We each have our own perspective of the world, and we tend to think that ours is the correct one! When other people’s viewpoint or comprehension of events doesn’t match our own we tend to jump to the conclusion that their version is wrong. Yet each one of us is unique, and our take on the world is also unique.
It’s so easy to condemn people when we don’t fully appreciate their story. I must have done this myself many times, and that is why I am trying to apply an attitude of compassion and discovery.
When we are in judgment mode, we think that we are right and we believe ours is the only way to do things, and therefore, others must be wrong, surely! It takes a lot of life experience, maturity and humility to step back, and to wait and see what they have to say or what they might do.
Sometimes it’s so easy to act like a bull in a china shop, especially if we know what we want and are determined to get it. And then we can become so task focused that we forget the people. So although the task gets accomplished, the people get left behind!
Being in ‘discovery mode’ not only allows us to to suspend judgement and understand the situation or the other person better, but it also helps us to discover more about the other person, and even about ourselves. When we can see another person’s point of view, our own vision can change.
Trying to walk a little in someone else’s shoes won’t hurt. Try walking in the shoes of the poor. Actually it’s only an intellectual exercise until we become poor ourselves in some way; whereby we can’t go where we want to, or do what we want when we want to. But we can imagine, and thereby apply tolerance and compassion.
Or, try walking in the shoes of those uneducated. We feel, they should know as much as we do. Yet how can they, when they have not had exposure to the life experiences we have, or to the freedom of speech and expression that we might have grown up with. It’s like asking them to speak Japanese when they have never even heard it.
Very often we think that others will handle a problem as we might handle it. So for example, if you were not invited to a party, and it didn’t really matter to you, you might think it doesn’t matter to another person, but that is not necessarily the case. Everyone responds differently to life, and to a sensitive person this may seem to be a devastating blow. We mustn’t forget that we can all be in a sensitive mood from time to time.
When we stop to listen to someone’s story, when we try to get into their head a little, we can begin to understand what they might be going through. Everyone has their reasons. Even rapists and murderers are not born that way. Life events create a feeling of desire, hatred and anger within them that gives birth to actions. We automatically judge, condemn and spend much money on locking them up, when perhaps we should be listening to their story and helping them heal, but… that is a topic for another article!
This week, instead of trying to judge someone for who they are, or what they say, or how they behave, try ‘discovery mode’ and either make yourself understand that there must be a story behind the story, or sit down with them and find out.
‘Discovery mode’ keeps us alive and intrigued. It keeps the flame of learning and growing burning. It wins us friends and cooperation, as they find us flexible and easy to work with. In discovery mode we may be humbled to find that we are not always right and ours is not always the easiest method.
It’s Time… to suspend judgement, to listen and understand. You may be surprised at what you discover.
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK