At some point in my life, not all that many years ago, I suddenly woke up to the idea of radically not judging others.
I think the idea was planted the day that someone was driving insanely crazy near me in a lot of traffic. First they tailgated me, so I slowed way down. Then when they had an opening they flew past me on the right, cut across my lane in front of me and into the left turn lane at the light we were approaching. Of course, I blew my horn and probably gave them angry face — you know the one. But when I looked to the left to see where they were going, my heart sank. They were pulling into the emergency entrance of a hospital.
I instantly felt childish and inconsiderate. I had assumed they were jerks, (another J word!) but it turned out that the jerk was me.
After that, I began looking at people differently. I realized that I don’t know the whole story. I don’t know why they act the way they do, even day after day. Who knows what difficult upbringing they may have had, or even when they are my own family members, I don’t know what all they experienced. I don’t know how they were treated in school. I don’t know what hopes they weren’t allowed to develop.
I am realizing now that I still am challenged by drivers who ride my bumper or cut me off (or heaven forbid, drive slowly!!) But I can say, that in most areas of my life, I have really learned to judge much less often–not just others, but myself as well. And my life has a lot less stress and more friends for it.