We pick up where we left off last week with our story of an encounter with a dog:

Imagine you are walking through the woods and you see a small dog. It looks cute and friendly. You approach and move to pet the dog. Suddenly it snarls and tries to bite you. The dog no longer seems cute and you feel fear and possibly anger. Then, as the wind blows, the leaves on the ground are carried away and you see the dog has one of its legs caught in a trap. Now, you feel compassion for the dog. You know it became aggressive because it is in pain and is suffering (Psychologist and meditation teacher, Tara Brach).

This week we start with #6:

  1. Reframe. When someone does something you don’t like, perhaps think of it as they are simply solving a problem in a different way than you would. Or maybe they have a different timetable than you do. This may help you be more open-minded and accepting of their behavior. The Dalai Lama says: “People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.”
  2. Look at your own behavior. Sometimes, we may be judging someone for something that we do ourselves, or have done. For example, the next time you find yourself yelling at someone while you’re driving, ask yourself, “Have I ever driven poorly?” Of course, we all have.
  3. Educate yourself. When people do things that are annoying, they may have a hidden disability. For example, some people with poor social skills may have Asperger’s syndrome. So if someone’s invading your personal space (as someone with Asperger’s might), remember again, it’s not about you. Albert Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
  4. Give the person the benefit of the doubt. Someone once told me, no one wakes up in the morning and says, “I think I’m going to be a jerk today.” Most of us do the best we can with the resources we have at the moment.
  5. Feel good about you. Brene´ Brown says: “If I feel good about my parenting, I have no interest in judging other people’s choices. If I feel good about my body, I don’t go around making fun of other people’s weight or appearance. We’re hard on each other because were using each other as a launching pad out of our own perceived deficiency.”

And finally, remember that judging a person does not define who they are, it defines who you are.

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