You've heard smart before, and alongside that you've heard wise, brilliant, and/or intelligent, which usually means someone with perfect grades, someone that can understand concepts easily and quickly, and/or someone that reads often, these are all what the label of smart falls under. But this is also restricting, and leads to insults for those that don't fit that criteria, such as "stupid", "worthless", and "pathetic."
Everyone secretly wants to be smart, or at least, no one wants to be an idiot. Intelligence has became a set of traits that we all must have. The idea of being smart is for those that fit that box, nerds, neat freaks, computer geeks, studious people, book lovers and anyone highly knowledgeable, are categorized as smart. But intelligence is so much more than that, many people gloss over that that person that struggled with reading, may excel at maths, or that person that fails to grasp concepts may be amazing at reading people, or maybe even that person that has horrible grades may have wonderful ideas that could one day change the world, these people are capable of so many other things that are just as intelligent, but nobody sees that. If someone at your school constantly got f's and zoned out often, then they would be discarded as an idiot. The fact that they could be someone that is good at something else is completely forgotten about. Once you got your label of being the stupid one, you don't really have a way out, sure you could show your intelligence in some other way, but people will still judge you on those few things you suck at. Can't read?, can't do maths?, can't spell? are neurodiverse?, forget things easily? well prepare to never escape the disastrous label of "idiot" because even if you are extremely intelligent in other ways, it won't matter, because you fail at an area that the majority of the world succeeds in. They won't change their mind, they are stuck with the idea that you're a fool, they are quite insecure themselves but they don't acknowledge that, all they acknowledge is that they are better at some subjects then you are, and therefore they believe that they are superior than you, forcing that cruel ideology on you, that you have to be good at those subjects that everyone else is good at, that you have to go against those that aren't good at certain things too.
These labels follow on to not only being bad at those things, but also being positive, having happiness and displaying childlike behaviour is seen as stupid as well. Those that choose to smile and express themselves and show kindness to others are seen as idiotic, but why?, because caring can fall under being foolish as trusting people too often can get you hurt, which is seen as being naive. Positive optimistic people are seen as idiots not because of their hope and willpower which no one seems to notice, but because they are acting like "children." The whole idea of being the perfect smart person contradict with being happy and kind. Teenagers often at high school sit around complaining, being negative and being overall quite emotional tend to be seen as complex and deep, while the ones that run around doing parkour and/or show happiness to others are seen as young, and otherwise, stupid. Those that consider themselves pessimists are known as smart, because they have the ability to see all the bad to a situation, they aren't jumping into things without thinking. But...pessimistic people aren't always intelligent, the problem with seeing what goes bad all the time is that they can't see what could go well, this traps them in a closed box of thinking, they may be able to see what could go wrong, but then they can't see the light, there is no solution, they are almost close minded. There is no correlation between intelligence and pessimism and optimism, yet society thinks there is, and a big reason for this is due to media that depicts smart characters as introverted, quiet and pessimistic, and depicts stupid characters as extroverted, loud and optimistic. An optimist is seen as impulsive, reckless and someone who expects good things to happen, but its not that they expect it, its that they hope that good things will happen. Optimistic people are not blind to the truth and since they can see all the good things that could occur, then wouldn't they be more likely to find a solution to problems, and therefore be quite intelligent? Why do we shun those that actually have hope in this world and try to keep things positive.
The idea of intelligence was supposed to be subjective. We live in a world where labels and categories can be helpful, but also can be dangerous, people believe in pointless stereotypes and make assumptions and expectations of others at the drop of a hat. The whole idea of happiness and smart can no longer be connected, you can only be one or the other. If you want to see the good in people, smile at the world and be cheerful, then you aren't going to be seen as intelligent, especially if on the same side of that, you have poor grades. No one will notice your other qualities, no one sees you as anything more than that happy go lucky kid, no one understands that you have potential, that you are good at many things. And it is all because of their beliefs and what they learnt. They stop you from being yourself, make you feel stupid for liking something as simple as cartoons, make you feel like you should be an anxious mess, make you turn away from therapy because being depressed is seen as deep and cool. Everyone is stripping you of your identity, what makes you, you. You can spend your days doing everything right, watching what you want to watch, saying what you want to say, and doing what makes you happy, but by this way, you won't be seen as smart, by doing what feels comfortable to you, is how you will earn the label of impulsive, childish or stupid.
To be smart is to follow what others do, to be smart is to be studious, to understand concepts and ideas, to read and understand books, to be good at some kind of subject, to know how others work, to know how themselves work, and to be witty. Forget using your heart, forget creativity,
and forget being happy.