It’s all about perspective. I heard someone talking about forgiveness and began to reflect on the times in my life when I was not forgiving. When I think back to when I was going through my depression, I think about what I must have seemed like to other people. My lack of participation, my short temper, and how people could feel the massive walls I had built around me to keep people out.
Seeing that I didn’t’ talk about what I was going through, no body had any explanation for why I was so withdrawn. I can imagine the judgments that were formed and the reason I can imagine it, is because I have formed my own judgments of other people when they are withdrawn.
How often to we run into someone who is crabby and make a judgment that they are rude or impolite not knowing that their sister is in the hospital. How often do we yell and flip off the driver who made a mistake and pulled in front of us, as if we have never made that same mistake ourselves. When the situation is reversed, and we are the ones getting flipped off, we are then mad at the person flipping us off and not being very “forgiving” themselves. I find it very ironic how angry and judgmental we are toward others, but when the situation is reversed and we are the one receiving the judgment, then we are offended. We are offended at how quickly people will judge, without understanding the other side of the story. So one day I thought to myself, if when I ran into someone having a bad day, whether it be a relative or stranger, if rather than getting offended I felt empathy. If rather than personalizing their behavior, I instead allowed myself to wonder what pain they were experiencing. It may be a physical situation, a tragedy or it may simply be their own disappointment in themselves causing them to have a negative outlook on life. Either way, I want to feel empathy rather than judgment, and I want to extend them the same grace I would like someone to extend to me when I am down too.