On judging

My 13-year-old brother is on the fence about joining colorguard (“I did a double spin on the first try!”). I’ve been encouraging him not necessarily to go ahead and break stereotypes, though that’d be pretty awesome, but to do what he feels most comfortable with.

He paced around the kitchen the other day for a while until he said, “Brenda, if my friends judge me, that means they’re not my friends, right?”

I responded, “Your friends have a right to judge you but what’s more important is what they do with that judgement. Real friends will accept and love you unconditionally no matter what they think of you.”

Or something like that except less eloquent and with more “uhh’s.”

Everyone judges everyone else to some degree. We make perceptions and we draw conclusions. It’s human. Don’t believe the person who claims he’s nonjudgmental. Better yet, judge him.

I’m sure people judge me all the time. “Who does she think she is, wearing wrecked shoes. What an overachiever. What an underachiever. What a flake. What a sorry case. What a bitch.”

I’m pretty judgmental, too. “She’s so stuck up I’d like to hit her in the head with a hammer. This teacher is to incompetent I swear we’re all getting dumber. I can’t believe this guy even passed first grade. She is totally in denial.”

I even judge books by their covers. I don’t trust poorly designed books.

I’m going to judge you, too, reader. If you’re like most people my age you have some degree of special-snowflake syndrome. You most likely think you are a decent, friendly, somewhat interesting, maybe mildly funny or smart and inherently good human being. You’re probably the kind of person who would be puzzled if anyone ever disliked you. If anyone did/does, that’s their problem because you are fantastic you. If only judgmental people knew the real you, they would understand.

Well, very few people have time to understand. Anyway, to be great is to be misunderstood.

You can’t force people to wait until you’ve proven yourself worthy of their approval. Judgement Day is every day. You are who you are now.

I say exercise, but be responsible with, your power of judgement.Some use it as fodder for gossip or as a means of steering clear of people they’d rather not associate with. Some use it as encouragement to make a new friend. Some use it hatefully to boost their own egos. You can use yours to help someone out.

As for what others think, no vale un pepino. Take it or leave it, but never over-analyze. The absolute worst that others’ judging can do to you is make you feel self-conscious. That isn’t so bad. Just do what you do. Be.

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