Pass the Ketchup – Not The Judgment
By Elizabeth Skenes Millen
For the most part, I gave up judging people about the same time I gave up perfectionism.
When I finally got old enough—actually wise enough— to realize that I wasn’t perfect, nor did I need to be, I also relinquished that expectation of others, as well. With the freedom of being released from the shackles of trying to do right, be right, look right and act right, I learned that judging others, just like judging yourself, is both arrogant and presumptuous. In addition, it is binding to the persons on both sides of the judging.
One of the best visuals I can think of to fully demonstrate the destruction of judging others is the movie The Help. Judgments are passed in that movie faster than an offering plate at church on Sunday. No one was safe—white or black, friend or foe. If you haven’t seen the movie, watch it. It will make you think twice before judging others. But if judging is your game, please keep this in mind: Judging hurts people. Naturally, the one being judged is hurt by narrow-mindedness and misunderstanding, but the one judging is also hurt. Mainly because her world remains small, tight and bitter. Judgers form opinions based only on what they think they know, which usually is not grounded in facts, nor does it include compassion or understanding. Fact is, there are always two sides of a story—sometimes more. In order to judge, one must have at least a small cauldron of hate, misunderstanding, fear, self-righteousness, jealousy and criticalness brewing in their heart. Mother Teresa said, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” I would like to add, that you have no room to love them, either.
As we move into a new year, I urge you to leave judging others in the past. Here’s a few reasons why:
1. Fair judging requires you to walk in the other person’s shoes. Be careful, she or he may not have shoes you want to walk in. Worse yet, those shoes may cause many blisters. In fact, if you’re judging them, I can assure you the journey in their shoes has caused some painful blisters that you most likely do not want to take on.
2. True judges wear oversized black robes. Let me tell you right now, they do nothing for your figure, but they do give you plenty of room to hide your own skeletons.
3. Judging others is painful. It’s hurts people’s feelings. There is already too much pain in the world. Hurting others in order to make yourself feel better is pathetic. If that’s the path you must take to get to your happy place, you may want to reexamine if you are truly happy.
4. Judging others harbors anger and fear, neither of which are positive. Ghandi said we are a product of our thoughts. What we think we become. Do you really want that? We can never hear the Golden Rule enough: Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.
Life’s too short. Live and let live. Realize that everyone’s life is a journey made up of good and bad, happy and sad, successes and failures. There is no right path from birth to death. There is no owner’s manual. It is all just one big, messy adventure of trials and errors. Some things work, others don’t—and that’s OK. Our lives are not perfectly baked pies lined up at the state fair waiting to be judged, hoping to win first place. Besides, can you tell me who won best pie last year? How about the Oscar for best actress? The Superbowl?
Of course not. It’s all short-lived—both the good and the bad. It all passes with time whether you judge it or not. So, it’s OK to pass the kethcup, to pass your driving exam and to pass a slow driver who won’t get out of the fast lane. But for goodness sake, it is not OK to pass judgment on your fellow woman. Give that chick a break. She has as much dirty laundry to deal with as you. Won’t you share your Cheer with her?