I recently received this in an email from one of my blog readers. It was good food for thought and I want to share it with you:
“Most of us strive to be at our best, but sometimes we falter in that attempt. Unfortunately we tend to be judged by what we did in the past ten minutes, and if that wasn’t a good ten minutes all the past positive is forgotten. I was on a plane with my husband and another passenger did something to annoy my husband. Of course he let the fellow know about his displeasure and what a lousy person he was. The man turned to him and said “you don’t know anything about me”! It’s true, we knew nothing about this person and yet he was being judged by what he did in the last few minutes. That thought has stayed with me, we really don’t know about all the good others have done if we only see the last few minutes!”
I don’t know about you, but there are times that I am guilty of this, too. I seem to have certain expectations for people, sometimes I don’t know what those expectations are - I can’t really verbalize them, but when those expectations are not met, I get triggered, upset, frustrated, or something like that.
Those emotions are the clue for me that there is an expectation there. Those emotions are little flags saying, “Hey! You’re being judgy! You have an expectation to look at here!” Expectations are not wrong or bad to have but when we rigidly hold on to them, and they are not met, we are at a higher risk for emotional reactivity.
Expectations you have for people - whether it be that they should dress a certain way, act a certain way, talk a certain speed, say or not say certain words, work at certain a job in a certain way with a certain speed, etc - are judgements of others based on your own life and your life experiences.
We each live our own individual life. No one has lived our life before and no one ever will. That means we have our own understanding of what people should and shouldn’t do, say, or act based on what happened to us in our life.
This by no means gives people permission to act like jerks or say $h!t things to other people because life has been hard on them. It also doesn’t mean that people can’t change, grow and develop despite what life has been like. But what it does mean is that I, as the judger of another person, have no idea what that person has been through. I don’t know what it’s like to be him/her and to go through what they’ve gone through.
I also don’t know all the things this person has done in their life. Maybe he/she is practically a saint…that has had a bad day and otherwise would not have done or said what I am judging them for. But none of those saintly deeds matter in those few minutes I judge them for. And that’s not fair.
I don’t want my whole being to be judged for the few minutes you meet me on my worst day.
You may have heard the adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. Well, don’t judge the value of a person by his worst day.
Yes, I said “value of a person” because, let’s be honest, when we judge another person, usually as “less-than-us”, there is a part of us referring to their value as a person. Deep down, we know that each person is just as valuable as the next…but in that moment of judgement, it really doesn’t seem that way.
And maybe that’s a small part of ourselves that we don’t like much - that part that sees one person’s value as less than another person’s value. It is not a time when we are being at our best. And we are at our best plenty of times. Just maybe not right then.
Let’s just hope that others aren’t judging our value when that less-than-desirable part of us shows through for a few minutes in our actions or words.
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Here’s to conquering stress.
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