Monday’s Meditation: On Mistakes In Judgment
I have the experience occasionally, as we all do, of being misjudged in my professional capacity.
I must look younger than some people think I ought to, must appear too small to be able to lift and move heavy things, I must dress in a way that suggests I wouldn’t readily crawl on my hands in knees in dirt and cobwebs if that’s what it took for them to Live Simply. (I would–readily.)
Most people, thankfully, are willing to take me at my word, and no matter what they have or have not decided about me based off of my appearance during our first meeting, grant me the chance to prove my capabilities. This is a group of people to whom I have not ultimately been a disappointment, if you catch my drift.
Despite the frustrating realization of being misjudged–since we are always aware it’s happening as it is–I’ve walked away from the few initial meetings I’ve had with people who struggle to believe me feeling not truly frustrated with myself, but with those misjudging me. Without needing to inflate my ego, I nonetheless feel limited on their behalf, upset at their missing out on my magic–a magic that’s in me for the sole purpose of giving to them.
This is hardly a new topic in any forum; judgment-making is, at some level, at the very core of who we are. So maybe it’s more like a reminder.
There is the undeniable truth that judgments are our brains’ way of saving time–it’s a kind of survival tactic, a way to instantly decode what we see by classifying it into a familiar category.
There’s an element of judgments that most of us will never overcome because we are fairly willing participants. We are abundantly aware that the choices we make in fashion, cars, homes, partners, career–everything is a means of communicating who we are to others. And when we manage to choose accurately, and when others perceive these clues rightly, then judgments can cancel out some of the work involved in figuring each other out.
Only the obvious which is: 1. Even those of us who know ourselves very well can have difficulty pin pointing external entities that precisely enough project our values and character, and 2. Most people are either far too busy or far too unskilled at accurately reading these projections of self, and 3. There is always still so much more and so much more importance under the surface of what we can see.
Snap judgments can work, some of the time. But the risk we take of botching it all up, or of forgetting to balance what we see with what we don’t is perhaps too great a risk to take. Not merely because it may hurt others, but because, selfishly, it’s how we deprive ourselves.
For those of us that are healthy emotionally, feeling misjudged does not cause such internal chaos and duress. We know who we are and what we have to give. We feel that our being mis-categorized is to our misjudger’s detriment. We feel saddened that they will, as a consequence of their laziness in relating or reliance on material representations, miss out on our gifts.
There is no end to the eloquent passages written by great minds throughout time on the virtues of leading a non-judgmental life. And here’s another way to put it: when you, yourself, have had the experience of being misjudged, judging others too quickly seems: unkind? Maybe. Spiritually crippling? Probably. Dumb? Yeah, that’s it; dumb. Judging others based off of what we see at first glance is just plain silly. For everyone has an entire world residing mere millimeters under the surface wherein true self, true motivations, true spirit powers bump house music and dance perfectly to the beat. That world may or may not match up with what we see.
There will always be those who aren’t interested in uncovering what lies beyond those first perceptions, or who do not possess the emotional health to do so. And far from working tirelessly to change their minds, the only right course is to realize that for those people, it was never about you, anyhow.
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