To one person, the world might be coming to an end and to another a new beginning. The scene from Day After Tomorrow comes to mind. The extreme cold creeping down the halls, through the desolate New York Library, might seem like the end. To another person, the fire set by the group of young teens might signify the beginning. The point being that the way we see the world changes with every person. Issues arise when society, or human kind, does not accept that everybody sees the world differently. Walking a different path does not mean it is wrong. Due to fear and ignorance, we place judgement upon the ones who walk a different way.
At the core of every human decision is survival. In today’s world, we aren’t encountering saber-toothed cats or giant hyenas. Our survival instinct isn’t necessarily being tested through physical threats. Today, our main threat comes mentally. The threat to our way of life. Everyone has been taught, from ancestors and peers, a certain way people should live. This can range from opinions on same sex marriage to the way a human should appear. When you encounter someone that goes against your norm you begin to set a defensive posture. Your sympathetic nervous system activates and it’s time to make the decision. Do you avoid the situation completely or do you fight? Humans, at the most basic level, are smart and tend to avoid situations entirely. Consequently, this forces us to miss out on amazing stories.
Our bodies can judge from afar if a situation could be a danger to us. Partner that with the human mind that constantly thinks negative before positive and we have a cocktail for fear and isolation. What if we challenged our instincts? Become aware of your judgements.
The first step to challenge your instinct is to become aware. Pay attention to your body and how it handles daily life. When you walk by your boss or coworker concentrate on your body. Do you feel a tension in your body? What about a feeling to run away? Now that you are aware of it, start working on relaxing. If you enter a conversation, focus on your body position. Are your arms or legs crossed? Whatever you do, the other person will mimic. So bring the conversation to neutrality or even positive by assuming a positive body position. Open your body up by unfolding your arms, taking your hands out of your pockets, and then subtly showing your palms. Keep your arms and body relaxed. This will surprisingly change your attitude too! You can force your body into neutrality and feeling safe!
The next thing is simple. Ask questions and learn. Educate yourself on as much culture as you can. Understanding other people’s way of living will help you show empathy towards them. If you don’t have the time to learn outside of these situations, then just learn in them! If you are in a conversation with someone you have judged, become aware, and ask questions. Learn about their life and their reasons for doing things. By asking questions you can find areas in which you will relate. Establishing areas in which you relate will start to melt away the judgement you entered the situation with.
Judgement is a waste of human time. We wake up every day with a limited amount of energy. Don’t waste your energy on a made up fear. A simple conversation won’t kill you. Learn some stuff and be happy.