Do You Secretly Judge Others? How to Enjoy Life After 60 with an Attitude of Gratitude
When we refuse to judge others, we express love and compassion. Love does not mean we become passive and allow others to abuse us. It is quite the contrary.
Compassion is not weak but strong. It allows us to see where the suffering in the world arises. People can irritate us every day with their silly antics. We may think a compassionate heart means we are to ignore the irritations and allow others to walk all over us.
Some people do and say mean things, while others are coerced into remaining tolerant. One’s tolerance level can be commendable, but there lies the secret. Enduring a constant onslaught of trivial complaints leads one to resent the issues people complain about. This may happen when we judge in secrecy.
Convert Confrontations to Compromise
The revelation of private judgements took me by surprise one day. Outwardly, we keep most of our opinions to ourselves. We may join a discussion but attempt to remain neutral for the sake of keeping peace and refrain from hurting someone’s feelings.
There are times when our disagreements turn into a confrontation due to strong viewpoints. This allows one to stand firm in their convictions. However, it makes it difficult to bend. Blessed are those who can bend.
Beware When No One Listens
Some time ago, I began noticing that people behaved in an odd but similar fashion towards others. Whenever certain individual spoke, someone would quickly change the subject, wouldn’t look at the speaker or make eye contact, and would cut them off in mid-sentence.
The subject may have been interesting, but people stopped listening before the person was finished, and no one asked a question. I quickly realized we all irritate others in all kinds of ways, but are not privy to how or when.
The more I investigate the theory, the more confirmation I have that my sentiments are accurate. We always think we are correct, and even if that is the case, no one wants to constantly be the student.
When one believes they are fully courteous to others, respectful of their opinions and tolerant of their quirks, it makes this knowledge fraudulent. We can agree we all have imperfections, but we never consider how much those imperfections irritate others.
After getting over the shock, I considered the reasons and meaning of my observations. I concluded it was likely true that we all annoy others at times – with our behavior, our theories or even our desire to always be correct. After all, everyone wants the light to shine on them, occasionally.
Tolerance Is a Virtue
Our culture teaches us to tolerate others despite their differences. Yet, we are often intolerant of others in conversation.
The person who jumps in to speak before another is done is being impolite. The authoritative person may have statistics on their side to confirm the winning argument. No one questions these statistics, but they may not have all the facts.
There are people who wear you down with talk until you simply give up. The loud people always get their ideas across, and the impatient people are scary.
There are also those with bothersome habits – like tapping the table, or running a finger over the rim of a cup – that make one want to scream, “Stop!” You don’t say it, but you look away and take a deep breath.
Some people whine and complain about everything and anything. You may reach the point of exhaustion and want to go back home and go to bed. They may criticize you for speaking too slowly or not speaking fast enough to suit them.
Others dislike your vulnerability, openness or gentleness. You may wonder if they distrust you for your virtues. Tolerance is required from all sides and types of people.
When Conversing, Let Go of Control
Sometimes, people arrive with a negative attitude and you recognize it before they even open their mouth. It’s not difficult to discern, since they usually bear it in their expression. Others have an ache or pain that bothers them, but sometimes you just want to yell, “It is my turn to complain so be quiet.”
When you receive a compliment, respond with a thank you even if the outfit isn’t new. We all have the hardest life, the most difficult circumstances to endure and the saddest story to tell at various points in our lives. Some people find it difficult to be content or pleased. Lots of love and support is needed.
Strength Is Power
Most of us believe strength defines power and endurance. We don’t think of quiet suffering as endurance, and we almost dislike people for not complaining.
We tolerate other races and people from different economic groups, yet we frown upon our own siblings who appear to be proud of their accomplishments. The question is, why should people care about our possessions and accomplishments?
There are so many things we find exasperating; the list is endless. Most of these bothersome occurrences are never brought to light, and we must all be thankful for that.
You need to have strength to speak up for the underdog and strength also to listen to another side of the argument. Strength helps us compromise and compromise gives us power.
Vulnerability Reflects Power
Admitting vulnerability and accepting our own weaknesses reflects our strength. Only a strong person has the power to expose their flaws without feeling threatened.
We are not super human and we all experience similar loves, hates and annoyances. Perhaps our pretenses ought to be removed and our defenses lowered.
None of us enjoy being made fun of or becoming the butt of the joke, and so we hang on to our pride to the point of exhaustion. It would be a relief to really become tolerant rather than live in the secretive resentment where we hide.
Honesty Controls Gossip
Leading a more open life stops some of the gossiping which frequently occurs behind our backs. By stopping our comparisons with others, we release a gentler life cycle free of competitions and jealousy.
Age, sex, economic status and other tools of assessment are not as important as the fact that pain and ache resonate with all of us.
When we say we are all in the same boat, nothing could be more honest. Most of us feign good fortune as well as the extent of suffering. Some exaggerate while others pretend they are invincible. In the end, the conclusion is clear: we are all defenseless when it comes to the sorrows of life.
Don’t Endure Life; Live It!
Undoubtedly, the ways we choose to endure life and those irritating quirks we pick up along the way, drive people undercover. Lifting the blanket of impatience, we discover an actual person who has feelings, loves, desires, sufferings, pains and opinions.
They are like us, and, usually, they can see our faults as well as their own. Human nature should cause us to pause and reflect on that annoying mother-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, parent, friend and even enemy.
It may happen, in some future season of our life, that we find ourselves making the same mistakes we find so annoying in others now. Reflection helps us find more reasons behind these situations.
We realize we are more alike than we are different when we stop seeing our failures as barriers that make us less acceptable, when we stop seeing a weakness as defeat – or helplessness as childish, defenselessness as failure, and susceptibility as deferment of our own abilities.
To be human is to be weak, helpless and defenseless, and at times, a failure. To be human is also to be strong and in control, powerful and the victor.
What we can’t allow ourselves to forget is that being human permits love, empathy, understanding and tolerance to become a part of a humane lifestyle. That is the essence of true tolerance.
How comfortable are you embracing your own flaws and weaknesses? Are you tolerant of other people or do you find yourself being critical and judgmental at times? Please share your thoughts below!
Pamela Reynolds is a Connecticut-certified teacher in elementary and Special Education. She taught for over 20 years in public and private schools and is now retired. The author of The Princess and the Queen, Pamela also writes about relationships on her website. She is married and has four children, three daughters-in-law, one son-in-law and nine grandchildren.