“There really is no way we can know the heart, the intentions, or the circumstances of someone who might say or do something we find reason to criticize. Thus, judge not” ~ Thomas S. Monson
I came across this quote at a very important time this past week. Lately, I have been struggling with my life not panning out the way that I believed at this point it should be. I have been struggling with coming to terms that I may not finish my education at the time I was originally supposed to. I have been struggling with coming to terms with a new life plan I may need to inact upon my family. I have been struggling with how to cope with all the change around me, both physically and mentally.
I feel that in this world it is so much easier to pass judgment on people before we even do our research to understand why they make the decisions that they do. We so quickly judge a person on the decisions they might have needed to make for their lives before knowing their circumstances, their struggles, and their own ideals that led them to their decision. It is quicker to label someone’s choices as wrong when they don’t coincide with what we would have done for ourselves. But do we not remember that someone else’s life is not our own?
When my fiancé and I announced the pregnancy of our son we of course heard a menagerie of things. You’re too young. This is foolish. Your lives will no longer go the way you want it to be. You’ve ruined your future. This is a mistake. The negative far outweighed the positive.
What we would have loved to hear was: This is a blessing. Congratulations. You will find a way to make this work. You can do this as long as you go through it knowing it may not be easy, but it will be worth it. All things worth it deserve the struggle.
Most importantly I would have loved to have heard: You will be okay. This baby will be loved. You will find your way.
The positives, though their, were shadowed by the negative. No one ever questioned why we chose to keep our baby for our reasons, but instead why we would have dared to keep him. No one ever questioned our intentions, our plans, why now. No one thought to inquire why we thought, at our age now, that this was the time to endure this life journey. No one thought to ask our circumstances that could have played a part. It was much easier to judge.
Truth: The moment that test gave me two lines I felt relief.
Why? Because I was in a state of panic from receiving a diagnosis that I thought would end my life. I was in a state of panic because my life had just been turned around and it felt like my world was crashing. I was in a state of panic because not only did I feel like my life was being ripped away from me, but also that I’d never get to live through the moments I was about to enter.
But it’s much quicker to judge and give an unwanted opinion rather than try to understand the situation.
Lately, I’ve truly been struggling. I have chosen to leave the majority of it to myself in fear that I’ll get the same negative views on my families life choices. I’m fearful of the comments that could be made when I speak up of my troubles. I’m fearful of the judgement that will inevitably be passed when we speak of our choices, our plans, our hopes for our future when no one knows the backstory, the thought, the research we’ve done before making these decisions. I fear my own decisions because the negativity has swallowed me whole in a way I did not think possible. It has brought on a sense of doubt that I have never felt before. A sense of doubt that I am now struggling to break.
I never thought that planning MY life, and the life that MY family would live would come with so much unwanted opinion. Yes, we had a baby young. But did he struggle? No. Do you know the real reason as to why he is such a blessing to me? Maybe, maybe not. The real question is do you ever stop to think and ask why we are living the way we are living? Do you?
I might not finish my education on time. I feel guilty and ashamed because those who viewed my son as a mistake will simply use that as the excuse to why I am not fulfilling my potential in a timely manner. That could not be far from the truth. This makes me fearful. Fearful that I will get backlash and shamed judgement because people who we look to for reassurance and acceptance will simply place their own views and opinions on a matter they truly know nothing about.
Why do we think it is okay to judge someone without even knowing their situation?
And we ask ourselves, why should we care what people think? And yes, why should we? But a basic human need is acceptance. A basic human need is compassion.
When we judge people on an issue we know nothing about we take those needs away. When we tell people their decisions have made them failures we strip them of their free-will without even discerning their need to fulfill their wants and goals. We take away their confidence without understanding their reasoning.
Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
We have been told this saying since kindergarten and yet have fallen short on understanding basic human compassion.
So, in closing. Someone else’s life decisions are not an area meant for judgement with lack of understanding. Of course, guidance and counseling are essential, but thinking you understand someone else’s life before actually understanding are not okay. Just because someone is not following the same path as someone else does not make it wrong. Stop comparing people. Stop comparing situations. Nothing is identical in this life. Everything holds a slight amount of uniqueness. It’s what keeps life such an adventure.