It is said that first impressions are important. That you can tell if you like someone in just a few seconds. However is that really judgemental? And can we get away from being judgemental?
I know I try not to judge people and yet the instinct seems to happen before I even know. I then reflect and hopefully reconsider. I know through education, travel and reading I have learnt so much which has helped me break down some of the stereotypes and beliefs I might have held. Yet is it enough?
There is so much that can be judged and assumed about someone; appearance, speech, their decisions, phrases, beliefs, accents, intelligence, sexuality, cultures and so much more. We all have unconscious bias which leave us judging unknowingly. How are we meant to deal with a belief we do not even know we have?
However, I think we should strive to be as conscious as we can of the judgements we make. It is not easy to look into ourselves and really challenge these faults and yet in the world we currently live in, I think it is imperative.
So many people are feeding the world with hate. The media, groups, politicians and events around the world spark beliefs and judgement that can seriously hurt people. We need to counter this with more positive beliefs.
As a teacher I try to teach this to students and as a nice person I try to live this way. Yet I also think the work is never done. We need constant reminders to review and self-reflect on our beliefs. Why when we meet someone did we get that bad feeling? Is it justified?
Our society judges people; keeping law and order means we need to. However it is not just criminals that are judged, everyone is and by everyone else. But this can lead to stigma, which can lead to prejudice and that then lead to discrimination.
I know I often feel judged by the people around me. My low self-esteem means I find it hard to belief that not everyone around me is judging me and thinking poorly of me. From my clothes, hair and general appearance to my beliefs, status and what I say. As a child I was bullied and it has made me to aware of how these judgements can be used to hurt someone.
If we want an equal and fair society then we have to examine our cultural beliefs and how that resonates to the next generation. Are we teaching equality when headlines single out a culture, a religion, a country, a financial status and tell us if it is right or wrong.
We need to look at this world we live in and decide what world we want it to be in years to come. None of us are perfect, none of us will always get it right. I know I am definitely working on this all the time, in my life in this mental world.