I grew up in Abbey, a rural community with a population that doesn’t reach triple digits. My parents still live there. I was speaking on the phone with my mom this morning. Eventually the conversation led to her wondering why a particular video game (a Christmas gift) on Amazon was so expensive. I took a look. They were sold out and displaying more expensive listings from other sellers. I told her it would the normal price in stores which doesn’t do her much good. I had sealed my fate, I would be going Christmas shopping.
The first store I went to didn’t have it. I asked my mom if she could call the nearby Walmart and see if it was in stock. Walmart tends to have everything. In the meantime I went and picked up groceries. I was making greek chicken that evening.
I felt my phone vibrate twice in my pocket as I was checking out. The message from my mom read “computer says no but guy I talked to said yes!? Let me know when you get it please.”
The guy was probably right. Everyone says not to believe everything you read on the Internet.
When I got to Walmart there was one copy left on the shelf. It was my lucky day. I grabbed it and went to the checkout. The man at the till was a stubby, younger looking man. His face spotted with patches of thin, blond facial hair. His smile revealed his mostly crooked teeth. He appeared more enthusiastic than most checkout operators.
“I just need the key to unlock this.” He says grabbing the game with one hand and fumbling around in his pocket with the other.
Just then I heard a girl’s voice from behind me, “Almost left with this.”
She extends her hand toward the guy behind the till and drops it into his, then walks away. Good timing I thought to myself. He pops the plastic casing off the game and scans it.
“I’m almost done too.” he tells me. “I’ll be going home to play with my kitty and rebuild my Magic The Gathering decks.”
This comment catches me off guard. I crack a smile and tell him that sounds like fun. I’m being nice. My brain is thinking “Wow. Walmart worker. Kitty lover. Magic The Gathering player. Probably no friends. This poor guy.”
“I just bought a bunch of new cards. The last time I tried rebuilding my decks with so many new cards it didn’t go well. I ended up just throwing it together last minute then got destroyed.” I can’t help but notice the joy in his voice.
“My kitty doesn’t help me either. She is always messing them up.” I’m amused that he uses the word kitty. “Just when I think I have a deck figured out she comes and wrecks it.”
He hands me the bag. I’m not sure how to conclude the conversation. “Good luck with your deck” I tell him as I begin to walk away. He thanks me and wishes me a good day.
Afterwards I felt guilty for judging him. Who was I to think my hobbies are any better than his? Or maybe I envied his lack of shame in discussing them with a complete stranger. All I knew for sure was I felt disappointed that my immediate reaction wasn’t to be happy for him.
Judgement often leads to suffering. It expresses dissatisfaction for the way things are. It adds unnecessary negativity to our lives which often leads us to bring down those who are arounds us. Judging focuses our energy on what is wrong and not how we can fix it. It slowly chokes contentment out of us and replaces it with jealousy, greed and envy. The energy that could be used to improve other peoples lives is instead being used to worsen them.
Judging is a behaviour that is deeply engrained in our society. Avoiding it is hard. Heck, before I could blink my brain thought a guy was a loser because he liked his kitty and a trading card game. The key to minimizing the judging of others is acceptance.
See the situation for what it is and accept it. Don’t apply any negativity to it. It is what it is. Try to catch yourself when you are judging someone. Accept that you did and try to move on. The sooner you can stop dwelling on it the better.
Try giving the person a story for his actions. Maybe the person who cut you off in traffic was just found out their nephew passed away? Just got fired? Most of the time people who inconvenience us aren’t trying to be an asshole. Coming up with a story for an individual takes your mind away from thinking spitefully. Accept the story you create and move on.
The trick is to accept the situation as quickly as possible and minimize the amount of negativity you generate. Afterwards you can evaluate if there is anything you can do to change it. Use your energy for action, not inaction.
Maybe you roll your eyes as you read this. There was a time when I would have. I would have blasted it. This author is a fucking idiot with his head in the clouds. I sometimes struggle to write it myself. There’s still a little part of me that tells me this is all nonsense. But then I remember that it works. It makes my day better all the time. Maybe it’ll help make your day better too. Who knows?
All I know is I’m going to read comic books after publishing this. Try not to judge me.