My number one character defect, I think, is that I silently judge. Everything. Everyone.

Today it was the people who were shopping with me at Costco.  Frankly, it was much like driving around the streets of my town: everyone doing their own thing, stopping in the middle of aisles, turning in front of one another without looking first, racing to be first in line… and the product sample tables add to the madness.

While trying to head toward the checkout lanes, I caught myself in a thought: If only these people would obey the ‘signals’ like I do, we’d all have a more pleasant shopping experience. Self-centered thinking. “If you all behaved more like me, you’d be better off and I’d be happier.”

I heard in a 12 Step meeting Monday evening, “We teach what we most need to learn.” The person who shared that followed it with, “When I first heard that, I had NO idea what it meant. I do now.” And today, I better understand it, too. I judge overweight people in line at the fast food joints, I judge those who enhance their looks rather than being themselves, I judge smokers, I judge gossipers, I judge…  And if I looked in the mirror, I’d have to ask myself: “What makes you think you are better than?”

During another meeting last week someone shared that to help them combat that mental litany of judgment they remind themselves that they don’t have all the facts – only their perception of the situation – and they don’t walk in the shoes (or the heads) of those they mentally tear apart.

Of course, I wonder to myself “Why?”  Why do I pick apart those other people to begin with?  Because I am afraid – that I don’t measure up.  Sometimes – more often than not – I feel ‘outside of’ and I feel ‘awkward’ and I use to find other ways to feel different.  Now I mentally tear others down, in my head. And, sometimes, out loud.  Rarely, but I did it just last week.  Knowing that I would feel like I gained acceptance by doing it (though not actually sure of that). And today I’m thinking that it was a childish act. And I don’t want to be that kind of person today.

Awareness is the first step.  Contrary action is the next step. Trusting my Higher Power is the constant step.  Today I am grateful for the awareness and the insight I receive through others.  That’s all for now.

The photograph is of the reflecting pond at Cape Fear Botanical Gardens in North Carolina.