“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself“
Rahul was seven-year-old. He was playing with his friends and was carrying a basket that had two apples. His mother lovingly asked him to share one apple with her. To her surprise, Rahul immediately started eating both the apples, biting them simultaneously. The mother was utterly shocked, embarrassed, and disappointed. Within a few moments, she was feeling heaviness and was whining in thoughts that were making her feel sadder. Rahul was a well-mannered and empathetic child, but this behavior was very surprising and indifferent. Instantly the behavior of the child made her introspect her parenting values. She always believed and practiced teaching him values of sharing, caring, love, and respect. Today Rahul’s behavior, especially in front of his friends, forced her to think about what went a miss in her parenting. Her eyes were wet with tears. After a few minutes, suddenly, Rahul offered her one apple. The mother was lost in her thoughts and could not understand what was happening. She refused to take the apple and was a little annoyed too. Rahul in his innocence said, “I wanted to give you the best apple, this one is sweet and juicy.” Tears rolled down her eyes and gave a realization, how she could not understand the simplicity of thought behind the child’s action. She was irked by her own thoughts, immediately she hugged him and felt sorry.
A very short story but with a deep connection in our life. Just like Rahul’s mother most of us are also conditioned to do think similarly in such conditions. The human mind processes the information faster than any supercomputer, and for them, the output is in form of judgment or opinions for someone or something. Our judgment or impressions are the by-products of thoughts that run in our minds. In day-to-day life, we quickly infer about people, situations by looking at their looks, behavior, mannerisms, etc. On the other hand, apart from this, our very own factors like the context of a situation, personal traits, past experiences, and characteristics of the person are equally involved in inferring an opinion/ judgment. For example, if we see an aged person, by default, our mind guides us to be sympathetic and respectful towards him/her, but, if that person talks rudely to us, the opinion changes. This is one instance, but we make many such judgments/ conclusions about another person without even knowing much about them. They are snap judgments that may be misguiding and can result in complex emotional states, the way Rahul’s mother had questions in mind for him and, also introspected her parenting in the blink of a few seconds. They are like mental shortcuts that we make without really giving space and time to another person for putting his perspective. These snap judgments or mental shortcuts are the projection of our perception of the outer world, which is the direct derivative of what is stored in our own inner one. Like for example if one is insecure, he may feel edgy with the people around him and may feel doubtful and tense. This behavior towards other people is a direct reflection of our own state of mind. Thoughts are literally, the king of our state of mind and they govern our actions or reactions that we give for situations or people.
The other perspective for the same situation is that when we jump to conclusions too fast, it could be the result of our own set of expectations that we have from others. A slight deviation from expectation and we immediately reach a conclusion about the intentions of another person. On the lighter side, I think this could be said as the fuel for the grapevines or gossip circle that people love to move in., We all tend to see and perceive from the glasses of what we think and like to have, ignoring the other attributes of the situations and this is one of the basic reasons for people feeling distressed. The vicious cycle of expectations literally moves a person into believing his own assumptions and not waiting enough to find the facts.
The most important thing to understand in this nutshell is that the opinions and judgments that we form are not always true. The opinions change as spontaneously as they are formed. Like in the above story when the child explained his point, immediately the mother was overwhelmed with guilt for thinking in the way she thought. The impressions that are formed in a wink should not be considered sufficient to judge someone/something. But surely one fact is that these assumptions create a barrier around and we process things or people from those narrow gateways that lead to complex interpersonal relationships and situations. This may make us feel lonely and unfulfilled at times.
Our judgment/ opinion to an extent guides our behavior and actions. The way we choose to respond or react to the situation is the result of the perceived impression that we have made in our minds. Taking time to understand others’ side, before jumping to any conclusion/ opinion is one of the secrets to enjoying a happy and healthy life and relationships. Let patience be the benchmark in dealing with the situations/people effectively. It not only will bring peace in our lives but will also create positive vibes for people around too.
“ If we choose to stop judging others and start judging ourselves, and a whole new life begins”
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