But it’s what we do. The instant we see another person, we make judgements. Whether a close friend, a relative, even our own family; some little voice from deep within makes some kind of (hopefully) silent commentary. Am I right? I think that’s pretty normal. And I make every effort to shut that voice down, to, instead, make a vocal, positive comment.
Great. So now every time I give someone a compliment they’re going to be grimacing at what I might really be thinking. Not the case. I have really, really been doing a much better job of seeing people with a “new lens”.
Would it be too much to ask everyone else to do the same? We are all unique individuals with our own mannerisms, style, tone of voice, speech patterns, gestures, expressions, habits (good and bad). That’s what makes us who we are. If we all fit into the mold that you think we should all fit in to, well, then, the world would, first of all, be very bland, with everyone looking just like you. And second, really? The way you dress, with those homely shoes? The way you chew with your mouth open? Oh. Sorry. Momentary lapse.
Actually, most of us are our own worst critics. Again, am I right? Another thing I work very, very, very hard to shut down. Self judgement leads to an eroded self-esteem and diminished self confidence. I actually sit down every morning, with my cup of coffee, and write down a page of affirmations about myself, followed by a page of things I am grateful for. This daily task takes about five minutes and sets the tone for a good, focused, energized day, brimming with self confidence and gratitude. I recommend it.
Back to not judging. I’ll admit, I do have a few prejudices. Are you ready? Mini van drivers and people who identify themselves by their limitations. Ouch. I know.
I know there are exceptions. There are one or two mini van drivers that almost know what they’re doing. Almost. And of course, these are my friends who are reading this right now. You know who you are! You’re fine. The exceptions. I assure you. From what I have observed, though, with the purchase of a mini van comes a lobotomy. They only scrambled the part of your brain that contained common sense as it pertains to driving ability and road safety, including making swift, efficient lane changes, effective merging, use of blinkers, and maintaining a consistent speed. And they also scrambled the part of the brain pertaining to any kind of vehicular pride. I saw a bumper sticker the other day, “Real men drive mini vans”. I had to pull over, I laughed until I cried.
Now for my other prejudice. I truly, to my core, believe that people are only limited by the limitations they define themselves by. I have seen amazing, awe-inspiring athletes with a prothesis, or two, or three. I have heard beautiful, eloquent public speakers that have overcome debilitating speech difficulties, like stuttering. I honestly think there are very few limitations a person can’t overcome, to a large extent, simply by letting go of their limiting beliefs and behaviors. There is so much written on the subject, I recommend going in search of some authors and titles that may help you. All of you. We all have limiting behaviors. Some of us, more than others.
So what drives me crazy is people who just throw their list of limitations at you before you’ve even made note of how ugly their shoes are. Oh. Sorry. Momentary lapse. An example “Hi, I’m Dora. This is my inhaler” or “this is my son Donald, he has ADHD”. TMI folks, for me, and more importantly, for you, or your child! “Hi, I’m Dora” and “this is my son Donald” would suffice. I really, really, really don’t want or need to know the rest. And you need to let go of it and take a chance at overcoming that limitation. And I think it is a sin, the worst of sins, to limit a youth with a label. That child grows up feeling different, limited, abnormal, anxious about their differences, with an excuse for whatever they choose, feeling entitled to special treatment, feeling entitled to act out, the list goes on and on. There is no one way to destroy a young life than to attach a limiting label to it. Work with the child, not against him or her. I know ADHD is real, I think we all have it, to a degree. I think there are very, very, very few cases of “true” ADHD requiring medical intervention. I think what most of us have is called “normal”. I have a lot of energy and enthusiasm! I’ll take THAT label. No thank you to the drugs.
I truly think limitations are a shield to hide from the fears of the world. “I’m afraid to take risks, to take chances, to grow, in any way. I don’t want to change. I am happy with my safe, comfortable, little world. People will expect more of me if I don’t have this condition, so I’ll just hide behind this shield, this limitation.” I know this is really harsh, but in fact, you are being way more harsh on yourself every time you attach a limitation to yourself. I’m not sure how to inspire people to break free of this behavior, but I aim to keep trying until I find a way! I have overcome many of my own limitations, some I applied to myself, some given to me as a child. I am a limitation destroyer, and I am so free! I really can do anything I want.
Those are my prejudices; mini van drivers, self-limiting labelers. And homely shoes.
In my perfect world, no one would judge. A huge ideal. But really, who the hell do we think we are to judge anyone for anything? It is not our job. Even a judge in robes, sitting at the bench, making weighty decisions that alter the lives of many, are not the true judge. They are judges elected or appointed by us, to exact decisions we are uncomfortable exacting because of their magnitude and importance. If, in my perfect world, even judges in robes sitting at the bench aren’t truly judges, then who is?
Isn’t God, or the Supreme Being, or karma, or the Universe, or something far greater than mankind, supposed to be the judge? That’s the way I understand it. The sum of our actions, our inactions, our lives as we choose to live them out, will be the basis of our fate, whether you believe in that fate running it’s course during the course of life, or in some ever-after, the fate is ultimately decided by something far greater than us.
I am basically Christian. Catholic. With a bunch of questions and several alternative opinions. And in my faith, in it’s somewhat incoherent and shaky state, at present, it is for God to do. To judge, that is. So, explain to me, then, does God drive a mini van? Because I just saw one with bumper stickers; one said, simply “Saved” and the other “In Case of Rapture This Vehicle Will Be Unmanned” (which is funny, because a chick was driving it). So, I have to assume, that chick was God, because in the Christian faith, God is the judge. And if that chick driving the mini van wasn’t God, shame on her for taking God’s job away! What an assumption! How embarrassing to be wrong on that assumption! The rapture happens and she’s still driving along, in the far left lane, at fifty, in a sixty-five zone, singing out loud to the Christian station, if only to drown out the Wiggles on the DVD player in the backseat, even though there are no kids in her car at present, the “off” button is so hard to find, her left blinker is still on. Who does she think she is to make such an assumption, anyway? Maybe there is someone at her church, or at another church, that waves his or her arms, palms upturned, even more enthusiastically than she does, acing her out of a place in heaven. Maybe she accidentally mouthed the words to the hymn incorrectly one time too many, losing valuable positioning in the great race to salvation. I plan to put a bumper sticker on my car that says “Wretch” and, perhaps “I May be Saved by Amazing Grace, or Not, It’s Not My Call, But if This Car is Driverless, You’ll Know What Happened”. I might need a larger bumper. No, I won’t be buying a mini van. Nor will I be putting any bumper stickers on my car. I actually hate bumper stickers, only idiots have them on their cars. Oh. Sorry. Momentary lapse.