How Judgement Reduces Compassion

December 10, 2020

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By Jeanne Felicia Mayo

Have you ever made a judgement of a person, situation and then later learned that you were completely wrong?  I have made judgements regarding people, places and things that were totally wrong.  Sometimes downright mortifying to learn just how off base I had been in my judgement. 

Have you ever honked your horn (or worse) at the driver ahead of you who may have slowed down while in front of you and you realize that there was actually a huge pothole they were trying to avoid?  Or maybe a child in the street that you could not see from your vantage point?  The driver ahead of you could see things in front of them that you could not see from behind them.  The act of judging a person/situation harshly can impact the ability to have compassion.  We assume we have the information needed to make a judgement but often we are lacking in some knowledge and/or understanding. A person/situation then becomes unworthy of our compassion and we act out in anger and judgement of that person/situation.  Would you feel differently about the neighbor who seemed to walk past and ignore you on the street if you knew that they had just learned that their mother/child/spouse had terminal cancer the moment before you crossed paths? Would you feel differently about the person who parked in a handicapped space and walked perfectly up a flight of steps and into a building seeming healthy and strong if you knew that they were actually going into the building to pick up their disabled child in a wheelchair from a much needed play date with a friend?  Would you feel differently about the clerk at the grocery store with red eyes and slurred speech if you knew that she had recovered from a stroke and her eyes were red from staying up all night studying for her college class?  The list could go on and on....

All you have to do is to pay attention to the comments people make on social media regarding the lives, opinions, choices and circumstances of other people.  There seems to be a rush to judgement of other people and situations without full knowledge and consideration of the person/people, circumstances of those involved.  If we can all just take a moment to acknowledge that we may not have all the information and leave room for that in our judgements, then we will also have room for being more compassionate towards others and began building a more compassionate world around us.