I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others. – Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi
What does that mean?
I like this quote, because I don’t like others prying into my business. Usually people who ignore this quote are busy-bodies and a bit judgmental.
This quote is about being the opposite. It is about recognizing that we all have our faults, and that it is not bright to criticize others for having a fault when we all have them.
The quote also has a positive side. It mentions that the primary thing we should do when we see someone is to look for their good qualities. They will have negative qualities or faults, but so do we all.
Imagine how the world might be if we quit beating each other up for having faults. I drive too fast. Others eat too much. So what. Let them be themselves, and leave the judging for later. Are you willing to give it a try?
Why is being less judgmental important?
How much of your day could you waste in criticizing everything that is wrong with everyone else? One word for that kind of talking is gossip, although usually gossip includes other topics. There are, of course, other words which could be used, but this is a family oriented blog, OK?
What other things could you use the time you would otherwise waste on finding fault? I could always use a little more time in the day, how about you? And if you feel a need to mention something to a person, you could comment on one of their good qualities, instead of one of their faults, right?
Then there is the payback angle. If you criticize someone for having a fault, how long does it take them to point out one of your faults? And then what do you feel a need to do in response? Does that cycle ever end? Do either of you ever run out of material, or do you run out of breath first?
How much time, energy, and emotion gets wasted in such a display? And what does it accomplish, besides souring a relationship? Days later, sometimes even years later, those words still sting. Apologies are always nice, but the damage has already been done, and that is not a good thing.
Where can I apply this in my life?
That would depend on when and where in your life you have a tendency to judge others, or call out their faults. Yes, it would be nice if that other person wasn’t so (fill in the blank), but what good does it do for you to pester them? Will it really help them change? Probably not, right? So quit doing it!
I have tried to follow the heart of this quote my entire life. In short, my belief system says that after death, I will have to answer for what I have done in this life. That’s going to be a long enough conversation as is. There is no need to make it any longer by bring up the faults of others.
Regardless of why you choose to be less judgmental, I believe the action will bring you peace of mind, and a feeling of wellness. Imagine how the world might be if everyone felt that way, at least most of the time. Would that place be better than what we have now? I think so, do you?
One point of clarification before we proceed. Everyone needs to be critical of ideas, plans, or concepts from time to time. If someone wants to photograph a sunset, but insists on looking to the East, you can criticize their position, but you don’t need to criticize them as a person. Do you see the distinction?
This, however, is complicated. Some people protect their ideas, plans and concepts like they were their own precious children. A criticism of these is taken as a criticism of them. You could point out to them that they have a fault, but what would it bring you? Can you lead them to a better idea?
Back to where you most likely to be judgemental. Grab some paper and write down the last few times when you let your mouth get ahead of your brain, and you wasted some of your time finding fault in another person. Take your time, I’ll still be here. 8)
Try to get at least one from each of the following groups: your family, your friends, at work, in social groups, and in public to a random person. Is it usually the same fault which really gets you, or is there some other pattern which might help you in finding your fault for finding fault?
Does finding fault in others sound less appealing when you consider that act to be a fault within you? Might that help you reduce how often you do it? If so write it down, along with all the other things which you think of in a quick brainstorm session.
Take a moment and write down ideas next to each potential solution which explain how you will put that idea to use next time. It won’t cover every situation, and you will do it again. After all, you’re only human, right?
One last thing to consider. Consider finding each person on your list and apologizing to them for being a judgmental jerk. They might or might not forgive you, but you’ve taken the first step. I think it’s worth the effort.