golden rule

365 Challenge: Day 34 – Judgmental

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Judgmental: having or displaying an excessively critical point of view

Today is gonna be a tough one… while I will be honest in everything I include in my post, I wonder (now as I begin writing this) how much I will actually reveal versus holding back any thoughts. I know I shouldn’t hold back, but conveying what one means without looking like a jerk, in a small amount of words on these posts, is difficult.

Judgmental could mean biased. Judgmental could mean racist. Judgmental could mean critical. In sticking with the definition I first found when I went to Google, I will address my nature to be critical… perhaps excessively critical… when it comes to standards. While I am very impartial when it comes to listening and hearing people out before I make decisions, there is a part of me that is very judgmental when it comes to comparing someone else to myself. And to be honest, it is probably my absolute worst characteristic.

Ever since I was a small boy, I have had incredibly high standards for most things in my life. I’ve also allowed those expectations and standards to be applied to the people in my life, whether you are a close friend or family member, a colleague, or someone new I meet. Having high standards is a good thing most of the time. But unfortunately, I often set the standard so high that few, if any, can meet it. And we all know that leads to disappointment… and judgment. My philosophy had always been you should do what I want and I should do what you want. Whaaaat??????

Over the years, I’ve whittled down this trait; however, many years ago, as the perfectionist I was (am?), I felt I could do no wrong and I was the best. I was not my school’s valedictorian. I did not win major awards. So Captain Obvious should have known better. But when it came to behaviors… to being fair, kind, consistent, thoughtful, orderly, structured, engaged… I always thought I knew best. And I wouldn’t stop there. In my head, never outwardly to someone, I’d silently judge others for not living up to those high standards and expectations. My thought pattern: “If I can do it this way, and I know better, so should you.” What an A$$hole I could be!

I’d like to say it was in the vain of wanting people to be the best, and maybe it is now; however, in the past, a small part of me was happy to know that I did something better and that I had achieved a higher sphere of thinking. Sick, I know. I’d slap myself for you, if I could. But in my defense, I really tried to do the right thing and be as good as I could be, and I also wanted everyone else to be that way, too. It wasn’t purely a negative aspect… I was critical because I cared enough to want things to be right. Or “right” as in how I saw them. Wasn’t always reality.

It certainly made things difficult for me. Relationships ended. Or never began. I’d meet someone, start talking, (s)he’d say something I thought was wrong and I was done. I’d judged the person over minutia.

Perhaps he said he didn’t like mystery books. Or she said she’d never go to Hawaii. Silly little things, snap judgment on my part… and I’d move on. And in a relationship, if the other person didn’t have an equal level of contribution, or perhaps dated more people in the past than I had… I was super critical over the whole thing. Few could meet my standards.

My mother called me out for this a lot. She’d tell me I’d end up alone if I couldn’t learn to be tolerant and forgive. If I couldn’t be more open-minded about people’s different ways of doing things. She’d throw 1 or 2 things at me that I’d done incredibly wrong or when I’d been foolish… helping me realize I wasn’t all that perfect.

As the years have gone by, I am a lot less judgmental. But there’s still part of me that will have an immediate reaction to something, and because it’s different than what I believe or know, I am critical and judgmental of them or the situation. Admitting it has been good for me. Recognizing my faults has been helpful. Growing older can make you less sensitive over these things. In the end, I leave this post with one thought for which I could be judged.

Despite everything I’m saying and that I’ve learned, I am still judgmental over certain things. And as hard as I’ve controlled my thoughts and reactions, keeping them internal now, I am still embarrassed over it. But I am smart enough to know it is a small piece of who I am, and over time, it becomes less and less. Yet even more importantly, I am not a hypocrite — as there is no one I am more critical over than myself. And since I fairly dish out that judgment equally to myself and others, perhaps it’s not so bad if I hold myself to the same standards as I hold everyone else:

“Be good people. Do unto others as you would want done on to you. Apply the Golden Rule.”

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post.

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365 Challenge: Day 8 – Considerate

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Considerate: careful not to cause inconvenience or hurt to others

I am considerate, probably to a fault, in most situations. It’s how I was brought up, instinctual at this point. It isn’t something I have to remind myself to be or do:

  1. Whenever I’m passing through a doorway, I let the other person go first. And on the way out, I turn around to verify there’s no one else before I let go of the door. Who just walks through a door and assumes the next person will catch it? If you don’t, you’re rude.
  2. I always say hello and goodbye when greeting someone. It’s not just the right thing to do, it sets the tone. If you ignore someone, (s)he may get defensive. If you forget, (s)he may think less of you. Why not use a couple of words to make it brighter?
  3. Toilet seat always gets put back down.
  4. I serve someone else before I serve myself.

My momma taught me the right way of doing things. And no, I’m not from the South. Born in Florida, but most folks tell me that doesn’t count.

But it goes beyond the “trivial” things I’ve noted above. I think about how my actions will impact someone else. It doesn’t mean I always choose the right thing, but I definitely make a conscious choice to do the wrong thing rather than it just happening without my oversight and/or control. I always know it’s wrong. Not like something happens and I respond, “oh, I didn’t know that would hurt you.”

It’s important to think about others and not just your own needs, wants and desires. I’m by no means a “goody two-shoes” – sidebar, where did that term come from? Someone please tell me so I don’t have to look it up myself – but I’m definitely only one step removed from that wonderful little shine.

It takes effort for me not to be considerate. I find it hard to believe someone is born or taught to be inconsiderate. Maybe if someone took advantage of you once too often, you might become less than considerate as your general approach. I suppose I could understand that type of learned behavior, but if I realized that about myself, I’d make an effort to course correct it somehow. Not everyone is that lucky though, and I realize so.

People do take advantage of others. Letting someone else keep paying for things. Doing less than your fair share of the effort or work. I couldn’t do that without thinking poorly of myself. I start out with every relationship is 50/50, whether it’s a boss/employee, family, friend or spouse/partner. When you cook, I clean the dishes. When you do the laundry, I fold it. When I repair something, I expect you to clean up the leftover mess.

That said, balance moves from time to time. When one person is super busy, the other can pick up the slack. These are things that should just be normal, natural, you know, consideration being given and applied.

When is it acceptable NOT to be considerate? Ah, tough question. What if someone else doesn’t do their fair share of work, can you really just leave the dishes sitting there for them to do when you know they have to get up early? Do you perhaps be less than honest or lie if someone has a habit of asking too many favors and never returning them? This is probably where I can be less than considerate. I have a bit of a policy such that when you do something hurtful or neglectful or thoughtless to me, I have been known to consider behaving in the same manner. Not always. And not after just one instance. But when I feel like I’m doing more of the work or putting in more of the effort, then I will eventually pull away and let you suffer on your own – assuming it’s not something serious.

Is that the right response? Should we always live that golden rule and not retaliate? It depends… some people learn by observation, some by action and impact. If you’ve told someone what they’re doing is inconsiderate, and they still do it, do you really, really, really have to do the right thing? Whether it’s the right response or not, I tend to think it’s fair to stop doing the right thing for that person on a go-forward basis.

I was tempted to start chatting a bit about phone, email and text message etiquette and consideration, but I think I’ll save that for another whole sub-topic under communication. After all, it’s only fair and considerate that I keep each post focused and of proper length, right?

And in honor of being a good considerate chum, if there’s a characteristic you think I should talk about, please ping me! It’s not only about what I think. 😊