Section 2: INCREASING THE GOODNESS IN OUR LIVES
LABEL LESS AND LOVE MORE
Choosing to Look Deeper
This is one of our biggest faults: judging people when we don’t really know them. I don’t know why we feel qualified to make such judgements, but it’s one of the poorer choices we can make. If we are going to sign up for having more goodness coming from our lives, this is one of the first things we need to change.
I am not what you see,
I am what time and effort and interaction slowly unveil.
Richelle E. Goodrich
At times, many of us operate as people-labeling machines drawing vast conclusions about others based on how they look or how they talk or what they believe. We overlook our own unique characteristics but are often quick to classify, sometimes even criticize, those who don’t appear to be like us. We tend to group people based on external factors and then—mistakenly—consider any member of “that group” to be like all the others.
One of the biggest categories we use to label people is based on ethnicity. We group people based on the color of their skin or some special clothing they may wear. Whatever opinion we have of the group, right or wrong, carries over to the person in front of us even though we know nothing else about them. Religious labels are another way we separate people into groups. We may not even fully understand our own religion, yet we’ll “doom someone to hell” just because their beliefs are different from our own. Sexuality is another label we use to classify people. It’s none of our business, but we’ll
comment about someone’s sexual orientation anyway. And, of course, political groups—we claim something’s wrong with someone if they don’t see the role of government as we do.
We Can Be Real People-Labeling Machines
And We Don’t Even Know Them
It’s amazing when you stop and think about the fact that we can form our entire opinion about someone based on these labels. We can judge someone without having met the individual or talking with them face to face. We may say that we agree with the age-old teaching “judge not that you be not judged,” but we fail to practice it in our daily lives.
Almost every one of us is guilty of this type of ill-informed prejudice to some degree. But regardless of why we do this, labeling people is a very poor choice. It is much better to be an independent thinker and view people based on their individual characteristics, their personal conduct, and how they treat those around them.
It’s time we make the choice to look at all people as unique individuals capable of loving, caring, wanting, and working just like you and me. We have to remind ourselves that those around us may look different and be different, but most people want to have an enjoyable life and accomplish something good with their lives…just like you and me. It’s what’s inside of a person that really counts anyway. We simply need to stop being judgmental and pigeon-holing people based on the way they look, how they talk, or what they believe. Today would be a good day to put your people-labeling machine away and never use it again.
Judging prevents us from understanding a new truth.
Free yourself from the rules of old judgments
and create the space for new understanding.
What’s Really Important Here?
So, what’s really important in forming our opinion of someone? There are many factors that come to bear on our view of another person, but the most important should be this: How do they treat other people? Are they nice, courteous, and helpful toward others? Never mind that he is a great football player, how does he treat other people? Never mind that she is a very attractive person, how does she treat other people? Never mind that he is successful in business, how does he treat other people? The point is this: If someone treats other people in good and kind ways, it’s almost a guarantee they are good and kind as well.
Let’s quit judging people based on some label we place on them. Let’s work harder at loving instead of labeling. Let’s first evaluate ourselves to see if we are treating others with kindness and respect. After we accomplish that, we can then start to evaluate others on the very same basis…whether they are good and kind toward others as well. Clearly, we can use more good and kind people in this world. That’s a label we should all be proud to wear.
Three things in human life are important:
the first is to be kind;
the second is to be kind;
and the third is to be kind.
Beware of Information on the Internet
If you are serious about becoming a kinder person and truly living with goodness each day, you have to stop and consider how the information coming through the phone in your hand is conditioning you to be more sarcastic, to be less caring, and to be increasingly inconsiderate of others.
Whether it’s those texts that “take shots” at people, whether it’s the news headlines that are outright critical with no facts at all, or whether it’s the videos that humiliate others in the name of being funny, most of us encounter dozens of these “conditioning moments” each day.
If we’re not careful, the day-in and day-out exposure to such information will condition us to communicate in negative “ways and words” as well. When we do this, we become increasingly sarcastic leaving less and less room in our day to actually show our caring and concern for others. If you feel that you need to label less and love more, step back, honestly assess the quality of your communications with others, and determine what changes or adjustments you need to make.
Information technology and the internet are rapidly transforming
every aspect of our lives—some for better, some for worse.
How do you define the characteristics of a good person?
What labels have you mentally or otherwise placed on other people?
What labels do you think others give you?
Have you ever judged others unfairly?
How often do you do this?
What can you do to be less judgmental? Be specific.
Will an increased focus on living with goodness help you in this regard?