It is easy to judge. Anyone can do it. It doesn’t take much work. We can look at people and make judgments quickly based on their appearance, how they’re acting, what they’re saying, the resources they have, etc. It’s when we accept that our view does not equal fact or the correct way, and that we do not know their story and situation, that we can begin to seek to understand. This route is not easy and takes self-discipline, empathy, and humility. An example of this was when I came across a woman who had three big diamonds on her ring. Instantly I thought, “Wow! She must be loaded or married into money. There is no need for her to be carrying around those big rocks!” Luckily I didn’t let this judgment stop me from getting to know her, but I also didn’t seek to understand if there was a meaning behind it. Months later, she openly shared that each diamond signified the death of a loved one and by way of having them on her ring, she would be able to carry their memories with her everyday. What a difference, right? What would have happened had I shut her out instantly because I felt insecure that her diamond(s) were bigger than mine, or that I couldn’t be friendly with her because I assumed her value was extravagant jewelry? Thus, I encourage you to seek to understand others. It’s human nature to make judgments. However, quickly afterwards, ask questions such as: “What do you mean by that?”; “Tell me more.”; “”I’m curious about…”; “I’d love to hear about how you concluded with that thought.” Open-ended questions are key. It does not put the person on the defensive and provides an entry way for lengthier and deeper conversations.
Share a time you made a judgment and sought to understand. What did you discover? Or is this an area for growth for you?