We make judgements every day. What to wear, who to talk to, what to eat. Not every judgement is of life changing importance. However, the judgements we choose to make about ourselves and others that are hurtful and negative; those can be life altering and damaging.
We see the woman in her 80’s walking around the mall wearing gold stretch pants and a tube top and we cringe, or comment to a friend or family member. Why? If dressing that way makes her feel beautiful, who are we to judge her choices? When we find more joy in tearing someone down rather than helping to building them up, we have to wonder about our humanity.
Nowhere is this more prevalent than with people we care most about. We are willing to make the cutting remarks, the snide comments, and the little digs at someone’s choices. We know, in the end, it may hurt them but they will forgive us. What we don’t understand is how painful those cuts can be. And with each sleight the damage is done and difficult to repair.
We are all guilty of this. We comment, jokingly, about a friend’s graying temples, their receding hairline, their advancing age. We make our girlfriends feel less attractive when we comment on their outfit choice, their choice in men, or even their lack of a partner. These may seem small and insignificant issues, but each time we wound someone, even with a minor glancing blow, we chip away at our own humanity. The damage we do to ourselves is just as severe as what we do to our loved ones.
Am I writing this saying I’m perfect and never joke with my friends and tear them down? Absolutely not. I would be a complete and utter hypocrite if I pretended as such. I do this all the time. It has come to the forefront of my own mind recently. We are cruelest to the ones we love the most. Will that change how our group interacts with one another, probably not. But, will this seep into my consciousness each time a comment is made that is derogatory, yes.
Though we may not stop right away, with each recognition of the underlying issue our minds become more aware and we make adjustments. Choosing once not to make the biting comment that’s on the tip of your tongue is the step in the right direction. Then the next time you refrain it becomes easier.
The more often we can lead with love in our lives the more we regain the pieces of our humanity we’ve chipped away. Begin by making the choice to refrain from the negativity. Take that first step.