The next time you're out and about, take a second to really look around and observe the world as it moves around you. Push the "pause" button on your own life for just a few minutes, and pick out random people to observe. Take special note of their demeanor and their facial expressions. Do they avoid certain objects or people? Do they look sad? Or mad? Happy? Excited?
Take what you see and try to put yourself in their shoes. Try to imagine what they've been through. Maybe that person you're watching has just been to hell and back. Perhaps a family member died, or they are going through some serious financial woes. Or worse than that, maybe they are dying. Or maybe it's the exact opposite. What if they've just won the lottery, or sealed up a new job, or just had their first child. As you watch the people and imagine their lives, take a deep look at your own life. You'll probably find yourself not only watching these people, but judging them at the same time.
It's a pity, really. To believe that we are so much better than someone that we are allowed to judge them based on one or two brief interactions, or even on appearance alone. The fact is, you're no better or worse than anyone else. But then why is it so necessary for us to hierarchically determine who is above who? It's so easy to look at a homeless person and the CEO of a large corporation and automatically think that the CEO is an all around better person. I'm sure we're all guilty of doing this at one point or another. What we don't realize is that CEO is currently engaged in an affair with his secretary while his wife of fifteen years waits lovingly for him to come home. Adversely, the homeless gentlemen recently lost his wife of twenty years to leukemia and has done everything imaginable to provide for his two young children, yet still couldn't acquire enough funds to make necessary payments.
You're not a "bad" person if you judge. "Bad" is just another label, and it has sadly become natural for us to use those in day-to-day life. Good, bad, hot, ugly, nice, mean, creepy, bitchy, scary - they're all just shallow labels. Beneath that outer label there is always a genuine, caring soul waiting to be released.
I am making it my goal and new years resolution to see past those labels and the outer appearance. I want to see people for who they really are. I want to spread the hope and love that I have been so graciously given throughout my 20 years on this earth.
I'm asking and suggesting you do the same. 2011 should be the year of stigma shattering acceptance. Who's with me?