Putting people in boxes and drawing hard conclusions

Ever noticed that some people just don’t seem to help themselves? That they make life more difficult than it needs to be? Don’t they just make you mad when they complain all the time yet change nothing? Or when they confess they feel isolated or lonely – yet never ask anyone to meet THEM for a coffee? And they feel overwhelmed – yet never ask for help?

Ever thought you could be talking
about yourself? Any day of the
week, just now, in the past – or in
the days that lie ahead?

As observers, we are so quick to judge others often, walking as we do in our hob nailed boots instead of their slippers. Or high heels or trainers. We judge by our own standards – as if we’ve got life sorted – when the reality is the only person we can ever judge like that is ourselves. And we don’t even have the right to judge ourselves, let’s not forget.

If someone isn’t meeting their own standards or is struggling, we think we have the right to wade in with our loftiness & lack of compassion – and then we wonder that they feel even worse about themselves.

I read this today.

It’s easy to live the people who are standing hard and fast, pressing on to meet their higher calling.

But the ones who might be struggling, we tend to judge too harshly and refuse to try and catch them when they’re falling.

We put people into boxes and we draw hard conclusions, and when they do the things we know they should not do we sometimes write them off as hopeless and we throw them to the dogs.

Our compassion and forgiveness sometimes seem to be in short supply.”
Chris Girard

We cannot help but observe that others might be struggling, for whatever reasons. People do the best they can at the time. You may have the benefit of hindsight insight to see there are better choices they can make. You may know that you can choose your attitude, just as you know there are times you choose a less than totally useful attitude yourself. Allow others to be human too.

What matters is that they are struggling. We can observe passively, or we can observe actively. See the person, see the struggle, step into help. Be the catalyst – but only when you do this with compassion and forgiveness in your heart for the road they are on.

Lift them up, dust them down, and reassure them it will get better. Offer advice or practical solutions. Show a better way or different way – accepting they may choose another way entirely (or none) – because sometimes it’s too hard to see options when all you see is darkness.

Restore meaning and let them see the value of what they do – and who they are. Thinking differently about themselves or the issue brings change anyway. Prove you’re in it together at the same time as reminding them there is hope by your example; accept that you’re greatest learning in this area comes from the times when you are hardest of hard.  Have compassion on yourself, then and remember this.  You  might not just catch someone from falling. You might stop them from slipping over the edge in the first place.

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