In the world today there are many different ways people live; whether it be their financial, educational, religious or health choices that differ, for each individual how they choose to live their life can vary greatly.
Yet no matter how different that livingness may look, and regardless of colour, sex or race, within we are all the same. So how is it, what is it in us that makes us judge, compare ourselves to, or criticise another?
Do we even notice that we are doing this, even in the slightest way, at a level that can be so insidious that we do not even recognise or we are not even aware that we are in any form of comparison or judgement? It can be a simple glance, a split second where that thought of being greater than another creeps in.
We are living in a world that seems to be less tolerant and more judgemental of others and the choices they make for their own lives. Each individual is judged for the colour of their skin, the way they dress, or do not dress, the religion they choose and the way they live within and from those choices. We have many different religions, all praying to the one God, yet each religion is judged and compared to another – all thinking our way is the way, that our God is a greater God – when at the end of the day, there is only one Heaven and one God.
I was recently made aware of acid attacks in the UK – people being disfigured because of the country they were born into. Bomb attacks, stabbings and shootings have been occurring more and more regularly – at times so often it barely gets a mention in the news, becoming a way of life, accepted, if I may say so. I was not aware that we ‘owned’ our country, nor that we had a right to deliberately disfigure, maim or kill another in such terrible, shocking and painful ways.
These are, of course, all extreme forms of judgement, but for me, what I am now feeling is, is it any different from the way I judge others? That if I look at another, thinking even in the slightest of ways that I am greater, then really am I any better than anyone else committing such atrocious and heinous crimes?
What gives me the right to think I am greater because I have made different choices? I may appear more ‘well-off,’ have a ‘better’ lifestyle or health and vitality, but who am I to separate myself from, or see myself as greater than another? Yet at times I have found myself doing just this. I was shocked when I felt the severity of this in my body, the arrogance I have held over another. It feels insidious and unsettling as I try to ignore and avoid the awareness that I am judging and placing myself above another. Then came the realisation that by doing this, seeing myself as greater than, better than or in a greater/luckier situation than another, I was actually contributing to the atrocities of the world – the same atrocities that I so despised.
We are all individuals, offering and reflecting our uniqueness to the world, a uniqueness that gives us all an opportunity to grow, develop and expand our own awareness, as well as others.
What if we began to love and accept ourselves in full, dropped our own walls of protection that we have built and let people see our own vulnerabilities and imperfections? Are we willing to learn from and see others as an inspiration, rather than a threat to our own way of being?
For myself, I am only now seeing how deeply seeded these thoughts are and how we allow them to run us and just how much they keep us in the separation of life and the love we ultimately can have for each other.
When I stop, let myself be seen, allow myself to truly see another for who they are, with no judgement or comparison, I learn so much. I can feel how I expand; there is a joy I feel in my body as opposed to a hardening. And those I judge and compare myself to the most, more often than not are the ones I am able to learn the most from.
The atrocities of the world begin with us. It is a choice we need to make to be accepting of all others without judgement, to be loving, appreciating and gaining a greater understanding of what it is we are all here to do; to love unconditionally, not making life exclusively about us, but about everyone as a whole, equally so.
By Nicole Serafin, 45yrs, Tintenbar, NSW