Many of us feel pretty sure of ourselves. We see another person make a “bad” decision, engage in some reckless behaviour, or act out of character – and we are quick to say “I would never do something like that.” We can’t help but judge others for decisions we “clearly” wouldn’t make ourselves.
But in actual fact, life just isn’t that simple.
I’ve always considered myself a pretty non-judgmental person. For the most part, I am pretty accepting of others who hold different views to mine and who engage in a type different of lifestyle.
But I have realised recently that just like everybody else, I have room to grow, to improve, to better myself as a person.
In light of some recent events in my life, I’ve come to understand, more than ever, that human beings really are good people. Bad decisions don’t make us bad people – they make us human. We WANT to do the right thing. We WANT to be happy. We WANT to get better. But simply wanting these things isn’t enough to translate to results. We must be making those active steps day in, day out and have the resilience to bounce back when things aren’t going the way we want them to. Pushing past the doubts, the insecurities – is what helps us get to the finish line. And frankly, when we make decisions, we choose what we believe is right for us at that time.
Human beings are just not simple and we need to show each other more compassion and kindness. We also need to extend this to ourselves. You are not the same person you were 10 years ago. In that time, you could’ve accumulated a lot of financial burden, lost a loved one, had a relationship breakdown, lost your job, experienced a lot of mental health difficulties. You could’ve gone through some of those challenges or maybe all – and your ability to cope rested solely on whether you had support or not.
As a person who kept my child sexual abuse a secret for 20 years, I can tell you right now that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my family and friends who were there when I needed them the most.
Having support is everything.
And when you’re going through an incredibly difficult time, you may not have a loved one telling you that things will be okay. You may not have someone lessening the load of stress for you by cooking you a meal, helping you out financially, or giving you advice. You may not have your family to call upon for support because they could be the ones who are causing you the pain.
You see, when we judge others, we are saying “I” wouldn’t do that. But that is based on your own experiences, your own views, your own values and beliefs, everything that has played a role in shaping who you are today. It’s also based on the assumption that the other person is in a clear frame of mind to make the “right” decision. Maybe they are facing other mental, emotional or physical challenges that you have absolutely no idea about.
So, it really doesn’t matter what you would do. You aren’t in their position and you can’t know 100% that you would make a different decision.
So, rather than living with judgement and asking, “Why would they do that?”, ask yourself, “How can I help?”
We are all guilty of making decisions that could be deemed “bad” from certain perspectives. But these “bad” decisions don’t make us bad people.
If we are willing to learn from those decisions and to use those experiences to better ourselves – then we don’t need to be filled with regret. We can move forward knowing that every day is a new chance to become better. 🙂
Thuy Le (formerly known as Thuy Yau) is a freelance writer and Youth Work graduate living in Perth, Australia. She loves to share her own personal experiences about overcoming adversity, as she believes that human beings are more capable than they realise. She writes to make a positive difference in the world and to inspire others to learn from themselves and their own experiences. Her writing has been discussed on radio, won writing contests, appeared on The Huffington Post UK and major Australian sites such as news.com.au, SMH, Kidspot and Essential Kids. She is currently writing her first book.