Here’s another Dose of Inspiration. I created a YouTube video, but if you’d like to skip the performance and just read the script, feel free to scroll down below. 🙂
One of the first values I learned when I embarked on a path of self-discovery was that when you stop judging people, their judgements will no longer affect you. In other words, people will still have a great many opinions about you, but you will no longer care. And for the most part, this is absolutely true.
People come in a million shapes, sizes, and colours. When I see someone walk down the street, I don’t judge them based on their clothing choice or hair style. I don’t judge someone by the car they drive or the house they keep. I observe, yes. There is a difference. If I see a homeless person on the street, I do not judge their past, or their personality, or their soul. I see they are in need of help, and offer assistance. If I see a young mother pushing her baby in a stroller, I don’t make assumptions about who she is by the type of stroller she bought or the clothes she wears, what I will do is smile at my own memories of being a young mom, and hope the young woman is able to get help at home and some sleep.
What I will ‘judge’ someone on, is their actions. And I use the term ‘judge’ here with a qualification: to judge is to form an opinion about something after careful consideration, or to regard something as either good or bad. (Webster Dictionary) Note in this definition there is no mention of emotion or slander or maliciousness. It is simply an opinion or an organization of something into categories. But society’s use and definition of judgement focuses on the negative. Judgements can be cruel, and the way they are thrown around, for example on the internet, between peer groups, or coworkers, can be extremely destructive and hurtful.
Therefore, I prefer the concept of contemplating a person’s actions and making a decision based on how it affects me. In other words, I will not tear a strip off you, or bash you as a human being to my friends. I may consult my friends and seek advice as to how I should cope with and/or respond to something a person does—again, if it is affecting me. What they wear is not affecting me, but if they are doing something that hurts me, or threatens my boundaries or personal code of ethics, I will have an opinion on it, and I will make a decision.
Decisions will result in a category placement. And again, categories are not based on derogatory terms, personal slights, or reactive emotions, but based on how that person affects me. Categories run the gamut from, ‘I’d really like to get to know this person.’ to ‘This is someone I do not want in my life.’
I don’t harangue the point, I make a decision and move on.
Labels hurt. Slut, bitch, stupid, fat, cultural or gender slurs… all labels carry an image—a stereotype or perception—and they affect how we interact with the person. If someone has assigned a label in their mind, the person being judged doesn’t get a chance to change that perception, or offer a different viewpoint. ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ as a phrase comes to mind, and it has no weight in that scenario.
I’m not here to examine why people judge, or why they label. The key is realizing when it’s happening and making a conscious effort to stop.
There are plenty of labels out there about me. Lots of people have lots of opinions and judgments. I’ve heard some and the universe knows there are plenty more. Just this week I learned that people assume I use Botox and that my hair isn’t real—that I use extensions. I’ve known forever that people don’t actually think I’m blonde. And here’s the thing. I don’t judge people who do any of that. In fact, if I ever win the lottery, the first thing to go will be those pesky marionette lines and maybe a little tweak of the nose! And when I do start going grey, which by the grace of good genes has not happened yet, I can assure you I will colour my hair. And if it was short, I’d have no problem using extensions to mix things up once and while. The issue is not whether people do these things… the issue is that people feel the need to make a judgement call about that person for doing it!
People in glass houses should never throw stones. We are so much better than this. We are highly evolved beings on an incredible adventure for a very short period of time. Getting pulled back down in the primordial muck and flinging dirt at one another is an incredible waste of our precious resources and time. And while I’d love to see a society where bullying, labels, and judgements become a thing of the past, in the meantime, we can all be part of the solution. Refuse to get drawn into the mud pit of judgment. Instead, choose to walk around it and see the world through eyes of acceptance and humility.