The Guy Just Stood There, Not Helping & I Was in a Hurry. Judging Others

 In Better Life, Negative emotions

The other day I was in the checkout line at the store, and I was in a rush.  I had to hurry to get to school to pick up my daughter because she would be worried and irritated if I was late. Yet here, in front of me was an elderly couple, moving extremely slow.

The man was standing, just holding on to the cart, while the woman s – l – o – w – l – y emptied the cart, and then s – l – o – w – l – y wrote out her check and then s – l – o – w – l – y bagged her items. I impatiently watched and wondered with frustration why the guy just stood there and didn’t help. What was wrong with him? They didn’t look that old.

I have a long way to go, but I have gotten better at catching myself judging others. It’s a natural, instant reaction to make a judgment about other people based on how they’re dressed, how they look, and how they behave. It’s part of our survival instinct to help us quickly recognize people who are not from our “tribe” and who may be a threat. Because it’s instinctive and can happen so fast, we might not even notice it.

But I noticed my judgment kicking in, and I thought how I didn’t know anything about their situation or what might be going on with the man.

As they FINALLY finished and started walking away so I could pay for my items, I had a strange sensation in my stomach. With much chagrin, I realized why the man had just been standing there. He wasn’t being mean or irresponsible – he was blind.  It was such a strong reminder that I need to catch myself judging. I need to challenge my assumptions. I need to realize I will never know the entire story.

Does this sound familiar? Just think of how a little more self-awareness could help us all be more tolerant, patient, and open-minded – all things the world could really use a little more of right now.

Be on the lookout this week. Try to notice moments when you make assumptions about other people based on how they look or what they do.

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