Updated: Feb 19, 2022
As humans, we love stories about the human experience. The Ancient Greeks loved to attend the theatre and watch tragedies unfold on the stage. Ancient African cultures employed professional storytellers to pass on their history to future generations. Today, we read books and watch Netflix shows where stories are told.
We also engage in stories in our personal lives. We tell stories about ourselves, we tell stories about others. Today, I'm thinking specifically about the stories we tell about others. The way we judge people and situations.
I will admit that I have very large feelings around this topic. I began writing this as more of just venting about my feelings, not meant to be posted. I didn't think it would fit with the vibe of my other blogs, because it carried anger along with it. Then I remembered that my life's purpose is teaching. And how can we expect people to understand if we don't share and teach?
So here I go. Anger and all.
It wasn't until I experienced judgement in a large way that I began to understand the impact it has on a human being. You see, when we judge others, we are telling them - "you're different from the rest of us." And nothing hurts a human more than that. At the very root of our being, we want to belong.
In reality, we only know a small part of a person's life. Every. single. moment. of a person's life factors into their behavior on a second-to-second basis.
We act like we know what we would do if we were placed in the exact situation. And we hear something and share it as fact all the while not realizing how deeply these words are affecting someone else. The information usually means nothing to us as we pass it on, but the person we're talking about is being hurt each step of the way. We pretend we know what they're going through and pretend that we're experts on the matter.
Rant over. Activating positive outlook:
I know we can learn to be more loving when it comes to the stories we hear.
As yoga teaches us, we are all ONE. When we hear a story, we can reframe our experience to not think of others as different from ourselves.
Can we ask ourselves - where do I recognize myself in this story? What can I learn about being a human from this experience? How is this person doing? How would I feel if I was this person? We can also make some statements to ourselves, such as - "in this story, there are factors that I don't know about" and "this information may or may not be true, but in the end it's not my life."
When we activate our empathy, we wield a powerful tool for change and beauty.
I used "we" throughout this entire blog, because even though I feel anger when others judge - I know I am not free from it myself. It's human. We have to allow ourselves to be human. I also think we have to hold ourselves responsible for learning to be a better person.
In yoga, this self-study is called Svadhyaya. When observing Svadhyaya, we push ourselves to learn more about who we are, and why we believe what we believe. We analyze our behavior, and ask if it fits with our deepest truths. Thank you for spending some self-study time with me. Let's go show up for the humans in our lives with empathy and compassion.