Judger of people
June 24, 2014 § 1 Comment
I have realised recently that I am a “judger”. Specifically, I am a “judger of people”.
In truth, this isn’t so much of a new revelation but for some reason I have recently become acutely aware of my habit of judging others.
Those who know me well know that I judge two groups of people especially – the overweight & obese, and those whose shopping trollies are laden with processed, high-fat, high-sugar food but somehow remain miraculously not overweight or obese.
This evening is a perfect example of this.
I am peacefully shopping away at Woolworths having a lovely old time. I get to the checkout and load all my groceries onto the belt. As I am waiting for the customer in front of me to complete her payment, I take a look at my groceries which consist of about 50% fresh food, about 30% non-food items and 20% packaged food items (stock, Breadmaker bread mix, yoghurt, vegetable juice, deli meats etc). I feel satisfied with the food and other items I am about to purchase and it makes me feel good. Whilst my food starts processing, the two women behind me start piling their food onto the belt. I stand there watching what comes out of their trolley which is about 20% frozen pastry, 10% frozen savouries, 15% milk, 30% Coke and 15% other sundries. 0% fresh food. Not even a steak. I look at the women who wearing tracksuit sets. They are both obese. And I immediately judge them for both their grocery purchases and their weight.
In front of me are two bratty, demanding children who have suddenly shut up. I look over at them and they are both stuffing chocolate bars into their mouths. They must both be under ten years old. My judgement must have been evident because I briefly and inadvertently made eye-contact with their father who gave me a look as if to say, “What can you do?”. I flushed with guilt but covered it with a big fake smile of understanding.
I walked away from Woolworths wondering how either of those families didn’t already have diabetes or heart problems.
Common sense and psychiatry will both tell you that the act of outwardly abusing or belittling or even secretly judging others is a sick way of propping up your own paltry self-esteem. I get this, knowing full well that whilst my self-esteem may not be paltry, it’s certainly not anything worth writing home about. The truth is I am one of the most self-aware people I know. This isn’t an egotistical statement by any means; people who know me better than others will agree whole-heartedly. Due to the circumstances of my life to date, I probably spend more time with my head up my own ass trying to figure out the purpose of life and more importantly my purpose in life than I do actually living life (not entirely true, but a powerful statement nonetheless which gives you an idea of what I mean).
The point is I am massively self-aware. And I secretly judge people, often harshly at times. But it is absolutely, definitively, in no possible way-shape-or-form an effort to prop up my below-average self-esteem (may have overdone the hyphens in that sentence…). Goodness no; there are far more shallow effective ways for me to boost the old self-esteem like giving homeless people money and thinking they will use it to buy a blanket instead of heroin.
So if not to reassure the ego, then why? Why judge others? What benefit comes of it?
The thing is, I secretly think (or not so secretly, apparently) that everyone judges everyone. Perhaps in varying ways or varying intensities, with varying motives or purposes. But I can’t believe that anyone, anyone on this planet truly makes no negative judgement of other people. Aside from maybe, like, Gandhi. Or Mandela. Or Buddha? Note none of those people are actually on this planet…
I made a rather wistful comment to my husband the other day along the lines of, “Honey, don’t you think it would be great not to care what other people think of you? I think it would be great. I imagine it would be very freeing.”
He responded by saying that the only people who probably don’t care what other people think are hippies or people that live in trees. Who are probably also hippies. Immediate judgement.
I think that as much as people like the IDEA of making their own choices, being non-conformist, being “true to themselves” or “real”, walking their own path in life and whatever other metaphors you can come up with, the reality is that we all judge and we are all judged. How many of you have judged a mother for letting her children run wild like screaming shits? How many of you have judged a 120kg man walking into KFC? How many of you have judged a co-worker who dresses inappropriately or the asshole that just cut you off on the freeway (because a NICE person would never do that so they must have insides that are BLACK with SIN). How many of you have judged the goths/emos that hang out in Central Park with their safety pin piercings and oh, oh those fucking Hareee-Hare-Hare-Krishna bastards that are always singing and dancing their way through the Hay St Mall???
Judgement is everywhere.
That’s not to say it’s OK, absolutely not. The only reason I am writing and sharing all this is because of my head-up-ass compulsion to know WHY I do something, why I think and therefore feel and therefore behave in a certain way? It is the questions that drive us and the process of exploration that counts. I don’t have the answer, there may not be an answer. But that doesn’t stop me from asking myself the question, over and over and over and over. Maybe when I am older and wiser I will find the answer. I live in hope…
In the meantime, thanks to my well-developed self-awareness, I remain conscious of my judgements and therefore try to rein them in when I can. It’s true – I am quick to judge the overweight, unfit and unhealthy in particular… but it’s an incredibly easy judgement to make which can so easily cause an incredible amount of hurt for someone else. I have been called out many times by friends or family who have been hurt or have disagreed with some soapbox statement I have posted on Facebook and I am always apologetic and genuinely remorseful…. I make broad statements from a somewhat enviable position and whilst I do have some very strong opinions on health, judging other for not having the same opinions is not always right or fair. I would never purposely judge a friend or family member for being overweight or unhealthy. I think sometimes I struggle to understand it and mostly that comes from a position of wanting to help, wanting to make sure the people I love and am loved by are healthy and happy and around for a long, long time. But the reality is I don’t need to understand it. I am not responsible for them, only they are and only they know the intricacies of what makes them who they are, inside and out.
If you have any thoughts, supportive or otherwise, please share them.