This post has taken a while to take shape. I’ve been really busy with my full-time job and finishing up some edits on my book, but I’ve also been sitting back and taking in other blogs, social media posts, the news, and conversations with friends and family. I’ve come to the realization that pretty much everyone is really bothered by the events taking shape in the world today. Although these kinds of things have always happened, there seems to be an uptick in violence, at home and abroad. And more than that, we are now exposed to each dramatic event, on a constant loop – on every channel, by every media source, every hour of every day! We can’t get away from it!
One of my biggest observations has been how we judge each other. Not necessarily intentional judgement, but that low-level judgement that we’ve been taught, or that we hear from one news source or another so many times that it becomes our own. We judge individuals and entire groups based on the actions of a few. And I’m as guilty as the next person…I have discovered judgement I didn’t even know I had.
I see people growing farther and farther apart based on judgements they’ve made about each other, while really never bothering to take the time to question those judgements, or trying to discover if the judgements have merit. Whites judge blacks and blacks judge whites, straights judge gays and gays judge straights, Democrats judge Republicans and Republicans judge Democrats, and on, and on, and on. Each group would like to be thought of as the group that isn’t judging…just stating facts. But if most of us are really honest with ourselves, we have some judgement about “them”, even if we’re really good people. We have an underlying thought pattern about particular groups of people, maybe not intentional, maybe through no fault of our own, and maybe born of the constant labeling we see being placed on these groups by the media. It doesn’t mean we’re bad, it means we’re human. BUT, it doesn’t excuse passing on the labels and judgements!
In my mind, the only way to stop the cycle of violence we see today on our own streets, and in other countries, is to stop labeling and judging others. If we’re truly sick of seeing the same scenes played out every night on the news, let’s do something about it. Let’s take action…and complaining isn’t action!! We must attempt to see our neighbors through a loving lens. We must strip away those judgements…and we all have them…and truly see people for who they are. As Wayne Dyer discusses in his interpretation of the Tao Te Ching, we must try to see the good without making judgements based on age, sex, title, manner of dress, height, weight, skin color, religious affiliation, or political beliefs. If we judge based on these things, we’re missing the true nature of the person inside. And, if we believe we are somehow better than someone, based on any of these things, we are part of the problem. Until we all start seeing each other for what we truly are, and stop supposing we know something based on appearances or perceived differences, NOTHING WILL CHANGE!
Today I challenge you to start the process. Today I challenge you to really be a part of the solution. I challenge you to stop complaining on social media, and to your friends at lunch, and start changing things on a personal level. Seek out someone whom you may have judged previously, for whatever reason, and talk to them. If you’re white, talk to a black person. If you’re black, talk to a white person. If you’re straight, talk to a gay person. If you’re gay, talk to a straight person. If you’re a Republican, talk to a Democrat. If you’re a Democrat, talk to a Republican. If you’re a Christian, talk to a Muslim. If you’re a Muslim, talk to a Christian. BUT…try talking to them without judgement. It may be harder than you think and you may even realize that you had some judgements you didn’t know were there. Just try it! And if you do, you’ve taken the first step towards real change. IT STARTS WITH US…NOT THEM!
I’d love to hear about your experiences with this challenge. Feel free to share in the comments, and lets start the conversation right here.