Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
The closest I come to success is when I keep my judgments to myself. I make them all the time. I tell myself that I am a good person because I hold myself and others to the highest standards when it comes to judging people by their race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Those types of judgments would be truly offensive and close-minded--racist, bigoted, or homophobic. I can kid myself that I'm a good person because I truly find that behavior intolerable. The reality is, however, that I make snap negative judgments about people all the time.
This week alone, I have judged:
* the grocery store bagger who failed to put the cold items in the insulated reusable bags;
* the parent I saw dog-ear a library book at the swim meet;
* every blogger who center-justifies her blog (what is with that?);
* the woman who said I must be a health nut if I didn't want her to give my child unsolicited candy;
* the parents who bring their school-age children, presumably home sick, to the grocery store;
* the mother of the unsupervised, misbehaving little girl who told me I was not the boss of her;
* the women who come to a personal training session to chat more than exercise;
* every person whose professional website or other materials contain a spelling or grammar error; and
* every parent who puts the car in park and gets out of the car for any reason while in the drop-off line at school.
That's just in the last four days. See what I mean? Trying to be a good person, but failing miserably.
I fool myself that, if I don't vocalize these thoughts, then I am not sitting in judgment on all these people. But the reality is that, whether I voice my thoughts (and to whom I select to voice those thoughts) reflects more upon how I want others to see me--kind, thoughtful, not judgmental--than how I really am. Merely by thinking these things, I already have failed.
Does it make it any better if everyone does it? I'm not sure. I don't know if that's a true statement, and I certainly wouldn't let my children off the hook with a justification like that. ("If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?") No, I think it's still a personal failing. I'll continue to aspire to do better. I'll remind myself that everyone is fighting a hard battle. I'll remind myself of my own behavior that is easily judged--or misjudged--by others.
At a minimum, I'll keep my negativity to myself instead of blogging about it. Until then, anyone want to share something silly that has made them judgmental lately? It won't provide an excuse for my behavior, but it might make me feel better and give me a bit of a chuckle. Who have you judged this week and why?