Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I Judge People

Yesterday, my little family and I went to an amusement park/water park.  As I stood there, waiting for the kids to get off of a (shudder) spinning ride, I observed a woman and her husband/boyfriend/whatever who were cooling off in the shade near me. 

  She was extremely obese, and he had a tail.  You know -- where the hair is short all over, except that spot at the back?  And he was being affectionate to her, and she was laughing.  My horrid, horrid thoughts included such doozies as: "Ew. a TAIL.  What a redneck," and "Wow.  Wonder how she got that fat!"  I was appalled at my own brain.

SMACK.  I have NO RIGHT to judge.  No right whatsoever.  And yet, judge I did.  I made assumptions, and not nice ones.  So I challenged myself.

Every time I noticed myself getting preconceived notions about someone, I would force myself to try to assume the exact opposite.

Many, many men that day were (according to me) poets, ballet dancers, historians, scholars, yoga aficionados, authors, dressmakers, and etiquette specialists.  Many women were nuns, physics majors, athletes, fitness trainers, seamstresses, diction coaches, and holistic farmers.

This was one of the most enlightening days I have spent in recent memory.  It forced me to see how unjust my thoughts can be.  And it taught me that people are rarely what they first appear to be.

Including me.

1 comment: said...

Our paper ran a photo of a man with scabs on his face and dreadlocks who uses the aliases "Banga Ca'pone" and "Darryl Shoot'em'up Jernigan". In the spirit of non-judgmentalism, I tried mightily to imagine alternate personas for dear Darryl. Olympic marksman? Charming comedian? Quite the mental exercise. But thanks for your post--I'm determined to curb, or at least examine, my judgmental tendencies.

(It could put a new twist in our ongoing game of "your team!" as we are driving through town.)