Everyone was born with special gifts, and everyone has special and unique purposes for being here. And yet, for some reason, we lump ourselves and others into a preconceived mold.
When someone does or says something that falls outside of that mold, it’s so easy to judge them for it. The interesting thing is, it doesn’t matter whether we’re in a good or bad frame of mind; we judge the good and we judge the bad. It seems we’re constantly judging ourselves or somebody else.
Shame researcher and author, Brené Brown, writes, “Research tells us that we judge people in areas where we’re vulnerable to shame, especially picking folks who are doing worse than we’re doing. If I feel good about my parenting, I have no interest in judging other people’s choices. If I feel good about my body, I don’t go around making fun of other people’s weight or appearance. We’re hard on each other because we’re using each other as a launching pad out of our own perceived deficiency.”
We make assumptions. Let’s say someone is late for a meeting and they rush in all harried and dishevelled. We might pride ourselves on our punctuality so our first thought might be how inconsiderate they are and how they should manage their time better. But we may not know they’re taking care of an ill parent and working two jobs to stay afloat. Maybe they’re suffering from clinical depression and simply getting out of bed was a major victory. We judge things we know nothing about.
We all do it from time to time. I’m no different than you. Perhaps if we wore an elastic band on our wrist and snapped it every time we made a judgment (good or bad and of ourselves or others) it would help us to be more aware of how often we judge, and awareness is the first step towards change.