“Judging a person does not define who they are, it defines who you are.”
A simple quote, right? It seems to get thrown around often. While I am a firm believer that unfairly judging someone based from assumptions or first glance is shallow, I know I am guilty of having done so throughout my lifetime. Hell, we all have. As an adult, I can admit my faults and my flaws. I’ve never claimed to be any better than just being a human. I don’t have superficial beliefs. I don’t follow crowds of people. I don’t base my decisions off of others. However, as an adult, I have been blessed to learn from my own experiences in life, and to apply them accordingly to people and situations.
Some choices are difficult to make. On the other hand, some are pretty simple and easy to do. I have found that my own boundaries have proven beneficial to my own growth. Boundaries are important for us to have and are established for reasons. Many of us have had our lives disrupted in one way or another, and most of us have suffered this disadvantage a multitude of times in a multitude of ways. We’re all human.
Quality Over Quantity
There comes a time for each of us when life becomes more about the qualities in others that we find complementary to ourselves – rather than the quantity of those we keep around. When we decide that an association or even a friendship is no longer positive, we let it go. We judge those people who have proven time and again that their intentions do not match ours. We judge people who appear to be someone they aren’t, and for the people who refuse to better themselves. While some may not be understanding, it’s okay to make a decision to close doors. When doors are closed, it isn’t because of some unfounded claim, or because people hold opinions. It is from our experiences in learning that when someone shows us that they aren’t going to change, we should believe them.
Sometimes we have help in making judgments such as these. Of course, rumors circulate, even while many are pushing the current to keep them going. But there’s a fine line between what is subjective and what is concrete. Those of us that adhere to the integrity of our own journey do not take gossip to heart once it begins. As with just about every other aspect in life, our experiences help us to do this.
Negative vs. Positive
Judgment is not always negative. We are smart enough to use our own judgment as a guide. “As we interact with other people, we constantly interpret, evaluate, and form opinions regarding their qualities, words, and actions” (fibrodaze.com). Of course, there will be people who say that we have no idea what we are talking about when we disagree with a person’s motives, and that’s okay. We all judge in order to make decisions. It is important that we weed out our own circles to ensure that those around us share in our own purpose.
Deciding to oust a face from our own crowd of known keepsakes is an adult decision. Our decisions hold value and accommodate our own belief systems. It is important to use our own judgment in doing so – hence, following the crowd doesn’t always give legitimacy to a person’s character. Rightfully saying so, being able to differentiate between those using critical forms of negativity and those basing choices from the instinctual standpoint that experience offers us, is important.
Experience is a Guide
Let’s not forget the adage of ‘the more you know the less certain you become.’ This, too, is a basis for judgment. We must use an evaluative lens to decipher how much of a person’s character is speaking for his or her purpose. Words and actions are not always going in the same direction. This is where our judgment cues come in to play.
Being a person who can accept my own faults and my own mistakes, I expect to be around those who are supportive of that and those doing the same in their own lives. While it’s true that holding a high degree of self-awareness enables success, it is true on two accounts. Those who are more rigid and set in their principles, as well as those who are not keeping to any set of principles, are the two types of people that will remain complacent until they want to change, and then make changes towards self-improvement.
People who exhibit toxic behaviors are those that are not using good judgment to enable change. These people will often find alliances with others who are similar – people exhibiting toxic behaviors are at ease around those not questioning their integrity. However, those repeatedly making mistakes and exhibiting bad behaviors are also those people whose actions are not matching their words. There’s a difference between holding accountability at face value and using accountability to avoid repeated mistakes. There comes a point where we must realize that repeated mistakes are, in fact, choices.
Opposite of this, are those people that have taken accountability for past mistakes and have put an appropriate amount of time towards becoming better. These are people that are using their evaluations of the world around them in order to have good judgment. These people also do not give others a power over themselves to shape their thoughts. These people do not ridicule and put others down for the sake of making themselves appear better. There’s a difference between speaking truthfully about toxic people and speaking in a way to just make someone look bad to others. This is where the line between concreteness and subjectivity comes into play.
How many times have we all known someone that has repeatedly apologized for the same actions? They repeatedly apologize because their behavioral patterns have not changed. Those that remain unchanged by past actions are offering a direct reflection of who they are. Yes, mistakes are mistakes. But mistakes repeatedly occurring are choices. Not all choices deserve to be overlooked. We can’t keep dressing up decisions we make as mistakes, constantly holding the expectation for forgiveness from others.
As an example, when someone is in an abusive relationship, he or she learns that accepting an apology and allowing the same behavior to continue becomes a pattern. The abused often will reach the point where a line must be drawn. The abuser makes the choice to act. The abused makes the choice whether or not to continually accept apologies for those actions. At no point in time will an abused person hoping for a change, make a change occur in the other person.
Repeated actions and behaviors speak loudly on a person’s a character. It is judging from experience that allows one to make necessary decisions concerning other people. I use the above scenario as an example because it’s tangible. Someone in an abusive relationship has to decide if continuing the relationship is positive and helping them to grow as a person. Subjectively, apologies can appear genuine, but concretely, actions speak on behalf of character.
We all Judge Others
We must all choose carefully when holding relationships with other people. We must all choose wisely within the communities we are a part of. It is imperative that we use our past experiences in order to form opinions on others. We have to remain true to the boundaries we set in place. We have to be cautious in choosing to accept repeated actions from others, especially when someone’s character shows us that his or her words and actions are not in alignment.
Judgments are made to those surrounding us so that we can make decisions for ourselves. In saying so, we must be sure to not wrongly make assumptions, but to instead act on behalf of someone’s character. People show us who they are if we are willing to take the time away from general opinion to see them.