How to Respond Rather Than Judge and Have Harmony

Do you ever feel angry and disappointed by what other people do or say and find yourself in judge mode?

As humans it’s instinctive to judge.  I went to a seminar the other night and the presenter was talking about how quickly we can make a good or bad first impression.  It takes 7 seconds to give someone a quick up and down and form an opinion about them.  If that’s a bad opinion, it takes another 8 positive impressions to get back to neutral.  The point being that all this happens subconsciously – we don’t even realize we’re doing it.
We make judgements subconsciously
It takes 7 seconds to give someone a quick up and down and form an opinion about them.

Consequently, it’s really easy to react to situations where we judge the other person to be in the wrong, stupid, not following the rules or just being a bit of a dick.

The Charlize Theron Incident

Yesterday, I was driving along the freeway.  I drive a little red Mini Cooper and in my mind I am Charlize Theron in the Italian Job.   Luckily, the freeway was relatively quiet, with only a few cars behind me and the right lane was empty. A 4 Wheel Drive Ute in front of me was loaded up with giant rolls of plastic. Suddenly, the giant rolls of plastic got caught in some thermal air pressure situation and bounced out of the back of the ute and flew toward my car.  This is where I really did channel Charlize.  I swerved like a rally driver and managed to avoid all the giant rolls hitting me by mere centimetres.  The cars behind stopped and I can only imagine the barrage of abuse the driver would have received.  This could have had a really bad outcome and luckily nobody was hurt and nothing was damaged.

My road rage gene was triggered and I thought “what an idiot, why didn’t he have them tied on properly?”  then I got to thinking, who knows why he didn’t tie them on.  Maybe his employer loaded them and told him they’d be fine and to get a move on.  Perhaps the driver was really late and would lose a contract if he didn’t deliver and just did not have time to tie them.  Maybe he had received some bad news or some catastrophe had happened and he forgot he even had the rolls on the back.  He could have just been a dick though and thought “she’ll be right”.  Whatever, I caught myself in judge mode by instinct.

 We judge others by their actions but we judge ourselves by our intentions.

judge by actions
We judge others by their actions but we judge ourselves by our intentions

The time I did a runner

I have two sons, they were born 15 months apart when I was in my early 20’s and on complete and utter overwhelm and exhaustion.  My husband was working full time and studying at night.  I had been through a difficult and stressful pregnancy.  I was trying really hard to meet everyone’s expectations and I was ridiculously hard on myself too as I attempted to be the perfect Mother.  One day, I had to do some urgent grocery shopping and supermarkets were always such a daunting proposition with these two little guys.   I put the eldest into the trolley and sat the little one in the toddler seat and proceeded to place my shopping into the trolley around my kid.  Suddenly, he started to choke and then threw up – all over the items in the shopping trolley.
Everyone is a package - don't judge
Mother on overload, a trolley full of kids and groceries

Here I was, a Mother on overload, a trolley full of kids and groceries covered in vomit.  As it started to trickle through the boxes and bags and drip onto the floor, I made an instant decision.  I hoisted one kid onto each hip and did a runner.   What I do know is that my intentions were good.  It was just beyond my capacity in that moment to even consider handling this like a grown up.

I am sure that whoever had to clean up the mess would have been saying some choice things and anybody watching the incident was probably shocked that I bolted.  What they did not know was that I suffered chronic migraines and spent a couple of days each week hardly able to function.  They would also not have known that every single cent was accounted for as we struggled to pay our mortgage, pay the bills and buy food.

We just never know what’s going on in someone else’s life and everyone is a package.

It’s that moment where we choose not to react.  To think about the whole person and what is really  going on.  By choosing to respond and not reacting we leave room for compassion and understanding.  It’s when people feel heard and understood that the humanity is triggered.

Think before we judge
By taking a moment, even a 3 second gap to think before we speak

We live our lives on hyper-speed, feeling that we need to have quick answers, fast opinions and make instant decisions.  By taking a moment, even a 3 second gap to think and to breathe before we speak, most confrontations can be avoided.  If our agenda is harmony, we solve, we think, we respond and that leads to much happier relationships with everyone around us.

Be Happy,
Debra xx

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6 Replies to “How to Respond Rather Than Judge and Have Harmony”

  1. I love this post Debra. We do need to remind ourselves all the time that we have another way. It is easy to react and make judgments, but this won’t make any good!! The 3 seconds reflection will make a huge difference for them and ourselves. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Deb, this is such a timely article for me! I have found that I chastise myself on the judgement I lay upon others, and generally let myself get off scott-free. A very hypocritical way of going bout it really.
    So reading this was a nice little reminder/wake up call for me, thank you!

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