I was booking down the sidewalks of New York when I passed a young guy with a pronounced limp. My first thought was to contrast my long, distance-eating strides with his halting step and I felt for his diminished capacity.
But my second thought sent the first one packing. Perhaps he would like to walk more smoothly but why on earth should one aspect of a person’s life define who they are in my thoughts? To think that it does takes more away from a person than just their mobility. It says this one element is more important than their character, their sense of humor, the books they like, their favorite dishes and everything else that makes a person a person.
My next thought was that we might do this more often than we think, to ourselves as well as to others, which gets us to this week’s Thought Starter. At work, where judging and being judged abounds, it doesn’t take much to find weakness or fault — often correctly so. The issue is, how far do we take it?
Consider for a moment whether you have berated yourself for falling short in some area. Let us agree that you should have done better and should try to do better the next time, or get out of doing that particular task. More broadly though, have you allowed that self-criticism to range too far? Have you applied it to more than just the single shortcoming that it is? Did it become a criticism of yourself as a person?
You can ask these same questions relative to your assessment of others. And then ask yourself, is this truly valid? How often do we take one bit of evidence and apply it with a broad brush?