A man was sitting with his twenty five-year-old son on a train. As the train started from the station the young man, sitting at the window, looked out and shouted, “Papa, see, the trees are moving behind us.” After a few minutes, the young man said loudly and joyfully, “Papa, see the pond and animals. Even the clouds are moving with the train.” The other passengers in the train watched the young man’s odd behaviour with embarrassment.
The father smiled indulgently at his son’s joy, even as those around inwardly mocked the childish behaviour of the young adult. They felt a little awkward watching a twenty five-year-old behaving like a small child.
Finally the couple sitting right across couldn’t help themselves and asked the father, “Why don’t you get treatment for your son?”
The man replied, “We are returning from a hospital after an operation. Today my son got his eyesight for the first time in his life. After twenty five years he is seeing and experiencing things that are new for him.”
Dear readers, how quick we are to pass judgement, how easily we think the worst of others, how rapidly we form opinions.
Have we ever looked with disgust at a parent whose young child is throwing a tantrum on a flight? Have we laughed cruelly as a fat person enters a restaurant and orders a cheese burger? Have we criticised our friend’s odd outburst, even though we know it is different from her usual temperament?
We are all guilty of passing judgement without stopping to evaluate the situation.
The bitter truth is that we judge others because we suffer from an inferiority complex, and feel better when we can point out the faults of others. We are like the fox that could not get the grapes and therefore said they were sour.
How can we avoid this pattern of behaviour ?
S Bruner, a writer, gives some very easy steps to overcome being critical and insensitive.
We should become aware of our behaviour. Some of us might not even realise that we are being judgemental. We have to start by noticing the critical thoughts we have about others and ask ourselves why we have those thoughts at that moment. Are we feeling self-conscious, angry, tired ? The sooner we start to recognise the true reasons behind our judgemental behaviour, the sooner we can deal with it.
Let’s believe in ourselves. We are unique! We don’t need to judge others because we are talented, intelligent and beautiful in our own way. So let’s believe in ourselves. When we feel truly comfortable about ourselves, we are less critical of others.
Put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, empathise. Maybe that child is crying because she didn’t sleep well last night, not because she has parents who can’t control her. Try to consider situations from another point of view. Not everyone has the same experiences, challenges and blessings you have. Put yourself in their place... that is true empathy.
We must stop criticising and gossiping. When a discussion becomes a gossip session, move away from the situation. Let us watch the language we use. Don’t tell people what they ‘should’ do, what’s right or wrong, bad or good. That’s applying our morality to someone else. Avoid using words that are negative, condescending or critical.
Dear friends, just for one week, let us all decide that we will not harbour any resentment, criticise anyone or point out flaws in others. We will, in fact, not think negatively at all!! Feel the difference within yourself immediately... a calmer, more confident, more compassionate mind.
Readers, if you have questions related to your life or life skills send a mail to Indira Aiyer and she will certainly have a response for you.