Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

The Susan Magdalane Boyle story is so inspiring, and her rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream” is mesmerizing. Here is an excerpt from her web page: “For one brief moment, vanity itself collapsed. As that ancient maxim, ‘never judge a book by its cover,’ clanked around the globe with speedy viral intensity, it was as if the world was about to offer its first unspoken apology for prizing beauty above all else.”

Lately this whole idea about the judgments we make has been clanking around in my head. Everywhere I turn, I’m seeing and learning about what judging others – and ourselves for that matter – does to us.

Growing up, I was sometimes called “stuck-up.” I wasn’t sure if the judgments people made were based on the fact that my family was wealthy or that I was a dancer and my carriage reflected that image, if it was a protective facade I had fashioned to cover the pain I felt, or if I was just, well, unacceptable in general.

As the years went by, I thought I’d shed that image. After all, I’ve lived a modest lifestyle, have retired from dance, and have really lived a relationship-based life of connection and increasing understanding of others and myself.

But the other day someone told me that I had a very off-putting look about me, or way of carrying myself. (It’s a blur what she actually said, and I’m not going to call her for a direct quote.) 🙂 It brought me back emotionally to the hurt of those days of being labeled as something that didn’t resonate with what I felt on the inside.

I know I’m not alone. No doubt you’ve experienced the judgment of others, have been characterized unfairly, misunderstood, and likely still are by some. I’m also sure that you’ve stood as judge over someone else, just as I have. And to be fair, we do need to make certain judgments in order to navigate life successfully.

But I’ve come to understand that I must be merciful toward others in order to receive mercy. I like to remember to be in the questioning-space when I’m tempted to judge, but I am often not quiet enough, or in-the-moment enough, to navigate to that place.

I’ve been studying a method called “Buying Facilitation®,” pioneered by Sharon Drew Morgan. In fact, I recently wrote an article for Skin Deep Magazine and did an interview with her that I planned to include in my piece. But she said things to me during the interview like, “Is this question about the article, or are you just trying to get free business advice? I do charge for consulting you know.” I was so put off by her attitude and telephone demeanor that I decided not to include the interview in the article.

But I kept receiving her blog posts by email every couple of days, and was still gleaning some good info. Then the other day I got a post from her that included this excerpt:

“I suspect I’ve done a bad job helping mainstream sales understand how Buying Facilitation® offers sellers tools to help buyers navigate through their behind-the-scenes decisions and why it’s a necessary part of the sales process. I’m guessing that it might have taken a non-Asperger’s person less time (with more success) to get the thinking into the field. Maybe someone less pushy, or less obnoxious, less direct, or less annoying – all traits of my Asperger’s that I’ve spent decades learning to contain (sometimes successfully, when I’m aware), but are impossible to eliminate.”

So, there you have it. I’ve been judged and I’ve judged. Her back-story is that she has a disease that affects her social interactions. (Who’d have guessed?)

A while back, I listened to a CD by Dr. Wayne Dyer with co-host Byron Katie. She is a hoot! And the truth she tells has changed my thinking in so many ways:

“Our job is unconditional love. The job of everyone else in our life is to push our buttons.”

Mother Teresa says: “If you judge people, you have no time to love them. ”

Can you believe the sermon title at church this week was “Judging Others,” and one of the key scriptures used was from Romans, which says this: “Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself.”

Sometimes it’s important to remember that inner loveliness and well-being are just as important as physical beauty and wellness.

Thanks for reading. See you at the spa!