Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Struggling to lack judgment

One of the things I learned after moving to Colorado was that I couldn't change many of the people or circumstances around me, so I had to learn to change myself. I don't mean to fundamentally change who I am, or who I want to be, but to change the way I react to and perceive the world around me. I'm a firm believer that you either change things or learn to deal with them as they are (in the meantime, at least... I do not believe in complacency). It's high time I started living my life, fully, by that conviction.

Here's where I'm falling short: my judgment of others. I don't do so outright much of the time, mostly because it's not my place. If my friend tells me about a problem or a dalliance or something I don't agree with, I'm mostly there to listen and not make assumptions or tell them my opinion of their action or situation (unless they ask, of course). I try to accept people and give the benefit of the doubt (however, I cannot say I give strangers and acquaintances the same consideration in these terms as my close friends). The problem is that, in my head, I am judging. I am formulating an opinion about you based on your actions. And I need to stop.

My biggest challenge with this right now is my judgment of people who *aren't* helping with the fire situation in Boulder (more on this later, I can't even muster the emotional energy to write about it). I've spent my last three days off volunteering for the relief effort through the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. We've been helping both people and their pets by running a donation drive; the response has been amazing. I truly live in one of the most generous and willing communities ever, and that's what makes the inaction of those who don't help out even more egregious. I'm not saying I deserve a medal for this - I'm a flawed person and volunteering doesn't right any of my wrongs. But, goddamn, does it feel good to give back after spending so many years in self-indulgent ignorance of the outside world. I think what bothers me most are the excuses: "I'm too busy," "I work," "I have a family." Every day I volunteer with people who have all of those responsibilities, yet never complain of not having enough time. I stand at work all day, often in uncomfortable high heels, and my feet fucking hurt and I'm exhausted by being nice to strangers who could give a fuck all day. But spending five hours outside sorting through people's donated clothing didn't feel like a chore; it felt incredible. But that's me, my experience. I have no right to judge others, especially if the action doesn't translate into their ethos.

I have to separate my own personal fulfillment from that of others. I need to stop being frustrated with others and deal with my feelings of resentment in a constructive way. Does that mean I stop being friends with people I judge? I don't know. I think that decision is not one to take lightly but is definitely situational. In this case, I think my resentments are founded on prior experiences, ones I need to let go of or will eat away at me forever (and at my positive perception of an individual, which is unfair to them). People need the chance to change and act in their own way, without my judgment (silent or not).

I should take heed of the quote from Buddha that I myself put in my Facebook profile: "Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace."

Time to take my own advice and leave my opinions of others at the door. My opinion of myself is what matters and it will only get better as I work toward a lack of judgment.

“Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.”

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