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Why we're so quick to judge others

Discussion in '"My Two Cents Worth"' started by LovebirdsFlying, Nov 10, 2019.

  1. LovebirdsFlying

    LovebirdsFlying My husband drew this cartoon of me. Staff Member Red Team - Moderator Supporter

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    Today just before church service started, an argument broke out among a certain group of people who work closely with each other. I was not involved in it; I only witnessed it. I won't give details because I'm not trying to gossip or slam anybody. I'm only trying to use the incident to apply some observations.

    One woman in particular was coming off as pouty and oversensitive, reading between the lines, letting emotions rule her thinking, taking things way too personally, and carrying the situation to far greater extremes than it needed to be. Efforts to calm her down and soothe her ruffled feathers were only answered with snark. In short, it would be easy to say she was acting like a spoiled four-year-old. I doubt anybody who was present (including her own husband) would disagree with that statement.

    I'd like to point out that if some of my family members had seen this happen, they would have been quick to elbow me in the ribs. "See? That's how it looks when you act like that. Annoying, isn't it?" Well, yes, I do see, and giving me an "I told you so" isn't very productive. So I'm glad they weren't there to do that. It's true, what irks us most in other people is usually the very thing we need to work on in ourselves. Those are my weak spots too. They way she was acting, I have been guilty of myself, many, many, many times. I doubt anybody who knows me (including my own husband) would disagree with that statement.

    As the lady in question quite petulantly insisted, she has a right to her feelings. And this is true. That's one thing I've learned in life. We are indeed allowed to feel whatever we do feel, even if they are negative emotions. Of course she has a right to feel that way.

    But I would then be tempted to ask, so what if she (or I, or anyone) does have a right to feel that way? Because the next thing I've learned in life is, emotional reasoning is a cognitive distortion. "I'm afraid of you; therefore you are dangerous." "I'm hurt; therefore you're being mean to me." No, not necessarily. Feelings aren't facts. I may feel like I've got butterflies in my stomach, but I'm sure an x-ray would reveal no actual butterflies. Also, while feelings are 100% OK to have, we don't get to act on them just any old way. For example, while anger is a natural human emotion, it's not acceptable to deal with that anger by hauling off and pounding somebody. No matter how much we may feel like it.

    In my experience, we need to learn to balance emotions with logical reasoning. We don't want to tilt too far in one direction or the other. All logic and no emotion, and you don't have any heart or soul. All emotion and no logic, and at best you're erratic and subject to whim.

    So here, I think, is the reason my immediate reaction ran along the lines of, "Gee, some people's grandchildren are more mature than she's acting." I get that way myself. Why did I instantly want to judge her?

    Because, just for a split second, it feels good. If I can observe some bad behavior in somebody else, at a time when I am *not* indulging in it myself, then I feel virtuous. When we judge others, we are telling ourselves and them, "I am better than that."

    And no, we're not. That's why Jesus Christ said not to do it.
     
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  2. eleos1954

    eleos1954 God is Love Supporter

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    James 4:11-12

    11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

    If you try to reason with your brother or sister and they are receptive then good ... if not ... then just walk away.

    I am thankful all judgement is up to Christ ;o)
     
  3. public hermit

    public hermit social troglodyte Supporter

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    I wonder what we mean when we say we have a right to our feelings. What kind of "right" would that be? It's not really a God-given right, like the right to be treated with dignity or the right to not be wantonly harmed. It's not really a "right," except in the sense you can't help but have feelings. "I have a right to my feelings," simply means they're my feelings. It would be like saying, "I have a right to my indigestion." What it can't mean is that what I believe on account of my feelings is, in fact, true. No offense to people with feelings, but that's not a right.

    Amen.
     
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  4. LovebirdsFlying

    LovebirdsFlying My husband drew this cartoon of me. Staff Member Red Team - Moderator Supporter

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    In the lady’s defense, I find few things more infuriating than having someone try to “reason” me out of my feelings. I recall once when my cat saw that I was upset. Maybe I didn’t have any good reason for that mood, but I was in it. He didn’t judge or criticize. He just jumped up into my lap, nuzzled in, and started purring. Any human in the family probably would have tried to explain to me how wrong I was to feel as I did. The cat’s actions were a whole lot more effective. Not that the humans should jump into my lap and purr, but it would be nice if they thought like the cat was thinking. Comfort first. Reason later.

    By definition, emotion isn’t always rational. Try to answer someone’s raw feelings with cold logic, and you’re speaking two different languages. You’re going to get “you don’t understand,” and the emotional state will only escalate. A person caught in emotion needs empathy first—which was attempted, but she rejected it because it didn’t come sooner.

    She needed to self-soothe before the group could make any progress on resolving the issue. Sometimes that happens with my husband and me. If one of us is getting too upset about something, we need to back off until we can both discuss it calmly. And no, that “one of us” isn’t always me. :)
     
  5. coffee4u

    coffee4u Well-Known Member

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    Did anyone while trying to calm her down, validate her feelings? Oftentimes people just want their feelings acknowledged. "You were hurt/taken advantage of/ lied to" Whatever it was. Once that is done often this takes a lot of wind out of the indignant sails. Then the person can be calmed perhaps with a cup of tea or coffee and once reasonable then another point of view can be gently tried, but how this is received depends on the person and what actually happened.
     
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  6. ChicanaRose

    ChicanaRose Well-Known Member

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    Looks like the cat got it right. :)
     
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