In my previous post about rushing to judgments, I said that I was going to try to stop being judgmental. I've been trying, and failing, and trying again. I was trying this:
I'm doing it by focusing on a person's eyes and facial expressions before I do anything else. I have been trying to avoid looking at what people are wearing or how their bodies look, and to try to see them as people first.
So, that's not working. :(
I think it's not working because judging is a strong habit. For instance, I was at a playground this weekend and there were other parents around. I caught myself several times making up stories about them; this one was a cab driver, that one was an ex-punk rocker, this one was taking zumba classes. Ugh. Each time I realized what I was doing I stopped myself. But it was very discouraging.
The 'eye contact' thing isn't working for, I think, several reasons. First I think people are uncomfortable making eye contact in non-social situations like elevators or train stations. Also, some people see me making eye contact and they expect a conversation. I seem to be scaring people.
For now, I'm trying to simply be aware of when I'm doing it. Hopefully this will give me the practice I need to stop judging, and open up to the possibility of empathy.
A recent trip to New York City reminded me something about my habits. See, growing up there I learned the habit of looking down. Looking up, or looking around, was something I believed that only tourists did. Well now here I am, not as a tourist, but not looking down. I broke the habit, and now I look all around.
On the subway, I wasn't looking where I was going (yes, I wasn't looking down) and I bumped someone, hard. I turned and apologized, and she gave me a look. The look was, "uh, why are you apologizing?" which just shows how long I've been NOT a city-dweller. Yet another New York City habit broken. I don't assume that it's all-right to bump into people.
If I can break habits here, I can break them anywhere. :)
Have you ever broken a habit? Tell us about it.
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