My knee-jerk response to that question is "oh, I never judge...I'm one of the most open-minded people I know!"
And while that may be true in some cases, the fact is that I'm human, and unfortunately, like everyone else in the world, I've made snap-judgments based on a person's appearance or behavior.
For example, if I'm walking alone in a parking lot at night and I'm approached by a well dressed woman, I'm not likely to feel nervous--but if I'm approached by a not-so-well groomed man, I'm likely to squeeze my kids' hands a little tighter and might even clutch my purse a little.
And, if he walks too close, I am likely to start walking faster.
I know, that's terrible. I owe men everywhere an apology for that type of stereotype. Men, I'm sorry, I hope you'll understand. 🙂
Now that I've got that out of my system, allow me to get to the point...
What about you? Do you find yourself judging your neighbor's teenage daughter for wearing that short skirt? What about the family that never picks up their newspapers? Or the mom at the grocery store whose kids are terrorizing her?
Of course you do...at least now and then. It's human nature. But did you know that judging other people can have a negative effect on YOU?
It's pretty simple really. By thinking negatively about someone else, you are bringing negativity into your mind...which then, of course, attracts more of it into your life.
Ok, so here's the deal: quit judging people already. And, quit taking others' negative behaviors personally. You have a choice. YOU can decide how to let it affect you. You can decide how to react, and you can choose your own perception of the situation.
I know, easier said than done, right?
Something that I've discovered in my pursuit of fulfillment is that the way to avoid judging people (as often as possible, anyway) is to find compassion within yourself for your fellow humans.
It's not as hard as it sounds, and the more you practice it, the easier it gets.
The next time you find yourself judging someone, take a moment to put yourself in their shoes. If a checker at the grocery store is rude to you, remember that she's a person. Maybe she's dealing with something in her life that is distracting her or upsetting her. Maybe she's working three jobs and she is doing the best she can to take care of herself and her family.
If it's your friend or family member driving you bonkers, you might even know what is bothering him or her. Maybe you can help them to get through it, maybe not.
Bliss Mission: Respond With Love
The bottom line is this: by responding with compassion, and by NOT TAKING IT PERSONALLY, you can avoid a lot of stress in your life--both for yourself and for people around you. And, my friends, avoiding stress means FEELING GOOD. And, like attracts like.
If you feel good, you will draw good into your life. Simple as that. So when you react and respond to those around you, do so with love, even if you don't know the person.
And so, your Bliss Mission, should you choose to accept it, is this: spend the next 24 hours of your life consciously avoiding passing judgement on other people. Don't beat yourself up if a judgmental thought pops in your head--just allow it to pass and then replace it with a more positive, compassionate thought.
You'll be amazed at the difference this simple tweak in your thought process can make in your day. What do you say? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!