Judge me by the people I avoid.
We are quick to judge one another by the company one keeps, but isn’t equally valid to consider judging them by the company that they avoid?
In a world of perfection, we would be more wise not to judge anyone at all. But, if we are honest, as much as we would profess never to judge another, it does happen… on whatever level it may take place. Consciously or subconsciously.
If we view this through a clear filter, this statement is equally positive and negative.
For we might immediately take the self identification road in which we identify with the person making the statement in the aphorism, and instantly marginalize a segment of the society that we, ourselves, feel satisfied that we avoid on a daily basis. These would presumably be people with whom your life values and perspectives are in conflict. Perhaps this is a wise option, and the people whom you have segregated are best left outside your world at large. I have every confidence that we are capable of drawing boundaries that are quickly able to distinguish people we would be willing to communicate with from those whom we would wish to avoid.
To play Devil’s advocate in this musing, I would take the extreme cases and most certainly expect that they, themselves, are worthy of discarding. But to make a point, I would be more interested in discussing the book that cannot be judged by its cover. People truly are like books… some deceive you with their cover, and others surprise you with their content.
People are not always truly whom they seem to be. Some are more vibrant than you may have initially imagined, and others are considerably more hollow than you might have hoped. In each of these experiences, we are making an initial judgement and discovering after a period of time whether or not our original assessment is valid.
The point I would like to make is this. If we read this simple aphorism and feel self righteous at first blush, that is because we would like to believe that we are more capable of assessing others sufficiently as to make a division between those we spend time with and those we avoid. And for the most part, that is probably true.
But to be more clear about our true assessment of ourselves, I would postulate that in whatever sense of self righteous feeling we may have acquired in making that assessment, perhaps we are overlooking or negating the prospect that there are those who go undetected in our perspectives. Those, who given ample opportunity to shine, might genuinely surprise us by being substantially more than we might have first imagined.
And, to take the pendulum in the opposite direction, there are those who we may have believed in or trusted, only to discover we would have been well served to avoid them from day one.
Judgement is a precarious position to put oneself into. Sometimes it is far wiser to reserve all judgement and experience for awhile, prior to making any assessment whatsoever. In that scenario, we may find that our initial impressions were far off the mark, in either direction, and instead learn more about ourselves in the process than we might have first imagined.