I was walking through the park with my boyfriend one day when I noticed a woman some distance to the side with her little boy next to her. She was engaging the child, laughing loudly, and talking very excitedly.
My first thought wasn’t, “Wow! How amazing to see a mom so devoted to her son.” It wasn’t even, “They look like they’re having fun.” No. My first thought was, “Jeez, if I ever had a kid, I wouldn’t act that over-excited every time we do something. That’s too over-the-top.”
Have you had moments like this? Moments where your first thought is “She laughs too loudly” or “He’s way too sensitive” or “Wow, that voice is annoying” or “Those colors do not go together”?
After I had the thought, I started probing deeper because I noticed how often I fail to find the beauty in things and instead jump to a judgement. Instead of wondering at someone’s art style, I draw a judgement. Instead of appreciating someone’s willingness to express themself and their enthusiasm for life, I criticize mentally. Instead of enjoying watching a mother devote so much energy to her child, I instantly look down at her.
And, yes, behaviors and traits and color choices will annoy you. And, yes, you may want to do things differently if it were you. But does that necessitate judgement?
When people annoy you, it’s quite often not about them. It’s about you. The fact is we all have things that annoy us, but that doesn’t mean the other person should change. It doesn’t always mean we should change, either. Not everyone likes the color blue, and not everyone gets annoyed by the same things. What you deem annoying or judge as “too much” is someone else’s version of “just right.”
Since these judgements don’t make you feel better and do nothing to help the other person, what can you do? What’s the remedy for this? How can we see the beauty in others so that we can also bring it to ourselves?
Notice the beauty.
It’s so simple, and yet it takes diligence to execute. First, notice when you judge yourself or others. Bring awareness to that. You can’t fix it if you are not aware it’s even happening. Then, the next time you catch yourself jumping to a judgement, insert a mental pause, and find one thing of beauty, even if the beauty is, “I’m glad that person is so happy” or “I’m glad that person is comfortable enough to express themself” or “What can I learn from them?”.
Do this to yourself as well, if you can. Notice when you cast judgement, and try to find one kernel of beauty.
I hate the way I sing turns into I’m glad I feel moved enough to want to sing.
I can never finish a to-do list turns into Look at all I learned today!
My outfit doesn’t fit right! turns into But I like the way my smile looks.
This isn’t about ignoring the annoyance or the urge to do things differently. It’s not about positive thinking versus negative thinking so much as it’s about bringing your thoughts into better alignment. The ability to judge is vital, but when we use it in the above scenarios, we end up hurting ourselves and others and healing no one.
We all judge, and we will never be perfect at achieving balance. Please don’t judge yourself for judging! I know I have a long way to go. Instead, see it as a game. Catch as much beauty in your day as you can and, if possible, share it with someone else! Pass on your kernel of beauty as a compliment, a thank-you, a piece of positive feedback, or write it down as I did above and keep it as a love-note to yourself.
Best wishes, my friends! ❤