I recently had an encounter that has stuck with me and I don’t think it is leaving any time soon. Myself and a friend were at a downtown hotel bar and ended up meeting a group of people all in their 20s. The conversation started off pleasant, but quickly turned. This hotel also offers luxury apartments for locals, far beyond any budget I could imagine. Once the group learned we lived in the area, they asked if we lived in these apartments. Upon learning we did not, the conversation faded. This was judgement from people my own age based on something as simple as an apartment.
Judgement is something I have always been passionate about (sounds weird right). It is so easy to judge based on money, appearance or social status- but where does that get us? These people obviously made far more money than me, but why did that become the basis of the conversation?
I love communication (that was my major in college) and have learned the most from simple encounters like this one. I have met open-minded, passionate individuals in some of the most unexpected places. I would be sad to have missed such conversation by placing judgement before truly interacting.
The truth is, we all go through ups and downs. There are billionaires that have become homeless and entrepreneurs that were born in poverty. Success is highly subjective and judgements are often incorrect. It is important to learn from each other and accept those that may be different than you.
Of course, we can’t be perfect. I used to place judgement far too quickly and probably missed out on a lot of friendships by doing so. But as I’ve interacted with more and more people in life, I’ve started to see the thread that connects us. We all want more. Whether that be more money, more friends or more acceptance. We can easily offer this to each other by displacing judgement. We can give one another more.
Try to make this a mindset shift. If someone is talking to you about their vegan lifestyle and you have not gone a day without eating meat in your life, try to hold off judgement. Curiosity can replace judgement and result in personal growth. The same goes the other way around.
Curiosity played a crucial role during my time as a barista. I thrived on asking the regulars questions and it often benefited me to do so. I found career connections, learned about different states and made friendships by simply engaging. By making a conscious effort to bypass judgements, I was taught some of the most valuable life lessons I could ever imagine.
Judgement has hindered so many of us and it will be a daily fight to overcome. However, the second you begin to let people through your walls, beautiful foundations will arise.