Before you judge ….

*Before you judge*

I was brought up in a household where tattoos were frowned upon. My mother still hates them and almost had a heart attack when she found out that I have a few. My son is one of the best tattoo artists I know and the heavily tattooed people that I’ve met through him have turned out to be some of the nicest people I know.

Imagine if I had carried my mother’s beliefs and judgements throughout my life. I might have disowned my son and not have met amazing people with the most beautiful body art. I would not be proud to show off my own artwork, which tells the story of my life, my challenges, and my triumphs. It’s a good reminder of where I’ve come from and where I’m headed.

It’s in our nature to judge people. We learn judgement from our parents, our friends, and from society. If someone does not match up to our own values, we immediately judge them as being inferior (or perhaps superior). I’m a lot less judgemental than I used to be but it’s taken a lot of conscious effort to not judge people and to nip those thoughts in the bud as soon as they surface.

We know that judging others is wrong but when these thoughts and behaviours have been so deeply ingrained, it’s easier to frown upon the drunk homeless person on the street than to think about what that person must have gone through to get to that state. What happened in his life? What challenges has he faced? What opportunities has he missed?

I’m finding that all this learnt resentment is doing more harm to me than anyone else. The person I’m judging doesn’t know – and probably doesn’t care – that I’m judging them. All it is, is a waste of energy and mental capacity on something we can’t change and shouldn’t want to change! What other people choose to do with their lives and their bodies has nothing to do with anyone else. Rather, let’s turn the judgement on ourselves. What can we do better? How can we help other people? What are we doing that’s causing unnecessary harm or stress for someone else?

Judgement is robbing us of peace and happiness that we so desperately need. Gossiping is a worse reflection on ourselves than it is on the person we’re gossiping about. It’s not worth it.

Let’s stick to our core values and do everything we can to be a better person. And, if we’re going to judge someone, let’s first walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when we do judge them, we’ll be a mile away – and we’ll have their shoes.

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