Earlier this week I had another thought that I think builds on this idea. If I love someone, a friend or a relative for example, I wouldn't judge them based on their appearance. If they looked good, I was happy for them. I've noticed that sometimes, when I see another person who's appearance is different from mine, I confess I've had thoughts of either judgement or jealousy. Instead of looking past what I was seeing (which is what I would do if I truly loved them, as a friend or a relative) I would be focusing on it.
This never happens with friends or relatives; just with people I don't know. People walking down the street or strangers at a party. For friends or relatives, I don't immediately judge them. I simply note it and move on, because I love them.
Of course, now that I see the behavior I'm trying to fix it. For the last week I've been consciously attempting to not judge people I don't know based on their appearance. I'm using two different 'tools' to accomplish this.
Tool #1 - Simpler; I don't talk about what a person is wearing.
When meeting a stranger, the way a person looks can tell you a lot about them. I'm looking at what they wear, their weight, their skin color, their apparent gender, their clothing appearance (shabby or pressed), their jewelry. I look. In the past, I have even used what a person is wearing to open up a conversation with "Oh, what a lovely necklace". I'm consciously trying to stop all of that by opening up every conversation with something NOT related to their looks.
It's hard but it seems to be working - it helps me to focus on what the person introducing us is saying like, "oh, have you met Bob, he's my friend from Georgia." or "Hi I'm Pamela I'm here with Manny from the city." By staying focused on them as a person and not on what they are wearing (good or bad), I can distract myself from looking at and therefore thinking about their appearance.
Here's a great article I read recently on an example of this, talking about approaching little girls and NOT immediately complimenting them on how cute they are.
Tool #2 - Focus on how amazing the person is.
Everyone, all people in this world (no matter how fantastic their life is) are facing some kind of challenge in their lives. We all hurt. Also, we all are reminded regularly how much pain and suffering there is in this world. I find it amazing that each day we can put that all aside and live, and survive, and even thrive. I look at everyone and think that we are all just awesome people for managing this crazy thing we call life. We are all finding ways to meet challenges - from the horrors of war to the challenges of just getting out of bed in the morning.
You are amazing. Yes you, the person reading this blog post. You are awesome!
Just for you being you - it's TIME TO DANCE!!!