A judgement is formed in an instant! Like the quick snap of a photo. But we all have photos where we look sad but are really happy or look twenty pounds heavier (or lighter!) than we actually are! Here is a story of a judgement I made in my life that changed the way I see the world.
I don't know about you but I make judgements every single day. I judge whether to cross the road or not, whether our baby has had enough to eat, how many raw chocolate bars I need to make for my family because I ate the stash I made last night already... I could reel off a long list!
I also make other judgements which are, in my opinion, unnecessary, or formed out of habit. Sometimes, they are not my judgements at all but a voice of a person I once spoke to and now their voice echoes in my mind.
I really like to think of myself as a non-judgemental person (in the sense of judging a person before I know the situation or even when I do). I subscribe to the way of thinking, 'How can I judge others whilst I am so full of faults?'.
Sometimes I cannot seem to switch the judgement off in my mind, however. It might not reach the surface of my lips to transform into words but sure enough, those words are thoughts in my brain. I try to keep them light and breezy but this is not always an easy task! I am pretty sure, without sounding too judgemental, that you know what I am talking about!
Well, one day, I learned a big lesson.
My family and I were preparing to go and live in China and so I ventured off to the Chinese Embassy in London to sort out our Visas. I was full of excitement, a little fear and a huge sense of adventure.
I sat on one of the chairs in the waiting area, big smile on my face, listening out for my ticket number to be called.
Then... in she walked. Just the most stunningly beautiful woman! She was SO confident... she literally breezed in, the most gorgeous perfect hair I ever saw, really long, honey blonde, beautiful blue eyes. I am totally happy with my lovely long red hair and hazel brown eyes so I didn't feel the stab of envy that I might have felt years back. I just thought, Wow! This woman has it all!
Just without a care in the world, she must be so happy. This might all sound like positive judgements but truth be told, I was just looking at the surface and felt I had it all sussed!
She sat right opposite me and we started to chat. We asked each other the obvious question; 'What takes you to China?'
I went first and told her all about my new job teaching at an International School.
Then she told me that she would be walking the Great Wall of China... there would be a group of them going.
I replied 'Oh that is great,' but it felt like there was more to come.
'We are walking for Charity,' the woman continued...
'To raise awareness of...' and here my mind goes blank as I cannot remember the charity at all.
What I do remember is what she said next.
She told me how when she was a young teen at school, she lost all of her hair. All of it. And how she still does not have any hair. And how this beautiful long honey blonde hair is a wig. And how sometimes, when people stare at her on the Tube, she whips her hair off to surprise people.
I was just blown away. And so happy! So happy to meet this wonderful woman. So inspired! I have friends who have lost their hair for various reasons and I know it is far from easy to cope with. Just losing a few chunks of hair after two pregnancies freaked me out. I cannot imagine what it feels like to lose every bit of hair on my body. I admire my friends so much for how they dealt with their hair loss and now this person too.
Had we not chatted that day, it would have been all-too-easy to have assumed all sorts of things and had we not opened up and shared our stories, I would never have had this lesson.
Since that day, I have definitely been more mindful. When I meet people, I try really hard to see beyond what is there. Everyone has a story and some people love to share it too so I always veer on the side of trying to open up a dialogue with people I meet.
I was on the Tube myself the other day and I watched people... the woman who was listening to something on her headphones, the man who was watching something on his tablet, the girl who was looking sideways at the man next to her and eyeing up his sushi...!
And I may have ideas about what these people were thinking/listening to/watching or what their lives were like. But in reality, I had no idea whatsoever.
Talking is good. Talking makes the world smaller. And it leads to a deeper understanding. And less judgements. What do you think?
This article first appeared on www.mamababado.com