Saturday, August 11, 2012

Good Judgement vs. Being Judgemental

Because I am perfect and never knowingly make mistakes, it's easy for me to blame other people who make stupid messes of their own lives.

Well, okay, obviously I'm not perfect.  But I spend a lot of time practicing thinking I am, or at least thinking that because I'm trying to the the right thing, my way must be the right way.  Also, thinking that the nice things in my life are things I got through my own persistent effort and stunning intellect.  Ergo, thinking that other people's messes are results of lack of effort/intellect.

There are people in my extended family who don't have the good fortune that I have.  They also -- I will add -- haven't always made good choices.  And I've noticed that I struggle (when I hear about their struggles) with thinking about my own notions of good judgement and the sheer hubris of being judgmental.

An example.  There is an uncle, far away. Our family hardly ever sees him anymore.  He has been ill; he is under threat of losing his home; his business is hurting for customers.  I feel sorry for him.  And also, I make snarky comments.

Because he's had a lulu of a life.  He's had a gazillion jobs, each one perfect perfect perfect when he started, up about to the point that he started explaining to his boss the right way to run the show.  Then he'd explain why said boss was being an idiot for not agreeing with him.  And soon -- surprise! -- he'd be on to the next perfect job.  Or he'd buy a house without inspecting it (no foundation).  Or he'd be petulant because our family didn't want to invest in his sure-fire money-making venture:  he was going to start an ostrich farm.  There are a lot of stories about this uncle.  Too easy to be snarky.

With a colorful uncle far distant, the sorry/snarky conflict is actually sort of amusing.  With people right in front of me, being judgmental is more of a problem.  It's too easy for me to wrinkle my nose at people struggling with weight who eat the wrong things right in front of me.  To shudder at the octogenarian who leaves the car on with the air conditioning running while she's in the store, who then complains about spending too much money.  To get on my high horse when a friend allows his children to whine, and then complains that they're ungrateful.  This kind of list, unfortunately, goes on and on.

Fortunately for me, my friends and family are much nicer people than I am.  They're easy to like, and it's easy to find likable things about them.  They forgive me for being such an obsessively perfect person, even before I quite realize I need that forgiveness.  And if I could learn that from them, I'd be an even more perfect person.  Which could be dangerous.

1 comment:

  1. I have the same problem. I like to judge people who don't make good choices and put them down in my head. Especially, as you've mentioned, when they do something that leads to their present complaint! It's so easy to see the contradiction when it's someone else's life.

    Lately, I've also been judging people for being eco-unfriendly, and when I catch myself I have to remember that I am still far from perfect too.