By: Zara Maqbool
Just a few days back I saw an Eid picture of Ali Zafar and his wife where the latter was wearing a ‘bindi’ on her forehead. The post was heavily criticized by many, calling her a ‘Hindu’ amongst other things, till today when I was searching for the picture to send along with my post; I realized the actor had removed the picture. A few days ago, many people for a photograph she had shared with a male actor attacked Hareem Farooq a TV actress, where the male actor was conveniently spared whereas Hareem had to hear all kinds of things.
When did we become so judgmental? Yes all societies have a mix of people, some minding their own business whereas others enjoying meddling in everyone else’s business but theirs. But I feel that social media has played a pivotal role in actually encouraging people to become judgmental and hypercritical. People make it their duty to share any controversial picture or video on their social media pages contributing to scandals and rumours.
We all make judgments on each other. Almost everyone does, overtly or covertly but being judgmental is a different ball game altogether. The occasional spurt of self righteousness that we all experience is still acceptable but some of us have self appointed ourselves as moral judges of the world, passing harsh criticism on people while having no capacity for introspection on who we are and what we do.
I was reading up on this topic and I came across a very interesting article on how to be judgmental in a way that is positive and would not harm others.
For that we literally have to learnt to be empathic, to really try being in the other person’s world and see where they are coming from. Mostly we pass judgments without seeing the other person’s frame of reference and just projecting our own values onto them. We want to impose our own value system on others without giving them the benefit of the doubt that they did not get the values from the same place we did. Does Ayesha Fazli wearing a ‘bindi’ turn her into less of a Muslim? Maybe for you the outer look is very important to define your value system but for her it isn’t? How about giving her the chance to live her life through her lens and not ours?
I sometimes feel that when we pass such strong and harsh judgments on others it is merely because it’s our own fear that we might share the same value system too. By projecting “the so called bad” onto others we perhaps disown the very same thing that might be part of our own psyche.
It’s very important for us to be responsible for what this judgment will mean for the other person and take complete ownership of hurting another person’s sensibilities.
We also need to maybe start judging the sin and not the sinner. Its like if your child lies once you start calling him a liar. So can we try being less judgmental? For starters let’s take a conscious mindful step to stop ourselves before we start having critical thoughts about other person’s actions. Simply stop the thought! And maybe try saying, ‘we all have our own life script’! Maybe that can turn that negative thought in to a more empathic one for the other person. Another thing that I learned in my work as a counselor was this amazing line, “it’s not about you!” and it’s so true because like I said it’s our own discomfort that makes us pass such harsh statements about others. 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.”
At the end of the day it’s all about feeling good about you. I watched a Ted Talk by Brene´ Brown where she says: “We’re hard on each other because were using each other as a launching pad out of her own perceived deficiency.” So let’s try focusing all this energy onto us and grow as human beings rather than stunting our own growth in the name of self-righteousness.