Looking Down on Other People: Another View

Most of us have a hard time staying tolerant of others and wish we could be a bit less judgmental.

I am not referring here to our opinions of those who are actively cruel to other people.

Instead, I mean the ways  we judge people who seem to afflict us, though they are not directly hurting us or others.

Nonetheless, we feel offended, thinking them perhaps superficial, unintelligent, boring, vain, or clueless in whatever realms we wish they would find a clue.

Of course, some of us are rather proud of these judgments, saying that we do not “suffer fools well.”

This, in turn, provides an ample opportunity for other people to judge us as tactless, self-important cynics.

Why change this?

First, disdain polarizes discourse, leading to the inability of people to see any wisdom in the perspective of the other person.

(Election seasons provide abundant exposure to the ways that people stereotype opposition and thereby block the chance to learn from each other. )

Another cost is the tendency for harsh judgments of others to seep into our close relationships, even those with our children and spouses.

A more trivial but pervasive cost is that intolerance tends to rain on our days with  a frigid sprinkle of small irritations.

The most unrecognized cost of such contempt is that intolerance blocks a person’s growth.

More often than not it masks the potential transition from poor self-esteem to gratitude for ones gifts, which then allows for appreciative acknowledgement of the unique gifts of others.

In other words, those who can most easily find the gifts in others are also those most humbly grateful for their own talents.

The humility part stems from our recognition that none of us made ourselves who we are, but are instead challenged with the question of what to do with who we are.

Thus grateful, we are free to notice the differing knacks of others.

When we notice deficiencies in some dimension of another person, it provides a chance to realize that we are perhaps particularly talented in that particular dimension.

This in turn frees us to find the areas in which the same person may exceed us in ability.

When someone throws you the opportunity to experience disdain, convert it into a clue for self-appreciation.

Then, return the favor by celebrating the differences among us, the variations that fill the world with millions of sparks of light, all shining a bit differently.

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This entry was posted on Friday, February 8th, 2013 at 12:07 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Looking Down on Other People: Another View”

  1. Linda tucker Says:

    I like that perspective – and realize it is something lots of us struggle with.

    I have observed that whenever I need to go into a huge discount store, with the bright fluorescent lights and all the stuff and what looks like, sometimes, desperate people, I will become very uncomfortable before I go in. Finally figured out that I was uncomfortable because I felt overwhelmed, separate and judgmental in those kinds of stores. No one was doing anything to me, most of the time,but I was running around in my own head making judgments based upon very superficial information: I was irritating myself. And, that sitting in judgment separated me from the human race; some smarter than me, some not as smart, some better looking , some not as, some fat, some skinny etc. and I was left feeling lonely and despairing and separate – with a grouchy look on my face and wanting to eat something sweet and disgusting.

    . One way I have broken that pattern, is to connect in a friendly casual way with someone in the store, and more times than not, I re-establish my connection to the human race – rich, poor, overweight, underweight, smarter than me, not as smart as me. I am reminded that in the end, we were all walking the planet at the same time and I walk out feeling more at peace and not as sad.

  2. Dr. Rick Blum Says:

    Hi Linda,
    Thanks for the encouraging feedback — thoughtful and insightful as always!

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