Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover – We All Have Our Different Stories
Canada is known to be one of the world’s most multicultural countries, and everywhere you go, you will likely encounter with a cultural background that is different from yours. Often, when we meet such people, we unconsciously create an invisible barrier that prevents us from reaching out and eventually learning that we might have a lot of things in common with those people than we originally thought.
We are often quick to judge that there is no getting past these cultural differences. We are too hasty to think to ourselves, “What is the point anyways? They would not know what my culture is like and I have no idea of what their culture is like.” We jump to conclusions that there are bound to be disagreements anyway. In doing so, we miss out in learning about other cultures or worse yet we miss out on what could be perhaps lifelong friendships.
Sometimes, though it is not a cultural difference at all, but the moment when we feel other people are different from us in other ways, we fast-track to the conclusion that there is something wrong.
If you find yourself making silent judgments about other people even before you get to know them, perhaps it is time to make an effort to eradicate that behaviour.
Be conscious of your thoughts.
At times, you may not even be fully aware that you are making conclusions about the people you meet. Perhaps you tend to chock it up to human instinct. However, the first step to stop judging other people is to be conscious that you are doing so. Watch yourself. Perhaps you succumb to the behaviour when you are with your friends or family who are quick to judge others. Try to attend an event in your neighbourhood on your own—maybe a tree-planting effort or any volunteer event—and see if you are quick to judge when you meet new people.
Let go of stereotypes.
Stereotyping may seem acceptable in pop culture and comedy, but in real life, it is best to get rid of this habit. Not everyone will fit into a stereotype—no matter how hard you convince yourself that they do. A square peg does not fit a round hole, and there is nothing wrong with that. Every individual is their own person. Once you let go of the stereotypes you have learned in films and TV shows, you are ready to embrace people who are not like you.
Give other people a chance to share their story.
There is that adage that birds of the same feather flock together. Oftentimes, we find a sense of belongingness in people who are most like us—whether it is similarities in culture, beliefs, interests, likes, dislikes, habits, behaviour, you name it. Once you encounter people who do not share your passion for Literature, for example, you tend to be dismissive right away. For instance, you work day and night to finish a term paper on Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, and they would rather rely on Google, everyone’s best friend. You are quick to conclude they are lazy and incompetent. However, you did not give them a chance to explain their side. Maybe literature is really not their thing, and they excel more in Physics or Calculus, which can be subjects you will need their help on.
Do a self-examination.
At times, some people are quick to judge others to mask the insecurity or envy they have. Stop and take time to think about the common denominator that prompts you to judge other people. Do you have a classmate who seem to cruise in all of your classes and still end up with the highest grades in class while you study hard and don’t even come close to those marks? You are quick to judge that someone else is helping him or her with homework and other school projects. You might not know that that classmate is trying to stay positive and doing the best he or she can in school to gain a scholarship to support future college studies due to his or her parents’ messy divorce that ended up in both parties’ financial ruin.
The next time you feel yourself judging other people, stop. Remember that everyone has their own story. Just allow yourself to listen to that story.