About a month ago, I thought I would try to go a whole day without judging anyone else I encountered. Have any of you ever tried it? It's incredibly hard.
There was the woman walking down the street blowing cigarette smoke in her kid's face; the guy at the beach wearing his bright yellow banana hammock; and the woman at the grocery store with 30 items in the 15-items-or-less line.
My challenge of going a whole day without judging actually turned into an exercise that said less about the people around me and more about myself; it caused me to start examining myself.
I wonder if sometimes we fear the way others respond to us because the way they treat us is a mirror of the way we ourselves behave. Maybe that's why we notice certain attributes in others, and maybe that's why those attributes can get under our skin. Perhaps it's because deep down we identify with these behaviors that rub us the wrong way.
During my day of no judgment, I tried hard to focus my thoughts inward, so as not to be tempted to judge. And while I was taking a good hard look at myself, I realized that my fear of being judged came from my own tendency to judge.
"Look at her shoes; I can't believe she wore that dress; check out that guy's hair." Maybe it's just human nature to do this, but once I became conscious of the habit, I realized how often I do it, which brought up the million-dollar question: "Who am I to judge?" No one, that's who!
After a day of working hard not to judge anyone, I was exhausted. I was grateful to get home where I didn't have to interact with anyone. But the day of examining myself had left me reeling.
If you've never examined yourself, go ahead and do it! If you're afraid to do it (because you're afraid of what you'll find out) that's even more of a reason to go ahead with the exercise. Examining yourself can help you build a healthy self-awareness.
So go ahead -- check yourself out! You never know what you might find.