We are all convinced by now about how destructive criticizing and judging others can be, yet it is almost a natural human reaction. We see someone, we look them over, we draw conclusions. Simple as that. Even though I myself have been the victim of other people's misjudgment more times than I care to remember, I still find myself coming up with outlandish stories and theories in order to classify those recently met. I might look a woman over and say to myself “oh, that one is stuck up. She has an air of arrogance about her" or “I bet he is miser, just look at how he walks". Yes, horrible as it sounds, I have had to force myself to stop passing verdict.
Just a few days ago, I was taking an early morning stroll when I saw the most peculiar site. A young man, probably in his early twenties, was standing on a corner deep in conversation with a street vendor. From the bits and pieces of conversation that I caught, he was telling her how one needs to demand respect in the workplace, otherwise bosses can become abusive. What made me do a double take was the fact that he was carrying on this vigorous exchange while knitting! He had a ball of white yarn in his pocket, and was busily weaving what looked like a doily. By the skillful movements of his fingers I could tell that he was a pro at this, he was not even looking as he twisted and twirled the yarn.
I tried to make sense of it and then stopped myself when I could not come up with any reasonable explanation for why a manly youth would be standing on a corner knitting at 7:30 on a Sunday morning. And then it hit me: it was simply none of my business.
Many times we use the excuse of being our “brother's (or sister's) keeper" to meddle in people's lives. Being concerned and supportive is one thing, but some of us are simply nosy and think we have to have a say about everything in order for the world to keep on spinning. If, like me, you have the bad habit of assessing and drawing conclusions, these tips might be helpful:
- Watch what you say to others. I read in a magazine that the way you treat others is a reflection of how you feel about yourself. So if you have the bad habit of being mean to those that you have decided are below you, it's probably indication that you do not think too highly of yourself.
- Watch what you say about others. Not only your attitude towards other people needs to be kept in check, but also the words you speak about them. Do not say anything behind someone's back that you would be too embarrassed to repeat to the person's face.
The wisdom of the Golden Rule is still valid today: Treat others as you would like to be treated. It is the unshakable Law of Reciprocity.
Dinorah Blackman-Williams’ books may be previewed and purchased at http://www.lulu.com/blackman