Judging is a two-way street. It hurts to be judged. But when you are sitting in judgement there’s a slight sanctimonious ring to it no?
I have a close-knit family of maternal aunts, cousins, their kids and spouses, etc. Growing up, I have been influenced a lot by my aunts as they assisted in bringing me up from my adolescence to my teens. Today, that influence that they wielded then is like a millstone. It keeps me in a conflicted zone all the time. While I love them and cherish them and admire them and respect them, sometimes there also creeps in a certain sense of frustration, anger and resentment. And everytime they say something that is a sweeping statement of some person and said with great authority, I cringe. I cringe because of my own failings and insecurities about who I am. And I allow the sphere of influence to affect me, my state of being and my environment. The impact is unbelievable when I sit for hours thinking why was a particular statement said like this, or why do they always see other people as noble and amazing and fantastic and why don’t hey have nice things to say about me and so on.
But we’re all like this aren’t we? We do make sweeping statements of people purely on the basis of some media-fuelled nonsense, or on the basis of how someone looks. I know I do. If there’s a new actress in town, we take one look at her and say “Wow” or “Eeks, she looks godawful! Look at her figure, she’s so thigh-heavy or what ugly lips…” and so on. Who in the name of God do we think we are to be making such rude remarks of people who can’t even respond? Fine we do this. But why, pray tell me do we do it? What is this insane urge to somehow stick our necks out and define people and slot them? I hate it when it’s done to me, I hate it when it’s done by me, I hate it when it’s done to people I love, by people I know.
At some point I think it’s time we realized that:
a) people are not necessarily true to themselves or to the people around them – flattery does get you somewhere, up to a point. And then nowhere.
b) your interactions with people do create an impression – make the first your best and make your best last. I mean really last, like a lifetime last.
c) transparency, honesty and vulnerability actually do mean something, even if you don’t see it instantly like 2-minute noodles. It’s that intangible that touches people, leaves the “last”ing impression :). And whatever anyone says, it’s worth it.
d) some amount of detachment to self is essential – what some people say, “don’t take yourself so seriously”. The world is a better place with you, but it’ll still run when you’re not in it. The sun doesn’t rise because of me or you.
e) like my young but very mature cousin said, “develop a thick hide”. Yup, tres important. People will say, compare, judge, and it will hurt. But how long and how deeply is something for us to decide. If we let every single thing said affect us adversely and impact our wellbeing and our mental health, then we’re to blame not the person who says things.
f) we too need to be less harsh on ourselves. Yes we too judge and crib and cuss and diss, so? No one is a paragon of virtue. And hey, paragons of virtue can be boring. :). So yeah, chill, go ahead diss, crib, get anger, throw a glass at someone who broke your heart, call him an a#@$le, it’s fine right?
g) when you do (f) above, we need to also understand that we could also be the bane of someone’s lives. Some will show their dislike openly, some may brood, and some will backbite. You can call it judgement, crib, diss, anything, but please do remember, if you can do it, they can do it too.
And so the jury is out. We can judge or not. Stuff can hurt or not. We can be happy or not. Let’s just be human, humane and spread love. Ideally.