These are my musings and observations on my daily life, loves and the laughter that are all a part of my experience of living now in the shires of England.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Judge and jury

I think I have it all figured out now. I know why my back was up when I heard a certain comment. It’s because I knew the person speaking was making a judgement on me. My internal reaction was resistance to their opinion. And the thought that quickly formed in my mind was “Who do you think you are to judge me?”

I reasoned, in the way that you do when you are upset, that this person had no right to make any judgement about me whatsoever. Why? You may well ask, well, here’s why... and this reasoning is not based on any scientific study or long research, it’s just based on my gut reactions. I don’t think that person – or any other in a similar situation – has the right to judge me because, in my opinion, they knew little or nothing about me. Therefore, as I’m sure you’ll concur, it follows that logically you cannot make a judgement on a person if you do not know any facts on which to base that judgement.

I think that’s where prejudice stems from: pre-judgement without any pertinent or relevant facts. This was the very situation I found myself in and I was not having it! The man who was speaking to me had adopted a ‘know-it-all’ tone immediately he started to talk. In fact, I stand corrected, he was not speaking to me, he was speaking at me. Because this was obvious I already understood that he had decided that he knew all he needed to know about me and my situation at that moment and that nothing whatsoever I said or did from then on was going to change his mind. I was resigned to his incorrect judgement of me. The only thing I couldn’t decide at that moment was whether or not I could be bothered to correct his wrong assumptions or if I was just going to leave it well alone. I was faced with keeping quiet and walking away or standing my ground and putting him right.

I knew that I had been in this place before so I chose to walk away.

Although he had decided he was my judge and jury I knew that he wasn’t. He in no way represented any semblance of equity and justice relevant in my life so I chose to ignore him. Was that a good decision? It was, at that time, for me. Another day may well have had me standing toe to toe with him and battling right down to the last incorrect perception.

I have heard of people who go through life living as if everybody they meet is a potential jury member that they will need to be on their side at a later point in time, so they act to impress that person not to be themselves. I cannot, and will not, do that. I will, however, take time with people who are genuinely interesting in hearing something new from a different perspective: I have time to share and I have time to hear them when this occurs.

But back to this particular situation: I have some idea why this man chose to cast aspersions on me that day but I also know that he is not in full possession of the facts so his judgement was flawed. Will he ever know the truth? I don’t know. And, at times, I don’t even care. It is not down to me to educate every misguided person that I meet. There are people that I feel it is worth the effort to try and explain some things about myself to them. And sometimes they are open enough to consider the evidence, from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, but, as with all things, that doesn’t always work either. So, I’m back to the initial situation. Is it worth the mental stress and time to open up the channels of communication with this person? As it is he looks as if he is a solid breeze block created to withstand all opinions that are not his own. Therefore I desist. I walk away.

This man is not my judge and jury. His statement about me, his opinion goes unanswered. I leave his words flying in the air behind me like the standard on the castle roof: it can blow in whatever direction it will, but it will not affect me. He can stay in his castle, with his opinions. I’m sure I will not be the last person that he shoots his arrows of disbelief at.

I know that I am not a prisoner to his words. I can move beyond them. I have moved beyond them.

I answered the question I asked myself when I said “Who do you think you are to judge me?” To me, he was unqualified to assert his judgement on me. He was like an undergraduate law student sitting in the High Court as the presiding judge: he was well out of place. He had appointed himself both judge and jury but, in my judgement, he was not fitted for either role as he had neither experience nor evidence.

My response was, “Regarding me, your ignorance is complete, you have no real knowledge on which to base your statements, and your opinion is as useful as an ice cream in a sauna, so that is the end of this interaction.”

Jury is summarily dismissed.

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