Judgement: it’s everywhere. And believe me, we are all doing it. You’re even doing it right now while you’re reading this.
According to clinical psychologist Linda Blair, on average it takes about seven seconds to judge a person after we meet them. This is even before a firm handshake. It is literally one glance, up and down, and you can make your own assumptions about the person.
Case to point – if you were to see someone dressed a little simpler with ripped and tattered clothing and an overall disheveled appearance on the Skytrain, you probably would be heading to another spot ASAP.
I can’t condemn other people for judging, because I know that I do it too. It’s something that we don’t think about because it just happens. Everyday we make little judgments that lead to poor assumptions and misconstrued beliefs.
I bring up this point because it somewhat ties into my most recent post about coming clean. I came to realization that the judging that we do on a regular basis in turn makes us self-aware and self-conscious about what other people thing of us. How are other people judging me? What would they say or think if I wore this outfit, did my make up in a certain way, ate a certain amount of food or drank a certain beverage?
Coming clean, as I found, was a lot simpler in writing than in reality. Having my story out there enabled people to read what they wanted to, interpret it how they wanted to, and ask questions. Telling people was a whole other story.
To best explain, my plan was in two parts: one, to just get it out there for people to read at their leisure, but also to physically have conversations with people that I have known for a long time and who deserve to know. Not because I want sympathy of any kind (because I don’t), but because I want my friends to know who I am. I want to be able to be truthful and explain the inconsistencies that they may have found in my life without any further lies or stories. I wanted them to know the truth, the whole truth, no matter how ugly it was.
By doing this, I was able to break down a judgement barrier for myself. I have gotten to a stage in life where, despite the occasional feelings of insecurity about my physical appearance, I feel good about myself, physically and emotionally. While the journey was not ideal or perfect it has taught me great things about myself. At this point, I know that my depression doesn’t make me less of a person, less of a human, and less of a child of God.
Last night, I began my odyssey into coming clean, beginning with one of my closest friends. We met in kindergarten and have been friends ever since. This year will be going on 14 years of friendship, and yet we never had a evening just for us.
I always found it difficult to share my story with others, but I think it is especially difficult for friends that are so close to me. As I began to tell her the story, I prefaced it by saying that, “I didn’t say anything earlier because I didn’t want to lose you when I was already losing everyone else.”
The story slowly tumbled out, and after my sharing was done, she told me that it gave her the courage to tell her own story, prefacing it also by saying that she didn’t want to tell me because she didn’t know how I would feel. She didn’t know if I would judge her, and she didn’t want me to be disappointed in her.
Why are we always so scared with letting our true colours show and letting people see who we really are? Our society tells us to make flawless first impressions with the people we meet. We are expected to come across as perfect in the eyes of strangers.
But the truth of the matter is, I AM NOT PERFECT. I have my moments, my flaws and my insecurities. This is true for all humans, and yet we still break each other down with judgement and negativity.
My fear of judgement was the reason why I didn’t get help sooner, and I truly feel that judgement is preventing others from speaking out and getting the help that they need.
I know I can’t stop other people from judging, but I know that I can think twice before I make a generalized and uneducated comment about someone else. Everyone is facing a different and unique battle – one that we may not be able to comprehend or understand. Because of that, we need to be more sympathetic and aware of the situation of others.
And to you, all of you: remember how special and lovely you are. Be confident and take heart.