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Judging others is often based on our own ignorance!

, June 8, 2022, 0 Comments

We often tend to judge others based on their actions or behaviours , because of our own ignorance, and the fact that we have not been trained to understand different perspectives, or to understand behaviours of others based on their social, cultural, economic, psychological or health situations.

These situations that someone may be in, could be very different from our own or from what we’ve known, experienced, seen or heard about. They may have had a different childhood experiences than ours, may have faced a different kind of financial situation ( or constraints), may have faced different kind of issues or challenges in their primary ( family) relationships, or may have faced physical, emotional or mental health situations in their family that we may have never come across.
These different experiences may have shaped their current outlook, values, habits and behaviours, which may be very different from ours, or may seem strange to us.

This in effect means that we and the other person may be experiencing the same situation differently.

What we may assume to be “normal” or “appropriate” behaviour, outlook or attitude in the context of a situation, may not be “normal” or “appropriate” from the perspective of that other person in the same situation, as that person may actually be experiencing a totally different situation at the same time.

Let’s take an example to understand this. If after a football game, someone comes cheering, shouting slogans and rushing towards us, that person’s behaviour may be terrorizing and we may be suddenly fearful and shocked, because in our past, we may have experienced a drunken brawl or assault following similar action of others.

But does this mean that the other person is bad ? Is the other person trying to terrorize us?
Not necessarily. It may be just a harmless gesture as that person may be considering this shouting and cheering as expression of joy ( following victory in the game), expecting us to support and cheer with them.

Another situation could be in a professional context. A team member may be repeatedly losing focus in a meeting and not hearing ( or unable to respond to) what leaders and others are loudly telling him/her. Does this mean that the person has a bad attitude or is intentionally being disrespectful? Not necessarily, because the person may be struggling with intruding thoughts from something deeply adverse and personal that may have happened earlier that day. It may also be possible that sitting in a loud group may be evoking some past memories of bitter or embarrassing experiences, that they may be struggling to overcome at that moment.judging-ignorance-marketepress

The essence is that avoid judging others based on observations from one off or few instances can be helpful in managing or building relationships.

More importantly, it is helpful to avoid reading-between-the-lines in personal and friendly relationships, as this habit can do far more harm to our relationships than we realize !

Understanding other people’s perspective and empathizing with them to understand why they are doing what they are doing ( or saying or expressing) , is a more resourceful way to approach, before making decisions about how we want to deal with their actions or behaviours, and what kind of relationship we want to develop or maintain with them.