aware that others are judging us; that others are watching us intently with an oblique eye, tracing our every move, waiting to pounce upon us with an Ahaaa in their minds, judging and labelling us in an instant, for ever. This singular awareness inherently changes everything we do. From here on, all our actions filter through the thick lens of judgement, are tempered and controlled, lest people call us wild libertines, unpolished and rustic. I would not think it an exaggeration to call this the single biggest switch in human behaviour, the doorstep leading us from childhood to adulthood.