I think it’s worst in high school – the judging. “Mean Girls” is evidence of that. But even now I experience it. Nobody likes to be judged. It drives us crazy that someone else would form opinions about us without even really knowing exactly who we are or why we act the way we act. But as much as we hate to be judged, we are all guilty of doing it to others. Now don’t deny it. I’m sure many of us have thought, wow that girl’s skirt is way too short – slut! Or, that mom can’t control her kids – bad mother! Or, can’t believe that guy won’t settle down – player! Or, that guy does way too many drugs – loser! Or, that girl dropped out of school and got pregnant – failure! We throw all these words around like they define the person, and we don’t even think about what we’re actually saying about him or her.
A friend’s facebook status once said:
“The one you just called fat? She has been starving herself and has lost over 30lbs. The one you just called stupid? She has a learning disability and studies over four hours a night. The one you just called ugly? She spends hours putting makeup on hoping people will like her. The one you just tripped? She is abused enough at home. There’s more to people than you think”
This quote emphasizes the fact that we never fully know a person or what their life is like. Think about your own life and how complex it can be. There are probably very few people who understand how the events of your life dictate how you act. Most people don’t know everything you’re experiencing and how that shapes the way you behave and make choices. So the same goes for others. You never know exactly what is going on in their life that is influencing the way they act.
It’s important to remember that there is always so much under the surface. And instead of judging someone based on what you see, give them a chance to open up. That’s not always easy, especially with complete strangers, but it is possible to always have an open mind about someone. And it’s a much healthier and happier way to live.
One Tree Hill is one of my favorite shows. Yes, it’s full of drama that would never ever happen in real life, but there are lessons to be learned from it. In one episode, “Pictures of You” the One Tree Hill gang had a class assignment in which they were paired up with someone they didn’t know very well and had to ask each other questions. At the end of the hour, they had to take a picture of the other that encapsulated who that person was, based on what they learned in that period of time.
The main character, Lucas, known as a “jock” was paired up with Glenda, known as a “goth”. They figured out that, despite being from very different social circles, they actually had a lot in common. Lucas’ voice-over at the end of the episode was:
“I wish I had hung out with Glenda before today. Something tells me she could have been a great friend. But it’s good to know there is still a little time left to do that. And I also learned her last name. And I learned that one hour can change everything”
When you stop judging others, you learn to connect with them. You may become friends, or just learn something interesting about them. They instantly become more human to you. And in the end, no matter how we act or how we dress or what we like or what race or religion or class or sexual orientation we are, we’re all human. And if you live your life with that in mind, you’ll be a lot happier.
But even if we learn to be less judgmental, how do we deal with everyone who continues to judge us? It’s hard not to let it get to you. But those that judge you are the ones that aren’t worth your time. Let go of your anger toward them, and remove them from your life as much as possible. Listen to what Ke$ha has to say about all the girls that judged her: Stuck Up.