Though it is human to evaluate people we encounter based on first impressions, our judgments are frequently incomplete, because the conclusions we come to are affected by our own preconceptions. For example, poverty can be seen as a signifier of uneducated or laziness and wealth can seem like proof that an individual is ruthless or self-absorbed, neither of which may be true. At the heart of the tendency to criticize, we often find insecurity. But overcoming our need to set ourselves apart from what we fear comes with understanding the root of judgment and then reaffirming our commitment to tolerance. When we find ourselves being judgmental, we should ask ourselves where these judgments come from. To acknowledge to ourselves that we have judged, and that we have identified the root of our judgments, is the first step to a path of compassion. Recognizing that we limit our awareness byassessing others critically can make moving past our initial impressions much easier. When we regain our center, we can reinforce our open-mindedness by putting our feelings into words. Mother Teresa said, “If you judge people, you don’t have time to love them.” Judgments seldom leave room for alternate possibilities, and by being quick to pass judgment on others, we forget that they are human beings just like us. We should always give those we meet the gift of an open heart, because we don’t know what roads people have traveled before or why they have come into our lives. In doing so, we allow our fear-based criticism to be replaced with appreciation and then we can focus wholeheartedly on the spark of divinity that burns in all human souls.
Heart to Heart,