With her out-of-control salt and pepper dated hairstyle and caterpillar like eyebrows – Susan Boyle, the spunky little Scottish firecracker, defied the odds against her and made the world take notice. It wasn’t her intention to force society to ponder the question “why are we so quick to make judgment?”
This 47-year-old matronly woman, who has never been kissed, is no stranger to having people laugh and make fun of her. In school she struggled with a learning disability and was abused and teased by her classmates. Reportedly, the scars of their comments remain to this day. And instead of getting married and having children, she committed her life to caring for her parents until their death and she now lives alone with her cat, Pebbles. She longed to be a singer and somehow found the strength and courage to go after her dreams and audition on Britain’s Got Talent. Since then, there has been well over 80 million hits to several you-tube videos that show her singing “I dreamed a dream”. One video pans the audience and judges reaction as she walks out on stage. The snickering, eye rolling and obvious distaste towards her quickly turned to praise and admiration as soon as she opened her mouth and filled the air with her purity. Instantaneously, everyone and everything – changed.
How often do you judge… and not judge yourself?
When we are judgmental about others, we tend to be judgmental about ourselves. By looking at only the outside of the person we then determine whether or not that person is good or bad, smart or not or even worthy of our time. We tend to put a label on people based on looks alone. When we judge people it is like we are making that person out to be someone they are not.
Instead of immediately passing judgment, we need to understand and have compassion for that person – to put one self in their shoes. Often, we are so quick to make judgement of others that we fail to take notice of our own faults. We need to pay more attention to our own imperfections and learn to understand others. If we truly step back and take an objective look at ourselves, then perhaps we wouldn’t be so critical of others.
We need to keep in mind that everyone has a story and if we show compassion instead of jumping to conclusions, they will reveal their true selves. Most people we come in contact with can even teach us something about mankind and about ourselves.
When we have compassion it means we go without judgement to anyone in need. Compassion is the direct opposite of judgment, so it is impossible to judge others and be able to express compassion at the same time.
If we judge others then we are not showing compassion – we are not seeing the suffering in the other person. A compassionate heart sees everyone as equal and understands that everyone suffers in some way.
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion” – The Dalai Lama