For as long as I could remember, as a child I was a clean slate. I saw people by their smiles, their reactions to the world around them. But throughout the tail end of elementary as I transitioned to a wealthier part of town, I began to be teased for the lack of branding on my clothes. I began to feel less worthy and could understand that there was something like class that distinguished me from my peers. Before, people were either nice or rude and I had very few lenses with which to view people. However with time and more knowledge, the characteristics of others were always in my face. More specifically physical characteristics screamed at me.
Being subjected to bullying and cyber bullying, I was called fat, really fat, ugly, worthless, friendless, and other personal attacks. I couldn’t stop seeing myself as a standard or a ruler with which I used to measure others. Every time I went about in my daily life, I was first consumed by fear. Were those eyes taking in how ugly I looked? Were those lips smirking at my physical insecurities? Were those people judging me of not being worthy of their time or attention? And so I went about my day without making eye contact, in fear of really being able to see into their soul that was judging me. At the same time, I felt terrible but when I did see someone I couldn’t help but automatically compare themselves with me. Time does heal all wounds but in their place are scars. Those scars are the remnants of judgement that still fleets through me sometimes. The voices are a lot smaller and more silent these days but I’m not proud that they still occur. Perhaps that’s why I was so scared before… that no matter what I did, people would be looking, judging, and calculating. I realized that even though I strive to be a good person, I still judge. No matter how hard I try to push it out, I still do. And from then on I realized I couldn’t change people from judging me or me from judging others. I could only change my reactions towards their judgement and myself, work on not judging others before I get to know who they are.
If someone judges you without getting to know your story or who you are, then they don’t deserve to be worthy or your time or affection. And if I don’t take the time to get to know someone without formulating thoughts then I’m a hypocrite.
Going through some months in university was one of the greatest experiences for me. I got to learn mind shattering things but most importantly, I got to understand what it’s like to be open minded and understanding. I used to throw around “walk in somebody else’s shoes” without knowing what it really meant. But from meeting people from all around the world at university and talking to people of different ages from the city, I have been introduced to so many different views that have sprouted from unique people and backgrounds. Now, instead of getting angry when someone is rude to me, I think of why they might be feeling that way. Maybe they’ve had a long day or they’re physically/emotionally drained. Or when someone angrily denounces my faith, I realize that they were brought up with certain beliefs and values. I look past the what people do and instead dive into the why they do the things they do. Focusing on the “why” can bridge the divide by connecting us through our actions and thoughts. I can’t expect people to behave the way I do because they’re not me! They have completely different thought process, have gone through completely different experiences, and were brought up by completely different people.