“God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes. ‘Cause then you really might know what it’s like to sing the blues.” This line from the song “What it’s Like” by Everlast, to me, means exactly what it says. Don’t judge people before you know them. Don’t assume. Don’t take things for granted. Don’t base your opinions on people by what you see or what you hear, but rather take the time to know people for who they are. Don’t live your life looking at people from the outside, and take the time to know people for the beautiful gifts that God has blessed them with. I’ve always believed in the quote that says, “Don’t criticize another person’s work until you’ve tried to do it yourself; don’t judge another person’s life until you’ve been forced to live it.”
Through the course of my life, I have met many different people from many different backgrounds, and what I have come to find is that even though we are all totally and completely different, we all have one common characteristic, and that is that we don’t want to be judged. We just want to be treated for who we are, and not what country we came from, what color our skin is, what religion we are, and even in some cases, how we look or talk. We all have something special that we can give to the world, and if we don’t take the time to look at people, and if we judge people to quickly, we will never be able to see that special quality that the person can give.
Everybody in life wants to be noticed. Everybody wants to be accepted. Sometimes in life, people make mistakes and use poor judgments. But as humans it’s up to us to treat them with the kindness and respect that they deserve. We have to treat others as we would want to be treated. Don’t pre-assume that because a person is begging for change, that it is because he wants to go and buy alcohol. You never know what it is that he is going to do with it, or even what led him to be in that situation. No one in life is perfect. We all have qualities, both good and bad, that distinguish us as human beings. But ultimately just because you might not be the best student, just because you might not be one of the “popular” kids, just because you might have made one bad decision down the road, doesn’t make you any different, and definitely does not mean you get to be treated any differently, and it doesn’t mean you should be looked down upon. Give someone the benefit of the doubt. You know at the end of the day that you made an impact on someone’s life in one way or another. Everything in life happens for a reason. We are put in the situations we are put in to teach us life lessons, and to allow us to grow into greater human beings. Just because you may be different in one way or the other, doesn’t mean you should sit back and hide in the corner. Be who you are. Show your true colors. Don’t let it bother you if you are different, because you are what make this world go around. As Mother Theresa says, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” As Reverend Jesse Jackson says, “Never look down on anybody, unless you are going to help them up.” As Senior Megan Finnerty says, “Everyone has their own story to tell and their own song to sing. Now it is up to us as human beings to listen.”
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.