Judgement, I think, is genuinely one of the hardest parts of the human condition. Learning about it, how to use and exercise it, learning its effect etc because every person is different therefore every person engages and interprets differently and you go through life learning and adjusting, it’s never ending.
And you can learn a lot about people from these interactions, I think from the way they phrase themselves but that becomes ever harder to judge in the digital age so how’s best to respond when you feel judged or like a negative feeling has been triggered in you because of someone else’s comment? Believe me, I’m first to get defensive and it’s something I’ve really had to learn to curb over time, that combating anger with more anger ends in misery. Especially now that I have a growing online platform as well, it’s something I’m becoming ever more aware of. I’m also really glad I have this now because it opens your eyes to interaction and others perception.
I had a comment on an Instagram post this week which, shall we say, rubbed me up the wrong way. I was immediately angry because the way the comment was written and put across was condescending and presumptuous and I’ve been trying more than anything to create a positive, welcoming and open environment to encourage discussion and provoke thinking. Yet, here was this one comment that seemed really to be the opposite of that entirely. And what annoyed me more was that it could’ve been a great opening to an important and current discussion that needs to be had but because of the way it was put across it seemed to rule out chance for discussion altogether and instead almost put me up for trial (to be dramatic).
But I didn’t know their story…
So instead of ranting back immediately, I took my time to compose my response. I didn’t know that persons mood, reasoning for writing it or what’s happening in their life. And I can’t stress how important that is – knowing to a persons story. We so easily, too easily jump to conclusions and just assume and I didn’t want to respond in that way. Benefit of the doubt, right? But we also tend to reflect where we are and our headspace onto other people and hold that as our expectation for people, and I can bet you 9 times out of 10 it’s not in consensus with the reality of that persons own mindset. And what’s worse is no matter what, we then let that effect our judgement of them and who they are, when really you may not be more wrong. So instead of jumping down their throat or responding with anger, I responded openly, positively and welcomingly reflecting the way I’d like discussions to happen and the vibe I want to send out.
Vibes and energy are also massively a part of this. When someone gives off a hostile vibe and you’re in the room with them, you can feel it, its oppressive and people notice. And it transpires in, an albeit less concentrated way, online as well. When you go to someone’s Instagram page or read their tweets you immediately start to form an idea of their energy and what they’re like and you uncontrollably have a reaction to that. And the influence of that is tremendous, in both a good and bad way. Being online can be scary and intimidating, so can interactions in real life, and if you’re approaching things positively in your mind it shows on the outside – from the way you hold yourself to the way you look at people. Whilst this may not seem impactful, this energy can really effect people whether it’s the courage it gives them to talk to you or someone else, approach you or even lead them onto create or do something incredible.
And it can start with the smallest things like saying hi to people, smiling at them or even offering them some kind of opportunity to talk. If that is within your power, even if it seems insignificant, I promise it could change a lot for people. Gratitude and positivity goes a long, long way…