I would like to think I don’t judge, but I do. Consciously or unconsciously, we all engage in judgement whether we realize it or not! We may not always articulate our judgements or even recognize that we’ve formed them, but we do. We form judgements about people based on appearance, behavior, beliefs, and actions. We consider and judge situations by referring to our past experiences, expectations and even by the appearance of the person(s) involved. Tell me you’ve never thought to yourself, “seriously, he or she is wearing THAT today?” or something similar. That judgement, even if internally formed, can cloud our view of the person and the situation, either positively or negatively. But is this good or bad?
In our perspective, it depends! How is that for waffling on a tough question 😊. On one hand, it’s natural to make judgements based on our own experiences and values. We all navigate the world through the lens of our own experiences, classifying people and situations into categories that inform how we act, react, and make decisions. This is helpful in certain situations, such as when we need to make quick decisions or are trying to avoid danger. Consider this, when driving how often do you decide to move away from a car if you see the driver is distracted or fits a certain profile?? If you have (and we all have), you’ve formed a judgement, leading to a decision to remove yourself from a potentially dangerous situation.
I am often asked what my favorite whiskey or cigar is. Usually, my answer is the one I am enjoying at that moment. There is no judgement in that statement; it may not be my favorite, but I am enjoying the moment. If I am sipping whiskey with a friend and they decide to add rocks or a splash of water, I am ok with that. But when they drown that good whiskey in a Coke, I cringe. Not even inwardly, I have to say something. I get judgey!!! I try not to be…but really, if you are going to drink it that way, get the cheap stuff!!! 😊
That said, everyone has their own unique story that informs how they see the world. We might not always understand it, but instead of judging, maybe we should strive to learn and show empathy and compassion. If we take the time to understand their perspective before making a judgement, we may have a more informed, accurate view. Maybe we should be more discerning and use critical thinking and analysis rather than assumptions and bias to form judgements. Going back to my example, what if the person drinking a 25-year-old whiskey with coke chooses to do so for nostalgic reasons? Perhaps it brings back memories of a treasured friend, parent, or event. Not only is that relatable, but who are we to judge?
I think we should be mindful of the people we surround ourselves with and the paths we take. By using discernment, we can make wise choices that align with our values, lead us to common understanding and perhaps a more fulfilling life. In the end, judging is part of human nature. But by striving to use discernment instead of judgment, we can create a more compassionate and understanding world. We can learn to appreciate the differences in others and celebrate the unique stories that make us all who we are.
“You never know what people are going through, because each person you meet has a story to tell. So instead of being judgmental, just listen well.” – Charmaine J. Forde
What will you embrace?
Have a good weekend.