Thou Shall Not Judge

“Wow, have you seen what that lady is wearing?”

“Oh, mother, please don’t judge!”

“Come on, that dress is too short for her age, admit it!”

“Stop it. It’s not funny!”

That was a thought-provoking conversation between my daughter and I. Was I being judgmental? I believed it was a simple observation. I was neither judging nor criticising and the lady in question never heard those words. So, no harm done, right? That was what I thought until I was put in my place by my daughter. To her, I was judging by appearance and that was unacceptable. It was not a joke and she was right.

“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself”- Dr Wayne Dyer

There is a fine line between a joke and criticism. So, when does a funny remark become unacceptable? Judging someone is negative, and ‘judgmental’ is a harsh word which we do not like to be associated with. Yet, when we are told that we are judging, we are quick to deny it. Very often we voice our opinions without thinking of consequences. It is instinctive. We react to how others behave but ignore our own behaviour.

“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment”- John 7:24

We have become such perfectionists that we think we have the right to correct other people’s flaws. If we feel we have the right to do so, then we must make sure we know everything about that person. We must learn the facts and not assume. We are neither presiding in a tribunal nor are we God, Himself. We cannot form an opinion based on looks or actions. We might think it is funny, but would we tolerate this behaviour if it is done to us?

“When you have an emotional reaction to what you see, you are judging. That is your signal that you have an issue inside of yourself – with yourself – not with the other person. If you react to evil, look inside yourself for the very thing that so agitates you, and you will find it. If it were not there, you will simply discern act appropriately, and move on.”- Gary Zukav

Sometimes when we feel threatened, our defensive mechanism kicks in and judging others help us boost our confidence. Because when we experience negative feelings and our self-esteem takes a dip, we believe we are less worthy than others. Venting out on someone else might make us feel better but we lose our core values.

“It is easy to judge. It is more difficult to understand. Understanding requires compassion, patience, and willingness to believe that good hearts sometimes choose poor methods. Through judging, we separate. Through understanding, we grow.”- Doe Zantamata

Before we say something, we must stop and think. Before we judge, we must understand why we are doing it. When we learn not to judge others and accept them the way they are, we learn to accept our own imperfection. By turning that negative behaviour into understanding and compassion, we let go of our fear of rejection and learn to accept our own faults.

“If you start judging people you will not have time to love them”- Mother Teresa

Instead of spending time pointing out other people’s mistakes, take the time to ponder on your own. You cannot control how people think and act, but you can control your own behaviour. By choosing to see the good in others, you will end up seeing the good in yourself.  It is high time to learn to show more kindness and less judgement.

What is a Friend?

What is a friend? According to Aristotle, it is a single soul dwelling in two bodies. Hmm … is it like a peanut? I dig into my imagination and I picture a box of Maynards Bassets Liquorice Allsorts.

Friends come in all sorts of shapes and colours. Unlike with family, I can pick and choose who I want to be my friend. Friends are supposed to be people who make you laugh, support you when you are going through tough times and encourage you when you have given up. Shakespeare agrees with me with this quote:

“A friend knows you as you are, understands who you have been, accepts what you become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”

No one forces their friendship on us. We go into this relationship with our eyes wide open. We look for someone who we find it easy to talk to, someone who enjoys the same things in life and at times someone who we can depend on. There are no strings attached and we are free to walk out whenever we want, no love lost. So, why does it leave a sour taste when things go awry?

As with every relationship, “give and take” is a must. If there is no real connection the friendship becomes forced. Who has not had a “fake friend” during their lifetime? Real friends can go years without communication. You will not be ostracized, as you would with a blood relative. When the friendship is genuine, that person leaves an imprint on your life which neither time nor distance can erase.

There is a bunch of Crazy Ladies whom I call friends. I have not seen most of them for over 25 years. We are no longer schoolgirls and have ditched the green uniform a long way back. We live different lives in different countries, yet Facebook has made it possible for us to reconnect.  Though we have changed as individuals, as a group we have easily settled into this renewed friendship and filled in the gaps along the way.  

Social media prevents the ember of friendship from dying but can also leave bittersweet memories. Everyone brings a different trait into this relationship: good listener, loyal, trustworthy, supportive and funny. We invest more if we feel comfortable. As adults we are no longer carefree. We are more polite and demand respect. We keep one another updated without going into details.

“Always love your friends from your heart and not from your needs” – Buddha

We do not have to hang out to consolidate any relationship. Everyone has busy lives which makes it difficult to spend time together. A strong friendship can keep two people together if there is honesty and trust. At a click, we can ‘like’ those friends or ‘delete’ them from our lives permanently. Sadly, friendship can still last without any depth or closeness … more robotic than being alive.

In my opinion, if there is a lack of mutual respect, non-judgement, understanding and support, then the other person is not worthy of my friendship. I can easily walk away, guilt-free. Oh yeah, I am that ‘biatch’. I am past the silly game of bitching and negativity. If you want to be my friend, then assume your role, otherwise, beat it mate!

A sweet friendship refreshes the soul – Proverbs 27:9

I nurture friendship with those I call “true” friends. When my friend Annie asks how I am, she waits to hear my answer. Though she knows my weakness, she shows me my strength. There is more value in a friend who understands why you are crying than those who wait to join you only when you are laughing. Genuine friendship is like a rare pearl, cherish it when you are lucky enough to find it.

“The only way to have a friend is to be one” – Ralph Waldo Emerson