Never criticize a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins. ~ American Indian Proverb
A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes. ~ Mark Twain
I have very few pet peeves. I also have a long fuse. BUT, my biggest pet peeve is being accused of being someone I am not or of doing something that I did not do. The false labeling and false accusations are enough to drive me completely insane – I have zero tolerance for such things. I want people to judge me based on truth, not fiction, based on reality, not fantasy, based on proven track records, not rumors. Furthermore, I want to be judged or evaluated based on my abilities performance and content of my character – and not based on my gender, skin color, or choice of partner. So simple, but we humans seem to choose to make it very complicated.
I hate being subjected to the aforementioned inaccurate and unfair labeling and judgement, but I realize, quite sadly and embarrassingly, that I am often guilty of similar behaviors. When I meet a new person on the street it is very easy for me to begin to classify them before I even know them – based on everything from the color of their hair to their choice of coffee shop for a morning brew. This is wrong, and yet we all engage in similar behaviors. Every one of us relates to each other through a set of lenses that develops and even fine tunes biases and preconceived ideas of people throughout the years.
I am working to challenge myself to confront and overcome the biases I have. When I believe I am acting or thinking in a way that may judge or stereotype a person unfairly, I work hard to acknowledge the issue I have (as it is ultimately my fault and my issue) and then work to separate my personal issues from the situation at hand. I wish more individuals in my life circles would have the insight and maturity to do the same.
Today, 142 days ’til 40, I remind myself to delay judgement until I really have an opportunity to get to know people and understand who they are – I hope people can do the same with me.