I have a quick question for you, my wonderful readers. In the past forty-eight hours, have you made a statement to anyone else judging someone else? The judging can take any form. It may be judging someone else’s decision(s). It can be judging someone else’s appearance. It can even be judging someone else’s intention or motive. As for the latter option, we are certainly being arrogant if we think we know someone else’s intention or motive, for all we can really judge is their behavior, through our lens, and we can be very wrong. There are various other ways that we judge others, without being that other person, and without knowing what their life and choices are all about.
We have all heard, “walk a mile in my shoes.” We have even probably voiced that phrase at some point. But how often have we thought of that phrase when we are in the act of judging someone else, or better yet, instead of judging someone else? Perhaps not as often. I had a great example of this recently, and it has inspired me to judge less and show more compassion, even, or maybe especially when it is extremely difficult to do so.
I was speaking with someone about a situation that we both had an opinion about. After discussing the situation, the other person made the following comment: “I am just glad that I do not have to make that decision.” That comment stopped me in my tracts. In it, I heard compassion where a few moments previously we both had been judging. The comment she made was “walk a mile in my shoes” personified. While I love to give credit to others for their behavior that provides me insight and inspiration, I don’t think it is appropriate in this situation. I believe it was enough that I shared my positive impression of what had been said with the person who made the comment and that I described the comment as an example of compassion.
There are several comments that I use in certain situations. One is “Not my pig, not my farm,” meaning it is not my business. Another that also speaks to judging someone else when what is happening is not my business, is “Stay in your own lane.” Now I have a third phrase that I hope will be as automatic as those two; “I am glad that is a decision I do not have to make,” or some version of this phrase. Hopefully, I will think of those words before making a comment that is clearly judging someone else in a negative way.
This is not intended to make us superhuman, without flaw, and even if it was, that is not possible. We are human, and we do have judgments, and at times we voice those to others who we trust when we are in conversation with them. Although I plan to work on this and be more compassionate, even when the behavior of another goes against my values, I doubt that I will be able to totally eliminate a behavior that is very ingrained in me. A major part of my personality is evaluating and assessing; it happens so automatically I am often not even aware that it is happening. It is that part of me that has stood me well as a business consultant.
It isn’t always the “what,” that I need to change, but the “how.” At times “how” I say what I say can certainly be improved. Then there are other times that I do need to change the “what,” so that I am being more compassionate and less judgmental. Thoughts such as “I am glad that I do not have to make that decision” can help me communicate with more compassion.