1. It is totally human nature to judge, to form instant opinions that make it easy for us to totally understand every facet of our environment and the people that inhabit it. You’re right, we all do it. There are many who claim that they don’t judge, but of course it’s nonsense. We all judge. We do it without a conscious thought.

    Seeing the bigger picture can be difficult at times. If I’m out, I usually just recognize that I *won’t see the bigger picture* because I don’t plan to spend enough time within that environment, so I go on about my day. More times than not, it’s this – I implicitly judge, but then realize that there is probably more to it than that, and I mentally shrug and tell myself “whatever”.

    Seeing the bigger picture just takes time. The more experience we have at something, the better positioned we will be to accurate judge what is going on. There is nothing that we can do to hurry time along…it just happens, bringing whomever is near along for the ride. I don’t rush it.

  2. This is so true. And social media has caused our society to compartmentalize so easily into tiny snippets of life. Instead of knowing people completely, we know them as the “over-poster,” the “lady with the new car,” the “guy who posts annoying things about fracking,” etc. We each have our things. And our things are different. Because they are different my thing is a “terrible idea” but you don’t even realize you HAVE a thing because it’s part of you. We’re really bad at comparing ourselves for real. And really good at just saying “I’m not as good as her because…” or “I’m better than she is because…” – no one is ever the same as us. And that divides us.

  3. I love the way Walmart wanted people to prove their patriotism by buying something that serves no other purpose. Much better to use the same money to make an actual donation to Wounded Warriors or something similar, as you did.

    I also hate Facebook posts that say “Repost this if you love your momma/hate cancer/don’t want others to think you’re a terrible human being.” The tricolor flag feels like the same thing.

    It’s really hard not to judge others. It’s really hard not to feel indignant when you think others are judging you on irrelevant “evidence.” Even people who you think know you pretty well can come up with completely wrong assumptions.

    It works the other way too, though. I love members of my family, but before Facebook I was able to pretty much ignore some hard core political views amongst them that I strongly disagree with. Now those views are in my newsfeed daily, along with the family photos and news and cute kitten pictures that remind me why I love them in spite of it all. Do I hide them from the newsfeed to get rid of the extreme stuff they share, or put up with it even though it disappoints me greatly?

    Too bad we can’t turn on an automatic filter for civility and understanding.

  4. Your posts are always so thought provoking, thank you. When thinking of studies – it ranges from 1/10th of a second to 7 seconds for people to make a first impression of someone. To me that is quite heart wrenching to realize you have such a short amount of time before someone determines their thoughts about you. Unfortunately, I feel this translates to pictures, social media, words, actions, etc. as well. We are bombarded by so much that we find ways to shortcut the time it takes to make a quick decision, which can lead to untrue evaluations of people. I try to maintain curiosity. I know that my worldview & experiences varies deeply from the person standing next to me. I attempt to ask questions from a positive standpoint, instead of giving in to comparison effect & judgment. It’s challenging, and I am nowhere near perfect at this. I try to evaluate my inner feelings & what I’ve experienced and realize that a stranger may have experienced 20 times more than I have. The problem is when people don’t stop to evaluate & pass quick judgment, negativity can ensue. It’s difficult to justify your actions, choices, values ultimately that are decided by you & only you. Thank you for this!

  5. Rue

    I try my very best to not judge based off first impressions. I just decide to be indifferent to everyone until they prove themselves otherwise 😛
    But judgment and perception is something I work very hard on, because it’s something I’ve always been very aware of and you only have to see how other people see you to realize how differently everyone sees things.
    I’m sure you see that as a teacher a lot, different things motivate different people for different reasons.
    It’s why I always love backstories in TV shows 😛

  6. I want to give you a hug and tell you to ignore all those self-righteous bullies. Don’t they remember, “Judge not, lest ye be judged”? It often seems to me that those who call others out are usually the most morally flawed, but are trying to look perfect by pointing out what they see as others’ shortcomings. Either way, it’s a huge shame. And good for you for not giving in, but knowing deep down that you’re making a difference in ways that matter more, even if they aren’t so show-offy. Either way, stay strong! You don’t have to answer to those pushy neighbors or Facebook folks.

  7. It’s so easy to feel superior and judgy…until I hear the rest of the story and then I feel like a colossal jerk. You would think I’d learn, but somehow I need to keep learning this lesson.
    We never know what’s really going on in people’s lives.

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