Thursday, March 8, 2012

I judge you

I think just about everyone would say they’re a good judge of characters, (whether they really are or not). Who wants to say they’re horrible at it, and risk the chance of someone taking advantage of that?!

Well, I guess me, cause I’m not that great at it. I think I am. Or used to be…maybe once upon a time, but I feel like I’ve lost the ability to properly and accurately judge a person.

There’s the obvious ones, of course. I can spot a child molester easily. {creepy, right?} But of course, that isn’t a normal type of judging given the fact I’m rarely at parks or near kids. But rest assured, if I’m hanging out with you and your kids, I’ll be on full alert.

I used to be bold with my judging. I remember walking into Longs to grab milk. I was still partially in my uniform since I just got off of work, so I was a target to everyone, but I powered through the doors, keeping my sunglasses on (because I believed keeping them on made me even “tougher”) and this semi rough looking man was staring me down. As I walked toward him-past him to grab the milk-and past him again. I watched him through my glasses following my every step. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore…(because I was “tough”) and whipped around and said, “What?!”

{let me just say, “work Emily” was so bold. Especially when she just got off of work since she was still coming down from being around inmates}

::and yes, I just referred to myself in the third person::

That’s not me anymore. I’ve judged people so easily off of how they look or how they “read” only to find out I was all wrong. They turned out nicer than I perceived or ended up being a horrible person inside when I thought they were kind.

I’ve been burned countless times for believing someone is kind hearted. Shared things, opened up only to have me search every inch of my brain, hoping to remember all that I said so they won’t use it against me later, but always forgetting that one piece of information they’re waiting to play.

It’s left me guarded. Unwilling to share myself with others because I can never be too sure if I’m reading them all wrong, regretting opening up. My discerning button is broken and I’m not sure how to fix it.

I’m sure I’ve been judged because of it but that’s a given. I’m easily seen as a snob by most girls. Believe it or not, I’m really quiet. I keep to myself (which isn’t new) and apparently if I’m not smiling, or rather, if I have my ‘normal’ every day expression on, I look like I’m mad and unapproachable. I can’t tell you how many countless times I’ve been told that…or that they thought I was stuck up.

Its so funny how we judge each other. Whether wrongly or accurately, its done. Whether its before the person even utters a word or after they’ve uttered 10,000 words, we do it. We’re constantly evolving our judgment of each other. Which, I don’t think is a bad thing. Reevaluating a person’s character is needed at times, if not your own.

But maybe holding off on that initial judge until you truly get to know the person, is wise.

I know I could pause on occasion.

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LeAnna said...

My Mama always said to give people the benefit of a doubt. I have a super hard time with that. Super. While God does call us to love, He also reminds us to be alert and test the spirits of this world. Of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the one I desire most is discernment. And we get it by asking for it. :)

I, too, have been bured by many a so-called friend, and each one left me with a brick in hand, building another layer to my wall. But, God is good. When our hearts are laid open before Him, He instructs and guides where we need it.

I think women are the WORST at judging one another, too. So often we forget we're not being allowed "in" on the whole story, so we formulate our opinions on what we see. And a lot of times we only see what we do because of the aforementioned wall - it's a vicious cycle that stops with genuine relationship building.

Great post, friend.

Megan said...

"Reevaluating a person’s character is needed at times, if not your own."

so so true. great post love.

Lisa @ honibun@blogspot said...

WOW!!! Thanks for the reminder!!

Jennifer Blair said...

Ooo...I'm bad about doing this. I love to try to "figure people out". I get this picture of who they are in my head and sometimes I'm very wrong. It a good reminder to keep an open mind when it comes to new people. They may not be how I think they are!

Lacey in the City said...

I am not the best judge of character - I think everyone is the best version of themself that they could be, until I am proven otherwise. And I get burned for it a lot, especially in romantic relationships. But yanno what...I try to maintain that rosey perspective, even when my learned instincts try to kick in and say "you've seen that character trait before...beware...". It's trying to find that balance that is hard.

Tabitha Mahoney said...

haha I swear SS and I talked about being judgmental on our walk today. I'm so guilty of judging people.

40 minutes til your "appointment" hoodyhoo!!

I have my phone, ready to receive your status report.

angie on maui said...

What an interesting post. As usual, I still can't get over the "tough" Emily of yesterday. As you pointed out (and the impression I have always had of you), you are quiet and you keep to yourself, so it is hard for me to imagine you calling that guy out at Longs! So bizarre.

I am a horrible judge of character; I have absolutely no radar for "questionable" folks and ignorantly see everyone as shiny, happy people. And this has come to bite me in the behind more times than I can count. It actually happened about a year ago; I had my heart broken by a girlfriend (that sounds so silly, but it's true)! Phil had warned me about her from the very beginning but I ignored him. Of course, he was SPOT ON.

As far as passing judgement, I think it's just human nature. I know *I'm* guilty of it! It is something I try to be aware of because it makes me feel incredibly guilty, but sometimes it happens without me even realizing it (yesterday, I got really irritated at the store with how this woman was talking down to her children...and then I had to remind myself that I have no idea what her life is like, or what kind of day she is having. Her choice of words weren't appropriate, but it doesn't mean she's the kind of person I assumed her to be).

Annie M Culley said...

I LOVED this post and really needed it! I try to give people the benefit of the doubt I am the one to stay quiet and keep to myself until somone approaches me.

An example: my twins are in preschool and there was a mom of a girl in my daughters class that approached me about my daughter going to her house to play. I was very standoffish from about August until after Christmas. I made excuses and such in why she couldn't play.

One reason is I really didn't know her and the other I judged her. I thought I don't know you very well and I can't trust you with my daughter. When I finally decided what can it hurt to let them play while I try to get to know her and opened up a little, I found out what a great family they are! We are great friends now and I would trust her any day with my children!

What kills me is if I would have continued to judge and kept quiet and to myself I would have never gotten to know this sweet lady!

Thanks Emily for this awesome reminder and keep up the great posts!

Stacia said...

Hey Emily, once again great post! So I laughed at the part when you say you are unapproachable and people think you are a snob (PS, not true) Anyway, Taylor gets the unapproachable thing all the time. Even some of my family still say they can't figure him out or as my mom would say she can't "read" him (after 7 years of us being married). I totally get it because in high school I thought the same thing. But now that I really know him it's funny that so many people think of him like that. :)

Megan said...

This is such a great post! I think we all judge people, sometimes not even realizing it. It's sad.

Katie said...

oh girl, I struggle with this too! Do social work, I've always been taught to 'suspend disbelief' and always focus on the 'strengths' of the people I'm working with. This has gotten me burned SO many times! But I don't want to become hardened and stop seeing the good in people...its just a balancing act I think.

Nicolle said...

Love this. I too have judged only to be wrong, or I've given my whole heart only to be hurt. I definitely don't want someone else to judge me b/c they see me with my hair up, no makeup and very irritated at Boyd. Maybe it's just a really bad day, not a really bad life.

I love this Maya Angelou quote:

The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.

Callie Nicole said...

I know what you mean! I make snap judgements of people, but I think the bigger problem for me is giving everyone the benefit of a doubt too much. Like if I thought someone seemed nice, but they start showing their true colors? I have a hard time accepting that maybe they aren't so nice after all. And sometimes I just need to accept it and give it up.


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