By Estela Manrique
This is the title of an article written by Geraldine Panelli (2019). In this article, she talks about the discomfort that she felt since she was a child whenever she saw evidence of discrimination, lack of empathy, selfishness and the need to judge others. This discomfort moved her to become better informed and curious about the things she didn’t understand.
Panelli (2019) explains how since a very young age we’re exposed to duality. Are you pink or blue? Good or bad? Rayado or Tigre? “Being in the middle of this categories is weird, even choosing another football team is weird”, she says.
Panelli continues to explain how our relationships define us. We learn about which thoughts we can express, and which ones we need to hide from others. Which of the things we like are not “normal” and therefore, we need to keep to ourselves. “This way, we go through our school years, forced to choose on which side of the line we want to be, “normal” or “weird”, and since “weird” is not well seen, there are only a few brave ones who travel through this path without abuse, discrimination or bullying”. Panelli (2019)
Panelli sees all these scenarios as the leading path to the stories of discrimination we find on the newspaper or closer to our lives in experiences that affect someone we know. The common denominator is how people get hurt because someone couldn’t tolerate their differences.
“In one way or the other, we all judge, the headings are the extremes, but let’s be honest, as adults when we see someone that for us is not normal, what do we do?”Panelli (2019).
This is a strong statement from Panelli, it really confronts us with the reality of our own prejudices and how far we can take them with our actions. For example, how are we modeling our prejudices to our children when we make a joke about someone based on their sexual preferences, or when we send a meme making fun of someone for their looks. In this way, we are transmitting to our kids the tendency to be judgemental.
If we want to make a difference and stop perpetuating these discriminatory behaviors, Panelli (2019) proposes:
First, we need to feel the discomfort about how things currently work, so we can realize that they are not right, and are hurting people.
Second, we need to commit to making small changes, if we don’t understand something, “feel curiosity and not rejection so we can be open to new experiences and learning” Panelli (2019).
Third, “if we have the knowledge, (and) we still think it is weird” we need to work in cultivating empathy, compassion, and respect.” Panelli (2019).
I’ll like to propose one more thing: be prepared to feel challenged and do things we have not done before, maybe because of ignorance, fear, or comfort. Ignorance of not having enough information about people that are different from you. Fear of changing your ideas or values when you get in contact with people that do not share yours. Comfort of not wanting to change and go through difficult situations, preferring to be safe than taking some risks, missing in this way the opportunity of enriching yourself as a person.
To conclude, I go back to the question: What if we live without Judging?
Psyciencia.org Y si vivimos sin Juzgar? Geraldine Panelli 24/1/2019 Retrieved on Jan. 28, 2019 https://www.psyciencia.com/y-si-vivimos-sin-juzgar...
Lic. en Psicología. Especializada en Terapia Cognitiva Conductual Infanto Juvenil. Interesada en las neurociencias y en la difusión de la psicología científica.