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Being Judgemental

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“You know, our new neighbour, Mrs. Tiwari…..”
Sunil was setting the dishes for dinner when his wife Nidhi started talking while she kept the food on the table.
“What about her?”
“She’s a very careless mother.”
There she goes again! Thought Sunil, but aloud he asked,
“How do you know she’s careless?”
“This evening I saw her son all caked up in mud, dusty hair and smelly shoes. Yuck!!”
What Nidhi didn’t know was that Mrs. Tiwari’s son had just walked in from football practice. His mother later gave him a good bath, made his favourite pizza for dinner and put him to bed with a lovely story. Was she a careless mother?

Being judgemental is extremely toxic. You become biased and are so not fair with the other person. 

As usual, we sat for our weekly discussions, where each one gives their input for my motivational articles. When asked, what according to you is being judgemental, my sons, who are in their twenties came up with the following statements:

1. Pulling a dot and stretching it into a line is being judgemental.
2. To pass an opinion without knowing the whole truth. 

I was pleasantly surprised at their insights. Their definitions have wrapped up and given us a gist of what being judgemental is all about. Today’s article is more like loud thinking. Let’s accept the fact, we all are judgemental. I think it’s second to human nature. Of course we are here to discuss how not to be judgemental. But when we build up a perspective about someone how do we gain from it? What are we trying to prove?

A. Are we saying that we are perfect?
B. Or do we have the right to comment on everything and everybody?
C. Do you have answers to all the questions?

Does any of the above sound like benefits of being discriminative? Surely not. Nevertheless, it definitely has some side-effects. 

A. When you judge others, you too are judged in return. What comes around goes around.
B. It spreads a very low opinion of you as a person.
C. It only goes on to show how narrow minded you are.

D. Being judgemental does nothing else but make the gossip material bulkier. 

Let’s try and shake our attitude towards how we look at others and what we think about them. 

First and foremost we need to accept people and situations as they are. Most of our point of views are built on our own limited knowledge and narrow thinking. It’s like you are playing hide and seek with your own notions. Meet a lot of people, broaden your horizons. When you come across people from different walks of life, diversified cultures and traditions, people with different habits and interests. It’s only then that your old school of thoughts will be replaced by new ones. There are tons of people out there who still can’t digest the gay culture. But who are we to police others?

Understand that being different is not being bad. Respect the uniqueness and value the variety that you see around you. Nothing needs to be reasoned out. You don’t have to be judgemental, until and unless you are asked to do something. Samuel cannot tolerate Navratri. He simply fails to understand why people make so much noise and keep dancing in circles. But who’s asking you to do it? Lock yourself and stay indoors. 

If you can’t contain yourself and feel that curiosity will kill the cat, then it is better to ask questions and find out the right information rather than being critical.

Nobody is perfect. We all have tons of flaws to work on, half of which we don’t even bother to acknowledge. Let’s shift our focus on that. Instead of pointing a finger at another’s behaviour, it is better to peep within and check what needs to be repaired and rectified. And believe me, when you truly do that, you will actually have no time for speaking or thinking ill of others. 

Become hyper aware and question yourself. Are your assumptions rational? Scrape the layers of preconceived ideas in your head and be empathetic. Think from another’s perspective and try to connect with their emotional experiences. You haven’t lived that person’s life. You haven’t been in his situation. How do you know what he is going through?

We tend to be more critical and fault finding as a parent or as a teacher. While doing my course for the mentally challenged children, our professor had given us a lifelong lesson in one sentence. Mrs. Krishnaswamy had said,

“Treat the person and his behaviour as two different aspects.”
Don’t generalize. Show disapproval for the behaviour, not the person. So instead of saying,
“You are a very lazy boy!”
It is better to be specific and say,
“I’m not happy that you missed your science assignment.”

Being judgemental has a huge disadvantage. In the long run you’ll find yourself alone. People will avoid you and you will have fewer friends. You can always be a good listener and spare a shoulder to cry on without being biased and without passing any verdict. 

When Nidhi first went to Mrs. Tiwari’s house with a bowl of pudding, her intentions were more gossip. But she found the lady’s house spic and span. Moreover, she was working on the computer and helping her son with his homework at the same time. The guilt that Nidhi gulped down, she possibly couldn’t voice out to anyone. They became friends for life. 

Hope you enjoyed reading this article and gained some food for thought. Let’s end with a good quote:

“The prejudice people feel about each other disappears, when they get to know each other.”

Shamim Merchant

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