J is for Judgments – #AtoZ Challenge 2018
Judgments occur in many, if not most, aspects of our lives. They can seem trivial and meaningless, but the effects can seem to last an eternity whether you are the person making the judgment, or the one about whom a judgment is being made. Before you get all defensive about the fact that you don’t feel you make judgments of others that’s great if you’ve never done it, but I would tend to believe all of us can be guilty of making a rash or snap judgment of someone else at least once in our lives.
As a relatively simple example let’s say you are at the local shopping center slowly driving through the parking lot while searching for a parking space. As you start down the next aisle in the lot something catches your attention out of the corner of your eye. As you stop to let another driver back out of their parking spot you look over to try to determine what caught your eye.
You notice a young adult getting out of a car that they just parked in a handicap spot. They appear to be walking without obvious difficulty, without any assistance, despite the handicap parking placard or license pate on the vehicle. You instantly think to yourself how wrong it is to misuse parking reserved for those who really need it. You even begin to get a little irritated at the fact that they seemed to walk into the store without a care in the world.
What you do next is what is important. See, I believe it is human nature to make some sort of judgment about others without having all the information, whether a conscious choice to do so or not. However the difference comes in with what you may choose to do next. If you get out and confront the person in a rage then those actions are not normal, nor are they accepted.
However, if you stop and think to yourself that there may be circumstances of which you are not aware, and quite frankly are none of your business unless you are a member of law enforcement, then you are on the right path. We need to give others the benefit of the doubt instead of snapping to a judgment without all the facts.
Now for the second part of the scenario, one reason this person could have parked in the specially reserved handicap parking spot is that they have a heart condition that is easily exacerbated by any exertion, of which there are many such heart conditions. Another plausible explanation is that they just had a double lung transplant and still get winded at even the light exertion of walking to the pharmacy located inside the store.
Does this sound too far-fetched to be true? Trust me when I tell you it is not. I’m personally aware of people to whom both these examples could apply. I’m guilty of making the initial judgment purely based on appearance of the situation as well, but having been the target of such judgments I also have taught myself to stop and think before going past that initial thought of a judgment.
I’ve actually had the local police department awaiting me when I returned to my vehicle because someone had called stating I was parked illegally and not entitled to use the handicapped parking space despite the placard prominently displayed from my mirror as required by law. The person who called the police made a snap judgment not only without having all the facts, but without ever having seen me. They made the judgment purely based on the vehicle I was driving, which looked very similar to an emergency vehicle due to my position with the fire department at the time.
However, as the police found out when I emerged from the store, I was on crutches and totally unable to bear weight on one leg due to a recent injury, let alone a myriad of other reasons that entitled me to legally avail myself of the privilege of such parking. Needless to say the police did not have an issue with me, but were none to happy that someone had called in such an obviously frivolous complaint.
Mind you this is just one way in which we as human beings judge each other, and probably one of the least hurtful ways in which we could do so. People make judgments of others based on any number of factors that could include race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or even personal convictions.
As a society we need to take just a moment and at least try to consider what other points of view or factors could come into play in any given situation before me permit ourselves to make snap judgments. Sure, it’s possible that a snap judgment may even be an accurate one, but the accuracy of the judgment doesn’t make it right that we make the judgment in the first place.
Have you ever found yourself on either end of a judgment? Tell us your experiences or thoughts on the matter.