Who do you think the person standing next to you in the grocery store line is? Who do you think the person that just raced past you in the street is? Who do you think you are? Who do you think I am?
Fragments of time or “snapshots” of a moment are brief and do not give the entire picture of who a person is as a whole. If you saw me yesterday standing in line rolling my eyes at the person in front of me, or two days ago stopped by the side of the road to “rescue” a dog, or last night laughing at my husband so hard I had tears rolling down my cheeks, or yesterday arguing with my 11 year old about which binder was suitable to buy for 5th grade, these are just moments. These are not a description of who we really are. Yet, we judge each other because of them.
We can’t take in the entire picture of every single person we don’t know and craft a story about what we believe them to be about.
Judgement isn’t always about viewing someone in a negative way. It can also be creating a fantasy around their lives based on snap shots of brief moments we see. Or, more accurately, what we think we see.
How many times do we look at social media with an envy of a life that seems so perfect? The perfect family, smiling faces, perfect relationships and endless fun. Is that your constant reality? It’s definitely not mine.
Below is a photo of my son and me, being silly, not a care in the world, making memories and just being in the moment. What you can not see is how long it took to get dressed, put on our snow gear and how long it took to finally get out the door.
Before this photo was taken, we were laughing so hard at my son and his funny personality. But, after the photo, when it was time to come inside and peel off all those layers, that certainly did not consist of laughing, smiles nor was it fun. However, two very different moments not captured, so how can you think you know ALL circumstances of anyone’s life based on one picture posted on social media?
My point is this: I have purposefully designed a life that has meaning and purpose. I try to make the best of each day and create memories for my children that they will cherish into their adult years.
However, that doesn’t mean I get out of bed every day with a smile and eager to step into my “perfect” day.
I may wake feeling happy. I may wake feeling tired, anxious or depressed. Either way, I’m not defined by it.
I’m not ‘good’ and I’m not ‘bad’. I’m just a human. I feel a variety of emotions. Please don’t base your opinion on my life based on any photo I may post on any of my social media sites!
It’s not realistic to ask ourselves never to judge anyone again. To never create a story around how fabulous/awful/amazing someone is from the thirty second window from which we viewed them. But perhaps we need to keep in mind that it is just a snapshot. It may even be a series of snapshots. Perhaps a whole album. But it’s unlikely to be the whole story.
I mess up, I make mistakes and I don’t always get it right, but I no longer dwell on it. I look for the lesson and then I move on. I’m not interested in repeatedly punishing myself. How does that serve me? How does self punishment serve any of us? If we focus on acceptance and tolerance, then we can make a difference. If we focus on criticizing others, then we stay stuck and we all suffer.
Just accept that you’re going to screw up sometimes and so is everybody else. Nobody is worse than or better than you. Different, maybe, but that’s OK. Different is good!
Change the world by acceptance, guidance, love, understanding, compassion and accountability.
Each step that is taken to create a better world is taken by YOU!