I was reminded recently just how bad it feels to be unfairly judged. Let’s just say I did something. It wasn’t a bad thing but it was a choice to do something different than what one of my friends would have done. My choice in no way affected her. And she didn’t have all the pertinent information as to why I decided to do what I did.

          This difference among friends might have been okay except, instead of reaching out to me to share her point of view, she just withdrew and stayed away… for a couple of years!  She pulled away even when I tried to communicate with her, asking if something was wrong and why she hadn’t responded to my efforts to contact her.

What’s the Take-away?

          All that doesn’t matter. What really matters to me is that I’m thankful this happened. I’m thankful I got a firsthand lesson in exactly how awful it feels to be judged for my actions. It is a huge reminder not to judge what others may say or do, but to remember that there’s much more going on than I will ever know about any decision made by others. When I don’t ‘get’ it all, it’s probably better just to stand by and continue to be the good friend that I am … silently.

          I feel wholeheartedly that judging can be a good thing. We need to judge situations and people to make sure they are not harmful and injurious to our hearts, bodies or souls. Judging, or rather misjudging the actions, attitudes, and beliefs of others, however, is a villain, a robber of the human-ness of people. Unjustified harsh judgments that we might make can steal our grace by the diminishment of unconditional love that we have for others.

          Because we have to incorporate judgments into our everyday life, it’s easy to misjudge. Kind of like the difficulties of dieting because we have to eat some food. (Why do I equate everything with food???) Anyway, one of the traps of judging is that it usually stops there with no further information exchange. If we arrive at a negative judgment we don’t usually pursue the situation or person further to find out if we were correct in our assumptions (which we probably shouldn’t have made in the first place).

What I Learned

          So, for myself, before making a judgment, I will:

– Listen to what is said with an open mind
– Ask a ton of probing questions
– See if my opinion and attitudes get in the way
          of seeing the clear picture 
Ask myself if it matters…does their behavior
          or decision affect me at all and, finally,

      – Convey my final decision to pull away or be upset in a clear
                and timely manner.

          I miss my friend and I forgive her. I wish we hadn’t wasted these years on a judgment that went off the rails.

Contact Antonia at Antonia@TheJoyofAgingGratefully.com or
  Antonia’s Senior Moments on FB