While at dinner tonight with a close friend, we got onto the topic of how we perceive the people we meet. When I told her that I initially only see the good in new acquaintances, she let out a hearty laugh. She’s never been one to mince words:
“That’s not really true, Jami.”
Now granted, I’m used to her busting me when I’m not being totally genuine, but still, I was taken aback. Of course, being the OPEN-MINDED person I am, I always see the best in people, at least at first..I’m a really nice person, yo!
It’s funny how we perceive ourselves in comparison to reality (or how others perceive us).
Just the other day, I was biking over a bridge on my way to work, jacking around with my music, not hearing a women on a motorbike trying to pass me from behind. I must have been weaving, because when she was finally able to pass me, she gave me a nasty, disapproving look. Now, if I were that sweetheart that I profess to be, I would have acknowledged that messing about with my phone during bike-path rush hour is not a very considerate thing to do, put up a ‘my-bad’ hand of apology, and cheerfully whistle the rest of my way to work.
I certainly would not have shouted:
And as she turned back to look at me with horror, I did not look away. I wanted her to know that I was not sorry for my choice of words.
I’d had a bad morning…
I’m not always nice, and since I’ve been practicing more mindfulness, I’ve caught myself having some pretty nasty, judgmental thoughts about other people. I think when we take a look at our thought patterns in a day, really observe them, we can become more aware of how much we perpetuate those exact behaviors we publicly abhor, namely unfairly judging others, having mean-spirited thoughts about those we envy, and just plain getting annoyed with the guy who dares to ask the checkout clerk why his fish sticks coupon wasn’t deducted from the bill.
I will be bringing more awareness to how I silently judge others (or not so silently). Perhaps then I will have more compassion for those that judge me, as let’s face it, we’re judged as much as we judge. It’s a cruel world out there, all of us secretly measuring one another up, all with a smile and a double handshake.
It’s like this one guy Jesus said:
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.