Hello Dear Readers,
How have you been? Weekend already! This week surely did pass by in a jiffy.
Something a little heavy to ponder over the weekend. Hope you like it.
If you’re a fairly broad-minded person who strives to be more accepting and kind towards others, you might have found yourself in a battle between quick judgement and empathetic understanding, more than once. Take a moment to see the following images.
What was your first thought? Did you make a judgement and then quickly admonish yourself for it? Or did you think there was nothing unusual about them?
We take pride in being a liberal, we strive for it every day. We applaud actors/models who refuse to advertise fairness creams and body shaming products. We like, share and promote Pride month posts and talk kindly about those who suffer in silence. Yet there are moments when our instincts break away from our resolve and we find ourselves making a quick judgement – out loud or in our mind.
But why does it happen? How did quick judgement become a part of our instinct? When did ‘Don’t judge the book by its cover’ become just a bunch of words?
Why we Judge?
It helps us feel better.
The bitter truth, that is hard to swallow. If you are a person blessed with a slim, athletic body, judging someone who does not, makes you feel superior. On the other hand, if you are blessed with a normal healthy body with a few extra pounds here and there, judging someone bigger than you makes you feel better about yourself. The same thing goes for literally everything – relationships, hair, skin, wealth etc. Judging people helps you identify your relative place in the hierarchy – superior to – inferior to, better than – less than.
It makes us feel like a part of a group
Humans are social animals. We love being a part of a group. Introverts have a smaller group, extroverts have larger groups. Many a time, a group is formed based on a common opinion. One person comments on someone’s appearance or relationship, another agrees, a third one gives his/her two cents and before you know it there is an entire group formed around this ‘opinion’. I have personally seen people break uncomfortable silences, develop acquaintances and start conversations with gossip, often at another person’s expense.
It requires less energy
“Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.” ~ Carl Jung
If we stopped, placed ourselves in another person’s shoes, every time we felt the urge to judge someone, it would drain us of a lot of energy. Our brains are wired to make automatic judgements so that we can move around without spending much time and energy. It also helps us place the blame faster giving a sense of satisfaction to our binary view of the world. Although a valid reason, it is not a worthy excuse.
It has been fed into our system
We grow up listening to judgements of all kinds. We learn what to appreciate and what to mock from the people around us. It helps us feel belonged. You make a face every time you eat a vegetable in front of a child, chances are the child will never give the vegetable a chance. At least till a certain age. Beyond which the child may develop enough abilities to realise that the problem was with your taste and not the vegetable.
I have written about a similar topic in Misconceptions as a Teenager.
Will we ever be able to break this habit?
Unlearning is hard but not impossible.
Two decades ago, a dark or brown-skinned model would never make it to the front page or get a lead in a movie. Divorce was a hush-hush concept. Childless couples, single parents and remarriage were transgenerationally ridiculed. Today, we are relatively more accepting and in many cases strongly opposing such opinions. As long as we continue to fight prejudices and our innate desire to judge, there is hope.
It is said that ‘Love is natural while Hatred is taught’. Where do you think ‘our urge to judge’ stands on this spectrum? Tell me in the comments below.
That is all I have for today. If you liked reading this post, don’t forget to hit the like button before you leave.
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You can buy my books here:
- Shikhandini – Warrior Princess of the Mahabharata (ebook and paperback)
- Those Girls – A Tale of Perspectives (ebook)