Archive for the ‘ judgement ’ Category

The Basement Cafe

Have you ever faced a challenge and someone has told you to your face that you will not succeed? Did it only make your resolve to succeed stronger?

When I was in dental school I had to take an important exam that could make or break me. Thirty minutes before the test I ate a suspicious chicken salad sandwich in the dungeon basement of the school. As I sat down to take the exam, the nausea and feverish feeling hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew that if I told the intructor that I was ill, they would never believe me. I looked fine and it was too much of a coincidence to fall ill seconds before an exam.

I made a poor choice and decided to sit through the exam anyways. I raced through the test not knowing what answers I was filling in on the scantron. I barely read the questions before answering them. I was even resorting to the old saying, ‘when in doubt, put C’. Bad advice. There were a ton of ‘C’s circled on my doomed scantron. In my entire education I had never raced through an exam. It was a nightmare.

The scores were posted and I recieved a 70%. The head of the dept. pulled me into her dingy office to tell me that if I didn’t get an ‘A’ on the final exam, I would fail the course. (if the math here sounds odd, don’t worry, the logistics of it will hurt your brain. I still don’t understand it) If I failed this class, I would have to stay an extra year and retake this one class. I wouldn’t be allowed to continue to third year. (this class had nothing to do with the practice of dentistry) In a futile effort, I explained to her what had happened to me right before the exam. She did not believe me.

It did not matter that I had excelled in the rest of my classes. This one exam in this one class had the ability to ruin me. I will never forget when that department head looked me in the eyes and told me that people rarely got ‘A’s on this final and that I should prepare myself for an extra year. She did not believe I could do it.

I walked out of her office with tears of anger forming behind my eyes. Tears that I did not let this person see. She did not know me and what I was capable of. I was angry because I felt judged. I decided that I would show her that I would succeed. Then I realized that it was not about her. It was about me. I had to prove it to myself. It was about my belief in myself.

I studied hard and told myself I would get the grade I needed. Failure was not an option. The day of the exam came and the next day the scores were posted. I walked over to the wall knowing the power that the little number on the wall could have over my life.  I closed my eyes, exhaled and looked at the scores. Not only did I get an ‘A’, but I also got the highest grade in the class. Much to the ire of this guy in my class who was used to getting the highest score. Our scores were posted next to our anonymous ID numbers. He looked at the wall and yelled, “Hey! Who beat me?!” I just smiled and said nothing. It wasn’t about him either.

The point is that if someone tells you that you cannot succeed at something and you believe them, then you will fail. It is as simple as that. Choose to believe in yourself instead and understand that another person cannot define you as a failure. Only you can define yourself. If you believe in yourself, then you will win.

The moral of the story? Believe in yourself and never let another person bring you down. Never eat a chicken salad sandwich in a basement of a building served by a guy in a dirty T-shirt. Words to live by. (to this day I cringe when I see chicken salad)..Also, never ever under any circumstances pay a visit to the ‘airport doctor’ in an airport in the Dominican Republic. (I don’t care how sick you feel)…That last one has nothing to do with the post but it’s still great advice. ;)



Can A Leopard Change His Spots?

Can people really change? Is it possible for a person who has behaved one way their entire life to change into something else? Have you ever tried to change another person?

I believe people alter an aspect of themselves only if they want to. You can NEVER change another person. You must accept them for who they are or decide if you want them in your life. A person can only alter themselves. It cannot be done to them by someone else.

If I knew this years ago, I would have saved myself a lot of time and energy. I spent too long trying to make others into something that I could tolerate being around. (boyfriends, friends, etc.) When the entire time I should have realized that I had to take them or leave them as is. If they wanted to change whatever toxic activity they liked to engage in or change a certain personality trait, then that was up to them. If I couldn’t handle it then I should have moved on.

It can be quite liberating when you realize that you are not responsible for changing another person. They are who they are. If you accept this, then it will take a great deal of stress off of your shoulders. For example, if you have a friend who is constantly late and unreliable. Accept the fact that you cannot change this about them. Then decide if you are willing to put up with it. If you are, then you really cannot complain about it anymore. If you can’t deal with it, then move on. Otherwise, you may want to only spend time with them in groups so that when they cancel on you, you are not left in the lurch.

Let’s say you have a boyfriend or girlfriend who smokes and you are a non-smoker, or you don’t like their friends. You can never turn a smoker into a non-smoker. Okay maybe someone somewhere has been able to do it, but it is not the norm. I spent years trying to get someone to quit the habit and they finally quit on their own after we were no longer together. The point is, they quit because they wanted to and when they were ready, not because someone else wanted them to.

If you don’t like something about another person, figure out if whatever it is that bugs you is a deal breaker or not. If it is something you can live with then live with it. Otherwise, do yourself and the other person a favor and move on.

Can a leopard change their spots? Only if they really really want to and they try very hard. Otherwise, the spots will stay right where they are.





Talking To A Brick Wall

Have you ever tried to explain something to someone or tried to make them understand your views about a subject and you could tell you were just talking to a brick wall? Have you ever felt like you are talking, but no one is listening? You wonder why they don’t see it your way or think the way you think even though what you are saying makes perfect sense in your mind.

It can be really frustrating but it’s important to remember that we are all wired differently. What may be important to one person, may be meaningless to another. Your life experiences and what you were taught as you grew up also factor into how you see things. We all have different experiences, opinions, backgrounds, and values.

We may not all agree, but we have to try to see the other’s point of view. There may be some things that we can teach each other. You never know until you open your mind and really listen to the other person and hear them out. If you still don’t agree with them, then fine, at least you heard what they had to say. Then you have to agree to disagree.

Too often we form our own opinions about things and shut our minds off to other views and ideas. No single person is all knowing. We all have flaws and that means there is always room for improvement. It also means that we can make mistakes in judgement. When presented with other views, we should try to listen.

Many of the problems in the world today are caused by the unwillingness of people to see each others’ point of view. Groups of people may decide that their way is the right way and anyone who doesn’t see it their way is wrong. It becomes dangerously simplified and it can lead to major conflicts. It becomes a ‘you are either with me or against me’ situation.

What we must understand is that just because someone doesn’t see it your way, does not make them wrong. (unless of course what they are advocating is something dangerous or against human rights )

Keep your mind open to new ideas and views. Try not to  close your mind off to what others have to say simply because you don’t want to hear another point of view. Remember, you cannot force your views on another person and they should not do that to you either.

Next time you have a conflict or a difference of opinion with someone, try to hear them out. If you pay them that courtesy, then they may do the same for you. When you are willing to listen, it can diffuse the situation. It is hard to lash out at someone who is listening patiently to what you are saying. It will prevent a lot of headaches and make your day and your life a little easier.


Happy…what day is it? Wednesday! Actually I’m typing this so late, I think it’s Thursday now.



Have you ever felt misunderstood? Misjudged? Has someone taken one look at you and decided who you are and what you are all about without ever getting to know you? It happens to all of us. We are all guilty of doing it, some more often than others.

The whole ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ expression still applies. I see it all the time. People like to put others into neat little categories and organize them into boxes. (ok not literally a box, figuratively speaking ;)   )

I remember I was in that store Michael’s one day walking around the store picking out my items with a lot on my mind. I was very distracted that day and when it came time for me to pay I went straight for the cashier when I heard him say “next!”. I was so lost in my thoughts that I never noticed the line of people I cut in front of. The cashier never said anything to me and as he was ringing up my items, I still hadn’t realized what I had done. I became aware of a woman behind me saying really horrible things about another woman to her husband. She was saying how she thought this woman was just an awful person who always did thoughtless and mean things to others. She said how this woman did not have the proper upbringing and went on and on. It caught my attention and made me wonder, ‘wow, this woman behind me really hates this other girl, I wonder who she is to her?” She was talking about this other woman like she really knew her. Was she family? An ex-friend? It wasn’t until her husband shushed her and said, “shhh she is right in front of you!” that I realized she had been talking about me! That is the point that I finally looked around and saw the line of people and realized that I had inadvertently cut in the line.

It was an honest mistake and this woman had decided that she had me all figured out because of it. As far as she was concerned I was a horrible person. She was the judge, and the jury and the verdict had been delivered. She had misjudged me severely. I never said anything to her and I let it go. There was no point in arguing with someone who had already made up their mind about you. I knew that I was not the person she had described and that was enough for me.

If this one person could judge me so harshly based on an innocent mistake, how often does it happen to everyone else? I could have turned around and judged her as someone who likes to make harsh,snap decisions about others, but that wouldn’t have helped the situation.  It’s possible she was having a bad day, or a bad year and just wanted to vent her frustrations on someone. Maybe there were a lot of things going on at home that were weighing on her. Remember, a happier person wouldn’t have gotten that upset over what I did. They may have gotten annoyed but would have moved on from it.

How often do we make a snap judgement based on someone’s behavior, appearance, or something that they said. When I was a small child and I made friends in school, I remember the other children would be pleasantly surprised after they got to know me. I was pretty shy and quiet as a child. The others thought that I was stuck up and a snob and didn’t understand that I was quiet because I was shy, not because of snobbery.

We can often make a decision about someone without getting to know them. If we give ourselves the chance to know this person then we may be surprised that our original judgement was completely off. We may have an unfavorable opinion about someone and realize we were wrong. By the same token, we may realize our favorable opinion was wrong.

It’s easy to quickly decide what and who someone is and categorize them without getting to know them. You wouldn’t want someone doing that to you, so try not to do that to others. We have to try to hear each other out and hear the whole story. We need to try to take the time to understand the other person. It’s the fair thing to do.

Sometimes however, you cannot take the time to hear another person out. A good example of this is someone who cuts you off on the road. You can’t exactly pull over and discuss the situation. If everyone did that then no one would ever get to work. Especially in D.C. which is notorious for drivers doing that. In those cases just tell yourself that the other person was just careless at the moment, or had something on their mind and move on. Don’t decide they are the worst person that ever lived based on their one action. It will only ruin your day.

Everything you put out into the world comes back at you ten fold. If you make a harsh snap judgement about another person then you can count on someone else doing the same thing to you later, only worse. Its funny how the universe works.

As for me, rather than getting upset over the judgment that had been delivered to me, I left Michael’s craft store more concerned that this woman was going to give herself a heart attack if she gets that worked up over someone getting ahead of her in line. Then again maybe that is a form of judgment because I am assuming that she always gets this upset. You see how easy it is to judge? It can be tricky!


Happy Wednesday!