I am a firm believer that most people cannot pass their own test. Everyone judges. I know this and so do you. We judge. This is simple. And you have to judge, at least to some degree. Who should I trust? Where should I go? What should I do? These are all judgement calls.
The truth is everyone has a life going on. Everyone has their reasons and their rationalizations. We all have our own opinions and biases, stigmas, as well as social and subconscious programs. We have been trained to think and believe a certain way.
Our judgements can be based on looks or the way people dress or speak. This can stem from our culture or the lessons we’ve learned about other cultures, outside of our own, which lead us to prejudge or jump to conclusions.
Sitting in a small room, I was advised to let go of my biases because “We are stigma free here.” And I thought to myself about this. I wondered if this was true. I wondered if it was even possible to be stigma free or judgement free. Is it?
As I see it, there are more than two people in a conversation. And, in the face of heated talks on sensitive issues (especially in a police station with someone that was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, which is where I was at the time) there are different attitudes and different reasons as to why they were there. There are different backgrounds and different types of exposures. We all come from different places. We all have different influences and we all have different intentions and interpretations.
In this case, I learned there are more than two people in a one-on-one interview. There was me and my ideas; my thoughts, opinions, biases and subconscious programs, and then there’s the client with their ideas, worries, concerns, beliefs, opinions and so on.
I think about conversations like this and compare them to a mirror which faces another mirror. I compare this to how the two mirrors can reflect against one another, both infinitely and in a curve.
I think about the quid pro quo and how we tend to run back and forth in conversations as if it were a chess match.
I think about the preparation that comes when we think about what to say next, which does not mean we are listening per se, but more accurately, this means we are listening to figure out how we respond. This way, we come out on top (at least in our mind) and we do not face the notion of being in a state of check, or worse I suppose is the case of checkmate.
I was told not to judge the people I sat with. And then I offered a simple thought, which was met with a raised eyebrow because, perhaps, my thoughts were conflicting with the initiative. Either way, there is stigma. Whether it is me or them, there are so many sides and facets to a conversation. I asked about the clients we saw and their stigma because this is real. Painfully real, in fact, and should the interview go wrong; rest assured, the client will guard themselves as if I was the enemy.
The idea of outside judgement is real. This does not stop. However, this does not mean our differences have to create a war. The idea is to find a level of commonality regardless to our differences. And if there is none, then fine but arguing or trying to prove myself is pointless.
There are people that I do not speak about politics with. There are people that I do not share thoughts with when it comes to religion. There are those that I work with that I choose to limit my conversations with and there are those in my life that I look to surround myself with. This is because I know that my personality will not always match someone else’s. I don’t have to fit in anymore.
I cannot give into or occupy my thinking with the concerns or dilemmas of someone else’s ideas. But yet, I do. I openly admit this. I am afraid of outside judgement. I see no reason in being dishonest about this, in fact, I find strength in this kind of honesty. I want to be liked and wanted. I want to be regarded and invited the same as the rest of us do.
Put me in a crowd and yes, I have insecurities. I wonder if I look okay. I wonder if my voice is okay and if my accent is good or bad.
“Do I sound alright?”
“Do I look alright?”
“Am I making a fool of myself”
I admit to this. In fact, I use this as motivation whenever I speak in public forums. I use this because insecurity and the worries of mine are energy. So, rather than allow this energy to be catabolic and draining; I choose to use this as fuel and have my energy serve me in an anabolic sense.
Anabolic energy is constructive and expanding. This is growth oriented and fueling. Anabolic energy is helpful in moving forward. Anabolic energy releases endorphins, leading us towards feeling better.
Catabolic energy is the opposite. This is draining and conflicting. Catabolic energy distracts vision and disrupts our focus. And as for judgement, this is catabolic energy. The concern for others and their judgements is narrowing and restrictive.
I began this by saying most people cannot pass their own tests, which is why judgement is really a farce. The fact remains that since no one among us is able to claim perfection then no one among us is a fit judge. People point and accuse. Meanwhile, the question remains if people would pass if they were judged by their own measure.
I know there is stigma. I face this all the time. I know there is judgement too. But no one’s judgment can ever stop me from being me or doing the next best thing. No one’s judgement can prevent me from stepping forward unless I allow it to.
And I’m not going to allow this.