Last week I saw a video posted on someone’s timeline that made me pause.
I don’t usually comment on videos like this, because I know my opinion won’t be popular and I’m not interested in arguing with someone I don’t know about something they will never change their mind about.
It was a video of a man obviously messed up on something acting erratically. Truthfully, it was kind of scary because he acting so far out of the norm, pushing on his hands to get around rather than walking, and talking nonsense.
The caption of the video was something like this:
This is what my dad had to deal with outside of his car wash this morning.
I know what this video was meant to do. This man was meant to shock, entertain, creep out, and create sympathy for the car wash owner for having to deal with such a vile human being.
I couldn’t help but comment how sad I was for the “scary” man in the video, that he is somebody’s child, and how much he must be suffering.
Someone responded to my comment about how he’s a grown up not a child, that he doesn’t feel sorry for him for his choices, and that he is responsible for fixing his life.
I didn’t bother responding back.
Here’s the thing, it’s so easy to judge each other. We see the result of where someone is, and judge them on it like that’s all they are.
Whether they are an addict, famous, thin, fat, whatever, we judge at face value.
Aren’t we all more complex than what can be seen?
Don’t you have a whole history that is invisible to the world, but alive in every choice you make and everything that you do?
The problem with judgement is that it comes from a view that the person we are judging has had the same life as us, and therefore would have the same perspective as us, same experiences as us, and the same opportunities as us.
If you were never taught that you mattered, would you still think you did?
If you were never taught that your choices will have consequences, would you think twice before acting?
If you were never treated with kindness, would you believe the world to be kind or would you be afraid of it?
If you were never taught you were worthy of love, would you choose relationships that reinforced that or would you respect yourself?
If you were never taught accountability, would you blame the world or would you change yourself?
If you were raised around addiction, would you know that it’s not “normal” behavior and learn other methods of coping or would you do what everyone else in your family and/or community is doing?
If you were raised with shame, would you take the risk of shining brightly or would you try to hide yourself so no one could see you?
We often think that our way of seeing ourselves and the world are universal, but they aren’t. They are taught to us through our families of origin, culture, communities, and experiences.
I have a world inside of me that no one has seen but me.
I have a history that no one lived but me.
I have hurts that no one has experienced but me.
I have strengths that grew from the dark places no one knows about but me.
We all do.
To judge another at their current state is to dishonoring the history that got them there, whether it’s the strong confident person we see, or the desperate one we want to turn away from.
And it is this very judgment that sabotages the one thing we all really want:
From birth on we are dependent on each other. None of us came out of the womb driving a car and taking car of ourselves.
Everything around us is the fruits of someone else’s labour. Our roads, our computers, our clothing, our houses, our food, our education. Everything.
We cannot exist without each other and we are also desperate to belong to each other.
We exist because we belong not in spite of it.
Judgement destroys our sense of connection by separating ourselves from others which ultimately causes pain not only to the judged, but to ourselves.
I get it.
I don’t necessarily want to belong to the messed up man outside the carwash either.
But we already do.
If my life had a few different turns, maybe that man could be me.
(Minus the man part of course!)
What I saw was a life that was very sad, and a person who lacked the skills or support to cope with it.
He needed compassion, not a pointed finger.
That also goes for the person of a different size than you, different ethnicity than you, different socioeconomic status than you, different way of life than you.
In the end, we all want the same thing:
To love and be loved. To be connected.
And that begins with compassion.
I’d love to hear from you now: Would you have commented on that video? When you hear other people judging, do you join in, speak up, or ignore it, and why? Are you going to bring me cookies, and when? Share your comments below.
If you liked this post, then please share it! Share it with all your friends on Facebook, Tweet it out loud, and forward it to anyone who might need to read this today.
Thank you for being a constant source of love and inspiration. You are a part of my tribe, and I am a part of yours.