We’re all guilty of it, and I’m more guilty of it than I’d like to admit… passing arbitrary, and often unfounded judgement on others. It usually goes something like this:
That rude customer service rep? She’s a bitch.
That friend who seems to keep making the same mistakes again and again? She’s stupid, and should really know better by now.
That waiter who took “forever” to bring the meal to the table? He’s slow. Lazy. Clearly not suited for the job.
That employee who keeps making mistakes? She’s not smart enough.
That guy who is quick to lose his cool? He’s an asshole.
And it goes on… the list is literally endless. To judge others, is part of the human experience. We all do it, for various reasons. We do it to make ourselves feel better, to prove that we’re right, to compensate for personal insecurity and sometimes, we judge in an effort to connect with and be accepted by others.
To pass judgement signals the creation of a hierarchy in which the individual making the judgement places him or herself above or apart from the individual being judged. It says “there is nothing about this person that I can identify or connect with.” At its root lies disconnection and the notion that we are inherently different from one another. It fails to recognize the commonalities of the human experience. It denies that fact that at the end of the day, we are all striving for the exact same thing: to feel loved, and accepted and to know that we matter.
The act of judgement is a failure to recognize our humanness. It is a failure to recognize that it all boils down to this:
We are all doing the best we can to make it through this beautiful mess called life, the best way we know how.
“Have compassion for everyone you meet, even when they don’t want it. What seems conceit, bad manners, or cynicism is always a sign of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen. You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone.”
– Miller Williams
The truth is, none of us really know what we’re doing. We are all students of life, and none of us have the answers, and to believe that we do only serves to stunt our personal growth. To believe in the idea of absolutes is to shut ourselves off from the possibility of expansion, and novel insight. It hardens our hearts.
To adopt the stance of not knowing keeps us soft, open, and compassionate. It allows us to give others a break, because we recognize how often we need one too. From this standpoint, the question becomes “what gives me the right to judge if we are all on equal ground?”
That customer service rep? That friend? That waiter? That employee? That guy? They are just doing the best they can. They are on their own path colored by a myriad of unique experiences, some of which have been joyous and uplifting and others which have been immensely painful and heartbreaking.
Speak with love. Act compassionately. Give generously.
We are all in this together.