4 Things You Should Stop Judging
Stop Unfairly Judging Others
We live in a world where we forget that the way we carry ourselves and our beliefs will either be accepted or rejected. Whether social media, smartphones, or the world wide web are the culprits, the fact is that maybe the way we act could be the reason why we "offend" everyone. Maybe it's our own thoughts and needs to voice our opinions that seem—at least, in our own mind—to be morally correct.
Then again, people have always seemed to forget not to throw stones while they're living in glass houses (and, I promise, everyone lives in a glass house). The fact of the matter is, a lot of people don't think before they speak. They believe that, with their epic perspective, they know all about how it feels to be in a place where they've never been before. What they don't understand is that they couldn't possibly have any idea how it feels to be in a person's shoes without actually being there.
You would think, by 2018 in the "land of the free," people would realize that either falsely accusing someone of rape or judging someone who honestly came forward to admit that they had been raped aren't the ways to handle the topic.
Point One: False Accusation
To the girls out there who think it's okay to cry wolf because you slept with someone you later regretted sleeping with, you can't handle the rumors flying about your willing participation in sexcapades, you cheated on your boyfriend and you needed to come up with a reason as to why, or you ended up pregnant but no one was ever supposed to find out.
DO NOT—UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES—FALSELY ACCUSE ANYONE OF RAPE.
In case you're still wondering as to why there are a few reasons:
- The process behind proving you were raped is not fun. In fact, you will be asked so many questions that, even if your story wasn't made up, it will start changing. That being said, if you're lying and manage to get past the "proving it" phase...
- You literally just lied about the offense that millions are trying to honestly prove happened to them every single day. Cool, you got away with it, dragged the "rapists" name through the mud and probably fucked up their entire life. Now, they want to prove they didn't do it. As my mother warned, the truth always comes out in the end. So, when he proves that he didn't rape you, you'll become the reason why so many people who were actually raped get judged by society and told they're liars.
- You made the choice to sleep with that person, you were not raped. You are in fact just a shitty person who can't handle your own life decisions.
Now, because of people like the person described in "point one," when someone actually has the guts to speak out and share their story, people judge and accuse them of being a liar. Do not ever do that.
You have no idea who that girl is, what she went through, how fucking traumatic the experience was, and how much courage it took for her to speak up. She understands that some people lie and ruin others lives over petty things, but she finally worked up the strength to stand up against the person who very well may have ruined her life—so ruining his shouldn't be something the public concerns themselves with.
Oh, and unless you've been raped or sexually assaulted, you will never comprehend how much an incident like that can completely destroy a person and change them into something else.
2. Past Addiction
Have you ever heard the saying, "Once a meth head, always a meth head?" Maybe it wasn't meth, but it still has the exact same meaning; our society truly believes that—instead of being part of a persons life—an addiction defines them. That's not where it stops, though. Not only are we perfectly fine letting people be the mistake they made, but we're also comfortable defining their addiction for them and telling them that—because of that addiction—they'll never amount to shit in life.
What is wrong with us!?
We take these people who found a way to fill the void in their life. We don't know what void that was. We can't understand how hard they worked to fight their need to fill themselves with a drug that was essentially destroying their body—and their entire being—from the inside out. We don't understand the strength it takes to fight the cravings, to realize that your life is worth living when so many of your loved ones gave up on you, to climb out of the desolate hole that is the addiction and overcome it.
I can already hear people saying, "Well, they made the choice to shove the needle in their arm." You're right, they did. But were you there? Were you sitting right next to them, feeling whatever hollowness or void that led to them sticking something in their arm, snorting something up their nose, or swallowing something in their mouth? If your answer is no—which it has to be, unless you're actually that person—then you cannot possibly understand what they went through.
What you can do is love them, support them, encourage them to succeed, and be amazed as they grow as a person. Otherwise, quite frankly, you don't deserve them in your life.
Also, I'm not saying to throw yourself into their addiction, what I'm saying is to continue to love them, offer an ear, and when they finally overcome their demon, you can still be there. If they don't, it's unfortunate and you lost someone you really cared about, but you still didn't give up on another human being. A wise person once had to remind me—so I'll remind you—to never forget that the person they "were" is still the person they are.
3. Criminal Record
I'm from Wisconsin and in Wisconsin, girls use this thing called CCAP. (Guys, if you're from Wisconsin and you don't think we do it, we do.) I will never forget the day that I was reunited with my—now—best friend. I ran home and hopped right on the computer to find out all about his last ten years of life since the last time I'd seen him. Lo and behold, that resulted in a rap sheet and in-depth searches through news articles. Eventually, after realizing that the news tends to shed a certain light on people, I just directly asked him. He was honest, so I let it go.
He became one of my first friends with any kind of criminal history, beyond a speeding ticket or a small possession charge. Here we sit, four years later, and he's married to my other best friend, with two beautiful little girls and a third on the way. He's one of the best fathers I've ever witnessed and the only way he would ever knock an old lady over in a parking lot again is if she was trying to swipe one of his girls.
The point...people make mistakes, but those mistakes shouldn't define them in the rest of society's eyes.
Yet, for some reason, a lot of people look at a person's past and determine that their future for them. This person robbed someone, this person raped someone, this person dealt drugs, this person did that, and this person did this. Consequently, this person will never be more than they were then, right? Wrong.
I have a completely clean CCAP report, but I can tell you multitudes of mistakes that I've made in my past. They don't define who I am. In fact, if I hadn't made those choices, I wouldn't be who I am today. However, too many times, people let the past define the present and that's not okay because it's not true. People change, circumstances change, and those things are okay. If you judge someone based on their mistakes, then your mistake is judging others and it does define who you are.
One of my favorite topics to hear discussed by people that oppose it is abortion. It's amazing because so many times when I've heard it discussed, every person that joins the conversation has a penis and no womb. Other times, I hear self-righteous women talking about how the person could have just put the baby up for adoption. What I rarely hear is people discussing how the right to choose should be the mother's to make.
When I was twenty-one, I ended up pregnant, it was unplanned. See, I didn't want to be pregnant. However, months earlier, I had been told that I needed to stop taking my birth control—I wasn't offered an alternative because they assumed the hormones from the birth control were causing the issue—until the cysts on my ovaries resolved themselves. In fact, they went as far as to tell me that if I didn't, I would likely never have children. We used a condom, it broke.
I was living eighteen hours from my parents and terrified. I honestly didn't tell either of my parents I was pregnant until I was watching the video they force you to watch at abortion clinics (and then, only my mom). I thought the video they were showing was a scare tactic at the time, it wasn't. When they say you remember making this decision, they're telling you the truth. I remember the choice every single day. I remember the choice more vividly when I realize that people can and—some—will judge me for it. I remember the choice every year in August. I remember how old that child would be. I wonder if she would have looked like me. I imagine the fact that right now, I'd have an eight-year-old child.
More so, though, I remember it when I see all the amazing mothers who chose life over the alternative. Sometimes I wish I could have been that strong, but I wasn't. I was scared, my health was in jeopardy, and I had to make a choice. So I did.
As I wrote that, I could hear so many negative responses from people I consider to be my friends to the people I don't know that will stumble across this article. Why am I terrified, you ask? In our society, people think that voicing their opinions regarding abortion doesn't hurt the bystanders. The person I am today wouldn't make that choice again, but I don't regret it. I wouldn't be the person I am today without having made that choice. However, when someone at work gets animated about their pro-life beliefs, it hurts because, instead of demonstrating why they believe a certain thing, many people just degrade the opposite belief.
What they don't grasp is that we will never understand the thoughts, fears, and terror that goes through a young woman's mind before she makes the determination to "end another." We can't understand what things motivated her to make the decision to not have a child. We don't realize that sometimes adoption is just too much for someone to handle, that once they have that baby in their arms, they might make a go for it and fail. We don't understand that people might encourage them to keep the baby, only to wake up one day and realize that the mother and father unintentionally murdered the baby when they left drugs lying on the floor of their apartment. (Think I'm being ridiculous, it happened in July.) We cannot comprehend that the only person who can possibly understand what choice is made—and why—is the mother and, maybe, the father.
When I started writing this article, I was writing it as a way to demonstrate to others what they can't understand. Even though it hurts to realize that people will never stop judging, it's important to know just what they're judging people for. The majority of the things that people are judged for are based on choice, but some are not. Either way, it's incorrect for any of us to judge people for their past when we can't possibly understand it. Furthermore, in judging others, you make a mistake and it does define you until you stop.