“Don’t judge a book by its cover”. A saying we all know too well but how realistic is this statement? If you saw a book in a library that was battered and ripped and torn you naturally would assume it was old and used. But what if it wasn’t; What if it was a brand new book out last week that was simply miss-treated? The shiny new book with no creases or tears is the oldest in the library but it had been well looked after and handled with care. You cannot look at someone and know who they are by how you perceive them to be on first glance.
I am forever getting frustrated when people judge me or make assumptions about my character but I am so quick to do the same to others, I mean, who do I think I am?
I have said before and it’s true, I am a bit like marmite. You either love me or hate me! People have always had strong opinions of who I am as a person because of what I present. I have met people and often a little while down the line they confess they are “surprised” I am so nice, they assumed I was had an attitude or was too loud for them! I indeed do have an attitude and I am far to loud but there is so much more to me but I choose to show myself in a certain way. It is easy to forget that people only let us see what they choose. We are in control of how we present ourselves but does this then mean we are somewhat responsible for others perception of what or who are because of what we allow them to see or to know.
I never considered this until I started writing my blog. People would message or email me following a post saying they were shocked I wasn’t so happy or didn’t know I went through a break up, they didn’t think that this was the “Jess” they knew. I couldn’t grasp why people were so surprised so I asked a friend. I questioned why people were asking me all these things and how they never noticed any of these things and she turned and said “Because you smile in public and portray your ideal world to them so they have no other option to believe that is how you are”.
Have you ever met someone or seen someone and thought “I don’t like them” NO reason whatsoever, there is simply “something about them that doesn’t sit right?” I had this recently. I saw someone who I believed to be over confident border line arrogant. I had never had a conversation with this person, spoken to them, didn’t know there background or history but this was my impression. It annoyed me! Not because of them but because of me. I allowed myself to judge so quickly without getting to know them; so I approached them. We had a brief conversation and although this changed my opinion slightly something was still niggling me about them. I couldn’t shake off this feeling that there was something about them I just didn’t like. There had to be something negative because surely I was right in the first place? I thought about it for weeks! Then I realised I was only trying to justify my own opinion, find fault in them so I could confirm what I initially thought. I was having a hard time admitting to myself that I was wrong.
I had finally spoken to them properly and they completely changed every perception or idea of them I had. I had this overwhelming feeling of guilt. Why do we judge? We are we so quick to question other people about who they are and what they are about but get so defensive and insulted when people do the same to us. I was a hypocrite. I allowed myself to do exactly what I dislike about others doing to me.
Loads of factors encourage our judgments of others; Friends, Upbringing, Culture, The situation in which we meet people and the Media. We live in a world where the negative is news and this feeds the little part of our brain that assumes. Jeremy Kyle, Benefit Street, Crime watch, the news, all these programmes make us assume that everyone at the job centre are on drugs, that immigrants are the reason the country has no money. They tell us Muslims are all terrorists and Black people kill each other all the time. We are being defined by what we see and we are allowing those definitions to divide us as people.
You may think no way, not me I don’t judge but these messages are not always as obvious as we believe and don’t affect us as directly as we think! They tap into our sub conscious and send subliminal messages to us that do in fact change how we think, feel and judge others. For non-Muslims, how often have you thought differently about Islam? How many times have people walked past the job centre and given a dirty look? Walked past a young girl with a buggy and wondered how she could afford her designer handbag? We have become so consumed about defending ourselves we don’t realise we are indirectly judging others too.
“You only have one chance to make a first impression”. You do. But that doesn’t mean that that first impression is who you are! If we were all who people thought we were on first impression who would you be; the drunk in the club, the fatty at the buffet, the loud one, the quiet one, the funny one?
I must learn not to be so quick to judge. Who am I to assume anything about anyone? People will surprise you or people may live up to your expectations but we as individuals are in no position to predict what the case will be!
Next time you see someone try and create a different story in your mind. Do not assume they are who you think they are at first glance; give them the opportunity to prove you wrong. DO not allow yourself to define others by a definition that you choose not to adhere to yourself. Who knows you may be pleasantly surprised.
Thanks for stopping by x
The Fat Funny one x
P.s I am a size 4 if you choose to walk in my shoes