In a previous post I talked about role-playing games and how they have helped me discover different things about myself. Lately I have been thinking alot about my character Aniu, and how she reflects on me.
Aniu is a First Nations, werewolf, teenager. She was very judgemental, self-entitled and self-absorbed. Her destiny was to one day lead her tribe, but she didn’t want to. Because of her attitude the spirits gave her a proverbial slap upside the head, and showed her a vision of what would happen if she didn’t follow her destiny. Also because of her extreme judgemental attitude, the spirits took away her sight so that she could learn to “see” the world in new ways.
I myself use to be a very judgemental person. All my life I was judged harshly by others, and I just continued in that cycle. I would look at people and just make snap judgements about them. I have also never been much of a person for meditation; me and meditation just don’t get along very well. Instead I would sit, and close my eyes, and just focus on my other senses. It is amazing the things you can hear when you really focus on just your hearing. Did you know that electricity makes quite a loud hum, if you listen for it….. or that hot water makes a different sound than cold water (at least with the water that comes out of my taps). You can even learn how to tell who just approached you, simply by the sound of their footsteps. You can also do this exercise for smell, taste and touch.
Now you have learned to focus on your other senses…. rather than just relying on your eyes. This can be very helpful when you encounter someone. Look at them, but before making any judgements, let your other senses tell you information too. Look at their body language, listen to their tone of voice, listen to their words but also hear the meaning behind them. Use every sense you can think of to evaluate the situation. By taking the time to go through this process you have changed the process. Instead of just using your eyes and making a snap judgement……. you have slowed the process down, and the longer that you can delay making that snap judgement, the better the chances that you will make an informed opinion instead.
There is a big difference between forming an informed opinion about someone and judging them harshly, but it will take time to change your brain process. If you are a judgemental person like I was ( and still am sometimes), then your judgemental muscle is very strong. Your informed opinion muscle , on the other hand, is weak. Don’t worry if you can’t stop those snap judgements right away; your strongest muscle will always dominate. But, if every time you flex that judgemental muscle, you take a moment to also flex your informed opinion muscle, eventually the informed opinion muscle will come to dominate.