I have this acquaintance; she’s the type of person that will demand an explanation for everything that you do in your life. Why you wear your hair the way you do, why do you buy the things you buy, why do you do the thing you do, why do you think the way you think, why do you feel the way you feel. She’s abstaining from judging as long as you live according to her standards.
What she fails to realize is that the world doesn’t owe her an explanation and that is not an excuse to judge.
Isn’t judging what us humans do best? It is like we feel like we have a superior perspective to decide how other people should live their lives, dress, act, feel, react and pretty much everything that concerns other people’s lives.
I’m not without fault of committing such a crime. I use to be so easy to judge. If someone didn’t smile back I’d be quick to label that person as a bitch or a fucker. If someone cut me off in traffic I’d quickly label that person an ass hole.
I felt like I had a superior perspective to judge and to decide how other people should live their lives. It actually never occurred to me to think of the struggles they ‘ve had to go through that would push them to behave or act in a way that I didn´t agree on.
It wasn’t until my world came crumbling down after an extraordinary series of unfortunate events that saw me behave and act very differently than I had done so my entire life. Suddenly I became that person who wouldn’t return a smile, it wasn’t because I didn’t want to, but because my mind was so wrapped up in all the troubles of my life that I wouldn’t even notice a smile.
When all the drama started filling my life it was when I secretly wished no one would judge me, because they had no idea of the storm that I was walking through and still am. But yet I had judged so easily in the past. Now it was my turn to get some karma coming my way.
I’m not the same person that I was before all the nasty stuff started happening. I find myself currently battling depression and anxiety, the result of going through so much stressful events in such a short time. And yes, I don’t behave and act as I use to. I hate to admit it but I have become somewhat more bitter and depression doesn´t help either.
Nevertheless, I still hear comments being done behind my back, about how I’ve changed so much and not for the positive. At the start I wanted to explain myself, I wanted to give a reason as to why I am the way I am, but then I realized that I don’t owe anyone an explanation.
But it is as if people demand an explanation as to why you are the way you are, why you do the things you do. When instead we should simply show empathy and compassion for the sake of it. It is not our business to know other people’s lives but respect them whether or not they are lived according to our standards.
There’s this fantastic Facebook page called Humans of New York. Brandon, the author of a page, has done an exquisite job are portraying short stories of random people. These stories show a deep insight into their lives, they are short but honest testimonies of thousands of people who share very personal extracts of their lives.
After spending an afternoon reading testimony after testimony I came to understand that each and everyone of us is battling something, has battled something or will battle something.
In the comment section of each testimony you read words of support, empathy and love. Not of judgment. Because they’ve gotten a glimpse of the road they’ve had to walk and they understand, which is how compassion is born and how support follows.
Humans of New York along with my long series of tragedies have awoken in me a deeper sense of empathy, compassion and companionship, simply by understanding that we are all in this ride called life together. We distance ourselves from one another by judging; by making it clear to ourselves that we are superior because we’re not like him or her.
But it’s important to keep in mind that it is simply inevitable to go through life without a struggle, and yet when it’s our turn to go through the hardships of life we expect for other people to understand, we expect not to be judged because they don’t know our hardships and instead of judgement we expect compassion and support. Both of which are tremendously necessary in our lives.
No. We don’t know the hardships of over 7 billion people on the planet, but that’s not an excuse to judge simply because we don’t know.
Judging comes from ignorance not from wisdom and it’s actually tearing our world apart. We judge others by their religion, by their gender, by their sexual orientation, by their economical status, by their clothes, by their behavior and by a million different things. We believe we know that person and are entitled to judge instead of trying to understand and turn that judgment into compassion, into support.
It’s not easy abstaining from judging; to me it’s one of the hardest things to do. Sometimes we do it automatically. It takes practice, it takes conscious understanding, empathy, compassion and love. I’m not saying I’m a saint and I no longer judge. I do, sometimes I find myself at fault. But like I said, it takes practice.