What exactly does that mean?
There are a few other ways to say this. For instance, ‘give them the benefit of a doubt; or ‘walk a mile in someone else’s shoes’, or maybe you need to consider a paradigm shift. All these things basically mean the same thing.
Sometimes we need to step out of our own mind, put ourselves in another person’s shoes, and consider a new perspective for a moment.
I’ve had many opportunities in my life to put this ‘suspending judgement’ into practice, and one thing I learned is it’s not easy. First off you have to admit that you may not be right and that isn’t easy. Or maybe you are both right but are seeing things from different perspectives (paradigm shift) either way it involves stepping back from the conversation/situation and having the ability to consider another person’s perspective.
Sometimes what we see with our eyes convinces our brains that there is only one reason this could be happening, and so we jump to a conclusion and if we fail to explore anymore, we may miss the actual reason for the circumstance or attitude.
Stephen R. Covey gives a perfect example of this in his book 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People. He gives a scenario of a man entering a bus with his children early one morning, he proceeds to find a seat, and ultimately gets lost in his thoughts as his children wreak havoc on the bus, disturbing other riders in the meantime. After several minutes of the kids running loose and annoying the patrons some of the commuters’ come to the conclusion that this man is not a very good dad and that he has no control over his children and worse yet, no concern to even try to settle them down. Finally, a woman sitting behind the man taps him on the shoulder and quietly says to the absent minded father “sir, your kids are disturbing some of the riders, you might want to talk to them”. The man seems to snap out of a trance, looks around, and gently reigns his children in. He then turns to the woman who brought this to his attention and thanked her and apologized. “We just came from the hospital where my wife just died this morning”. With that brief explanation, the woman, and any rider within ear shot immediately changes their paradigm, and now, rather than being annoyed, they are filled with sympathy and compassion for this man.
Sometimes we have to get out of our head and consider that there may be another reason for someone’s behavior and sometimes the situation is exactly as it seems, but if we suspend judgement we at least give them the benefit of a doubt before passing judgement.
This is how it is with Hobbledy Gobbledy. The kids all assume that Hobbledy is cranky and mean, and so they are afraid to approach him and ultimately it means that Hobbledy gets left out of playing with them, until Joopy makes a bold move and steps out of the crowd and asks him the question, “are you really cranky and want us to leave you alone?” Yay for Joopy’s boldness, because if he hadn’t asked the question they may never have found out the real reason for Hobbledy’s behavior, and nothing would have changed.
Sometimes it takes a boldness to step out and get to the bottom of things, not with an attitude of judgement or arrogance, but rather with genuine interest in the person…there is definitely a difference.
If we really care about people we will want to understand them rather than judge them.
There are many circumstances in the world today where division is rampant and people feel self righteous in their own choices and actions, but if we all take a step back and just consider for a moment why the other person/persons are acting, thinking or behaving the way that they are, we might just experience a paradigm shift of our own. This requires good listening skills.
This also means opening ourselves up to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, we got it wrong.
I am a wife, a mom, a nana, a daughter, a sister, an aunt a niece and a friend. Family, friendships and faith are things I place a high value on, in other words, relationships. I am looking forward to reaching out and connecting with you through this blog, and it is my hope that I can bring a glimmer of encouragement and hope as we embark on this journey together