I want to start this blog with a little activity / homework / experiment, whatever you want to call it, for you. When you’re out on the street, somewhere, I want you to look at a person and I want you to judge them by how they look. Think of the nastiest, bitchiest and rudest comments you possibly can, all because of how that person looks. Like “Oh. Look at her face. So snooty. I bet she’s an effing.. something.” Any name calling, any amount of judgement you can possibly pass about that person.
Now I want you to walk up to them and I want you to shove all that judgement away and put on a sweet voice and as genuine a smile as you can and tell them, “Hey. I’m sorry if I’m intruding. I was just standing there and I constantly kept feeling like you’re going through something rough. You don’t have to tell me what it is. I don’t have to know. I just felt the need to tell you that whatever it is, it’s going to be ok. I promise, you’ll figure it out. Just remember to smile.” Right before you walk away, I want you to take one look at that person’s face.
I assure you that almost always, the person won’t say, “No. I’m fantastic.” They might not open up to you, but their faces will have a look of surprise and gratefulness. Because they needed to hear that. Because they are going through something rough. They just don’t wear it on their faces all the time and you just gave them hope when they needed it the most.
You can go on and try this with as many people as you want because every one of us has a story to tell. A sad, depressing story. A life altering story. We might not look like we do, we might not act like we do, but you know it’s there. In your life, in mine and similarly in others’.
Have you heard of Humans of New York? It is a page run by a man named Brandon. He walks around the streets of New York taking pictures of people and learning a little about them. It’s by far one of my favorite social media pages. In his page, recently, there was a picture of a man with a cut on his hand. I, of course, judged him for cutting himself like that. What cowardly behavior. If you or someone you know is into hurting themselves, please stop. Yourself and them. Nothing comes out of hurting yourself. It is stupid, it is painful and in my very very honest opinion, selfish because you didn’t stop to think how this affects the people who love you. You only care about yourself when you’re inflicting pain on yourself and that is not something to pity. That is something to despise.
I want you to think about all the times you’ve done this. All the times you’ve judged a person by the way they look, by what you see on them rather than in them. I want you to take a moment and think if those judgements might actually be true. If that person is truly what you thought they were. Do you actually believe your judgements were right?
“There’s a story behind every person. There’s a reason why they’re the way they are. They aren’t just like that because they want to. Something in the past created them and sometimes it’s impossible to fix them. But that’s not your problem. And it’s definitely not your place to judge.”
One of the main things I like about Humans of New York are the quotes next to the pictures that show you a part of the person you might not normally see or get to know. The person inside the looks and the clothes and the cuts. After I was done judging the man, I read what he said:
“I had forty acres and a new home out in California. I was working as a stone mason. I could bring in $6000 cash some weeks. Then I was walking home one night and someone tried to kill me. I got brain damage. I lost my sense of smell, my sense of taste, most of my hearing, and now I can barely stand without getting dizzy. I must have fallen and cracked my head open thirty times since then. Everything I knew has been washed out into the water. I’ve tried to commit suicide several times.”
That changes everything, doesn’t it? I cannot begin to explain how many times since then I’ve felt sorry. How many times I’ve wished I could walk up to that man and apologize for judging him without knowing him. Ever since, I’ve tried my best to stop myself from doing that. Every time I find myself judging someone for the way they look, I stop myself and instead I smile at them. For all you know, that one time they smile back at you, may be the only smile they give out all day long. Why shouldn’t you be the one that does that for them?!
Because.. think about it. Someone out there is judging you too. They’re looking at you and passing rude comments in their head or to the person next to them. Do you want that? Do you want to hear the horrible things they think about you without knowing you at all? Do you think it’s right that they do that? And if it’s wrong when they do it, how is it right when you do it?
Now, I’m not expecting you to change everything today. We’re humans. We’re made this way and it’s difficult to change. But you have to start somewhere.
So, I’ll take the first step. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all the crticism, I’m sorry for all the hatred and most importantly,
I am incredibly sorry for passing judgements instead of extending love. You deserve better than that.
With all my love,