Choose to Understand Instead

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Judging people is really easy. Some do it all the time without realizing they are doing it. Some even do it in their sleep. We cannot really blame anyone, can we? We live in a society where it is as common as the pollution around us. We know it’s there; We take it in; And sometimes, we even cause it.

You see that womanizer you know and immediately roll your eyes. You feel the hate. You feel for every woman who has fallen for and has been deceived by one. Doesn’t he have a mom or a sister? How would he feel if what he does happens to his sister? You can’t help but shake your head disapprovingly.

You overhear your annoying coworker shouting while on the phone and you think, “Oh, there he goes again!” Why is he rude all of the time? Why does he think he’s better than everybody? Hasn’t he been taught good manners? You can’t help but think that there is no hope for this guy.

Passing on judgment is our default reaction to behaviors that we believe are socially unacceptable. We can never really understand “those people.” Well, we never will unless we try to. Let us ask ourselves what would have made us act the same way. Let us try to put ourselves in their shoes.

Maybe, just maybe, that womanizer has never felt the love of a mother. His mom walked out on him when he was still young. Now, trying to get the attention and love of as many women as he can is his way of filling the void his mother left.

Maybe that annoying coworker has been bullied in school. He was called by so many foul names, he lost count of all of them. He was told that he could not amount to anything. Now, his arrogance is his shield. It is his way of ensuring that no one would consider him weak. It is his way of saying that he did amount to something great.

Maybe this act of trying to envision ourselves as inside the person’s shoes can help us show more love and compassion. We are blessed to not have experienced situations that would have brought out the worst in us. Or maybe we have, but because of the love of the people around us, we have chosen another path. Judging may be the easier route but there is a more rewarding path. Choose to understand instead.

* This is in response to Blogging University’s Writing 101, Day 7: Hook ’em with a quote

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2 thoughts on “Choose to Understand Instead

  1. First, I love the quote you chose! I’m an English teacher, and I teach To Kill a Mockingbird every year. I love that you decided to focus on some “unpopular” people to remind us to try to understand. It’s so easy to tell people not to judge people of different ethnicities, but your reminder is just as important!

    Liked by 1 person

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