When others judge us for who we are, how do we react? At a party, for example, others may say we don't use proper etiquette, eat too much, exercise too little or are drinking too much. At times, this rhetoric can escalate to vicious name-calling: fag, un-American or unpatriotic, terrorist, racist or, most ridiculous of all, hated by God. What can we do when faced with unfair, hurtful judgments?
It's interesting how we cherry-pick labels for each other. We decide that others aren't quite the way they should be. The perpetrators run the gamut from politicians to religious leaders. Really, this compulsion to ostracize others has affected our entire society -- even children, as evidenced by the recent spate of bullying. Most of us accept these behaviors as the norm, and we cope with the rejection by launching a counter-attack of yet more rejection.
There's quite a bit of hypocrisy and narrow-mindedness here, in that we want to reject others as they are, but insist that others love and accept us the way we are. The notion that any human being is faultless and virtuous enough to pass judgment on others is laughable. To go even further and profess to be non-judgmental in the same breath is just outrageous. But deep down, even the most critical person is yearning for the acceptance they deny to others.
In our challenging environment, and despite these superiority/inferiority complexes, we need to remember that all human beings emanated from one source (regardless of what you call the source) and celebrate our similarities, not focus on perceived differences. It will take open-mindedness and a staunch resolve to achieve the highest aspiration of our human existence. We were all born into a world of invisible love and bliss. We did not originate from hate, prejudice or bigotry. These disparaging human habits were passed on to us -- they were taught to us -- after our appearance into the universe.
There are two ways we can cope with our hypercritical society; the one we choose is closely aligned with the way we inherently view ourselves. We can seek to love ourselves more, and therefore not align our self-worth with others' approval. Unfortunately, most of us make the alternate choice: making others feel inferior by labeling them with inflammatory, cruel words, thereby crating even more resistance. In an effort to be seen as superior, we drag others down, painting them as inferior.
Our taught beliefs about racism, homophobia and sexism are some of the worst. These beliefs were passed on to us by others, and we blindly hold on to them as our own truth. We don't question why we harbor disgust for those we know so little about. We must unlearn the "truths" of others if we are ever to experience the bliss of a harmonious society.
In a lot of marriages, you'll find great examples of our judgmental tendency. We marry, and then almost immediately, we stand in judgment of the person we profess to love, and we ask them to change to suit our liking. This must be why so many marriages fail today -- people go into marriage expecting that they can change their spouse, instead of accepting them the way they are. And if marriages struggle out the starting gate, it's no wonder we struggle to accept those outside our cliques, clubs and churches, those who don't seem to be like us.
We must exemplify the change we seek. That is, we must show the very love that we desire from others. And a good step toward loving others is to develop an honest love of ourselves. We mustn't risk squandering our own purposeful existence; we mustn't continue to walk in lockstep with the crowd. Inheriting and owning bigotries, prejudices and hatred is a most irreverent betrayal of our right as free-thinkers. We've seen where this divisive judgement has taken us. When we lose our judgmental tendencies, we will enhance our human experience.
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