As our teens pass and we enter our 20s, we are immediately and profoundly overwhelmed by the variety of people we encounter on a daily basis. Whether it is at our college or at work, we come across many characters of whom, we can’t help but set a perception in our minds. We see a person doing something, and we immediately pick up bits and pieces and start analyzing the same. For example, when I see a person sitting alone in a coffee shop, I can’t help but wonder- why is he alone on such a busy day? Is he an introvert? Does nobody like him? Why is he having coffee at 12 noon? Is he unemployed? What if he’s thinking the same about me? And the questions just start popping up and fast. Then, sometime later, I look within, and ask myself- am I being perceptive or am I being judgmental?
For me, there is a thin line between the two, as I jump on judgments like an Olympic champion. And, admit it, you do it too. We can’t help it. We are humans. Humans do judge- others and themselves. It happens because we try to reflect upon other people, what we think of ourselves. If we think of us as realists with a hint of selfishness (i.e. we think that the world operates on the ‘give-and-take’ principle), then even if a person is willing to do something for us, out of his own belief of giving and sharing, we would always conclude that he must be having a selfish motive behind all this. If we think that every person should act in a certain way, including ourselves, then we are always judging people, if they do not act in that particular way. We are constantly, subconsciously, judging people. And no matter how much we try not to think of such things intentionally, we end up at the same spot every damn time- our own little make-believe palace of judgments.
Having said this, when I’ve consumed my share of negative energy through some time period and I finally sit down to cleanse my thoughts a bit, I always, find myself asking the same question over and over- should I be a little more curious and a little less judgmental?
Walt Whitman was a wise man and he said some wise words, including, “Be Curious, Not Judgmental”. It’s hard to admit, being a pretty proudy person myself- but what he said was right and will remain to be true till the world finally ends. So, what exactly is the difference between being curious and being judgmental? For me, it all starts with perception– we see things, we feel things, we hear things, and basically, do all that what our senses are capable of. After perception, we remain stuck between two choices- to find out more about that person or thing and be more insightful about the whole situation or to just sit there, re-visit the entire situation in our heads, analyze it based upon our beliefs, our principles, and our way of living and finally form an opinion. That opinion will always be correct according to us, until we do the former. Until we try to find out the truth behind that action or situation or a particular reaction, we are literally hitting one pole or the other in a lonely street on a dark night. Because, being judgmental, we can only see and acknowledge what little knowledge we have, and we remain conservative in our approach to open up and receive thoughts of others. While, being curious, helps us discover the unknown.
I do not care if being judgmental is right or wrong. For me, it is unhealthy. It is unhealthy to be a stuck up, to not grow, to not learn, to not understand, to not acknowledge other person’s point of view. You, being judgmental will not affect anyone but you. It will make you mentally isolated; it will have an effect on your personality and ultimately your relationships with others. I have suffered due to this because I failed to see what was actually out there, waiting for me to be explored, while I was busy thinking things over and over in my limited cage-like mind space.
We are designed to grow. Our brains are made to be utilised more and beyond (the known capacity). Our communities teach us to live in harmony– by knowing others and ourself too. Thus, it is always good to think, to evolve and to examine what is best for you or others, but it is never justified to judge a person, without standing in his shoes, purely based on your opinions.
–Stay positive, open your minds to the creative ones of others, and you will explore the world like never before–