Are you trying on the wrong shoes?

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Imagine you need to buy shoes for yourself. You go to the store, spend at least 10 minutes looking through every shelf there and then you go to another store to do exactly the same. Seven stores later, when you finally find the right shoes, the store turns into a runway just for you. You find it essential to try on the shoes, walk back and forth and wiggle every toe. When it comes to shoes, it has got to be the perfect balance between comfort, appearance and price.

Think about how much time and effort you spend to find that perfect pair of shoes. It has to be worth it. After all, the shoe takes us places and becomes a part of our personality. Everybody else also takes as much time to pick their perfect fit. Why then are we so quick to judge other people without even considering walking in their shoes?

It is undoubtedly very easy to judge a person and most times doesn’t even require a lot of observation. Just a glimpse does the trick of preparing an image of the person where you’ve outlined every little element of the person’s characteristics. There are a few reasons that contribute to this instantaneous judgment.

When you meet someone whose personality is as different as chalk and cheese as compared to yours, so much so that when you imagine yourself behaving like the other person, it would embarrass you. In such a case, you would tend to mask your emotions by quickly making a judgment about the other person.

Another reason for being quick to judge stems out of envy. When you see someone who is a popular achiever, you judge the person by looking for faults as a self- defense mechanism.

The ease with which you trust a person also influences whether or not you would judge that person. If an individual doesn’t appear warm and welcoming to you, your first instinct would be to judge.

Apart from the above, appearance and financial status are also predominant reasons that lead to quick judgments.

Now that we know some of the motives behind judgments, Let’s try to deduce some solutions.

It is said that ‘first impression is the best impression’ we should keep in mind, not to mistake the ‘first impression’ with a ‘hasty impression’. No human being, no matter how wise, is capable of being sure of the image he has created at the first interaction with that person. Give the person, and yourself, enough time before getting into conclusions. Remember- only Allah is the best of judges.

Before we dive into the move of judging a person, we must try to consider their situation. Every person has their own story and their own struggle. No struggle can be ridiculed or shunned as ‘easy’ compared to another’s struggle. If it’s really necessary, try to find out and understand a person’s back story before you succumb to the trap of judging.

Take efforts to not make judging a habit. When you think you are on the verge of judging a person, force your focus to shift on something else. The underlying idea of all the above solutions is to stick to walking in your own shoes. If you have to, do walk a mile in the other person’s shoes before judging them.

In some cases, no matter how hard you try, you will not be able to fit into certain shoes. As a school teacher, I try my best to make the students as well as their parents happy. Not very long ago, a parent contacted me about an issue she had with the way her daughter’s classroom was managed. I tried to reason with her and told her that I’ve got things under control and there’s nothing to worry about. She still looked uneasy and was unconvinced. Finally, with almost a whisper she said- ‘You are not a mother. You will not understand’. I was dumbfounded by the truth in her statement. She was absolutely right. I would never even be able to come close to judging or understanding like a mother would. I had never walked on those shoes. Not knowing how to respond, I just gave her an uncomfortable smile and we went back to doing our respective work. For at least a few days, I couldn’t help but think about what she said. It took me some time to realize that I need not walk in the shoes that I couldn’t fit in. If I didn’t know how to be a mother to my students, at least I could be an elder sister.

Dear readers, the deed of judging someone comes from insecurities within ourselves. Let us steer ourselves clear from it and be confident in our own shoes.

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