Thursday, January 22, 2009

Why do we judge?

It’s human nature to judge others and by doing so, feel good about the self-fulfilling prophecy of “I know best.” Sometimes we human beings become critical of others to justify our own existence and defend our personal choices; other times, it’s because of the polar opposite mindsets and attitudes. I have to give us mere mortals the benefit of the doubt. Often times, given the paucity of time in most (you’ll be surprised to know how many people have nothing much to do with their life) of our lives, we judge people who (intentionally or unintentionally) coerce a validation for our every living moment. For example, my husband and I know this guy who constantly justifies his inhuman, unfathomable frugal (read as “contemptible”) living (Not because he can’t afford the simple things in life; he’s too cheap to spend his own money) and 1800s attitude by eliminating the filter between his brain and mouth. When he found out that my husband and I got accepted at New York’s Ivy-League, Columbia University, his first response was, I have enough money in my bank account to pay for a part-time MBA at NYU, but I don’t think I need school.” Okay. Good for you, but why the venomous, verbal discharge? OF COURSE we aren’t friends because meeting him is emotionally draining. His constant urge to defend his way of life, by reviewing ours, is lame and pathetic. Because I sense judgment from him, I get livid and reciprocate the same emotions, mostly mentally. Sometimes you might think you aren’t looking down upon people but internalizing every thought and not verbalizing it doesn’t make you any less of a culprit.

Granted most of us become friends with people who fall under our own realm of belief system, at least on a macro level, but despite the commonality, the judging and questioning might start with the discrepancy in the thought process on a micro level even within your circle of friends and acquaintances. Be honest to yourself. Haven’t you felt baffled, at least once, by some of the choices few of your friends or acquaintances made? It could be for trivial items (brand of home theatre system or grocery purchased) or life-changing decisions (career/marriage choices etc.).

Believing in your own path is one thing but condemning someone else’s choices just because you don’t get them, is kinda immature. For example, the constant battle between working women and homemakers is heart wrenching and appalling. Each party considers itself superior than the others. I have personally heard insipid words like ”An ambitious woman is detrimental for her family life,” OR “What does he know? She stays at home!” It gets worse when children come into play. By process of selection and elimination, most working women with kids make friends with women who are driven and do something with their lives besides cook and clean and mentally incapacitate themselves with obsessive bitching/cribbing--It doesn’t have to be a full-day commitment; it could be a mom actively involved in her kids’ school or socially involved in causes or pursuing a passion. Something where the brain doesn’t turn into a vestigial organ. Similarly, most stay-at-home moms like to be friends with other homemakers with children because their schedules, perspectives, and attitudes match. They feel discomforted in inflicting day care hell on their little ones or letting a stranger bring up their child. Basically, both groups prefer being surrounded by people who understand their choices and agree with it. That seems understandable, but it doesn’t stop there now, does it? Next step is the judgment factor where both parties, with opposing views, make deliberate attempts to prove their point.

As adults, we like to believe that we don’t need public approval for our actions, but I think humans can never fully give up the “charm and harm” of public opinion. I believe this tendency gets exacerbated with age and time as you become solely responsible for your choices and decisions. You can’t blame your idiosyncrasies on your parents anymore. How do you respond to a situation of the sort---you attack everything unfamiliar and then some.

More until next time.
Xoxo

Copyright © 01.22.2009


“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It's one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it's another to think that yours is the only path.” Paulo Coelho

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

couldn't agree with you more....

Rujuta

Anonymous said...

good stuff.

S said...

Very well written...can't help but say, "Birds of a feather flock together"!

From Venus said...

I can't agree more how emotionally draining it is to deal with such judgemental folks!

Vizzy said...

Good one

J said...

Beautifully written

j said...

BTW love your latest blogpost. So poignant and to the point. I would love to put my own personal thoughts on a so called fren who seems so entangled in her own inferiorities that its hilarious, a constant intertainment.