Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I did something awful today. I judged someone for no reason. Now, I know what you are all thinking right about now: "We all judge people Gia, it's a natural part of being human". Well I make a conscious effort not to do that to anyone. I have practised this for the better part of my life. Don't get me wrong. I've been guilty of it in the past. I don't do it often, but I've had my moments. Today, I had one of those moments. I actually felt truly guilty about it the better part of the day, until I approached this individual later on and apologized. I love watching anothers expression when they have absolutely no idea what the hell you're talking about. It's truly comical.
I really began focusing on how I treated people after being involved in a behavioural workshop in 2006.
I heard a story I have never forgotten and find that I make reference to it a lot. It was an incident which happened to Mr. Stephen R. Covey, on his way home from work:
Mr. Covey was on a subway train, one late afternoon, making his way home. He was enjoying the daily paper (and some peace and quiet) after what was a crazy day at the office. When all of the sudden, the train pulls into the station and in come four noisy kids-along with their father.
At first, Mr. Covey tried his best to ignore them, but after 15 minutes of continual loudness he just couldn't take it anymore. He tried making eye contact with the parent of these children (where his face would do all the talking needed) but the father seemed to be oblivious to what was going on around him. He was starring at his children, but the blank look on his face clearly stated that he was in a world of his own.
Suddenly, Mr. Covey got up from his seat and went over to the father. "Excuse me", he said. " Can you please grab a hold of your children and tell them to settle down? Some of us are trying to enjoy the ride home in some kind of peacefulness" It took the father a bit of time to register what was happening, but then looked at Mr. Convey and said: " Yeah, they are carrying on aren't they? I know I should tell them to stop, but we just left the hospital and the boys lost their Mother only moments ago. They took it pretty hard and I think that this is just their way of digesting what's just happened to them. So I don't have the heart to keep them quiet, not now"
It was Mr. Covey's turn to wear the blank face. As he turned around in silence and made his way back to his seat, he felt an incredible amount of guilt wash over him. He chose to pass judgment on someone because of what he saw in front of him. Not realizing that there was an underlying reason which caused the effect.
Simple isn't it? Yet we seldom apply it in ever day life. It is much easier to ridicule and pass judgement on someone than it is to appreciate/understand that there could be much more to the scene than what we see.
I carry that story with me every day. It helps me to be compassionate and sensitive toward others. There will be times when I will slip and fall from grace, but when I do I know that Covey's lesson will lift me back up to a place where I belong.
“Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us. We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are or the way they should be. And our attitudes and behaviors grow out of these assumptions"
... Stephen R. Covey