As a woman of sense and discernment – that is, I am highly opinionated and not afraid of sharing my opinions with anyone who’ll hold still long enough to listen – I sometimes find myself moving from the “I know what I like and I’m voting for it” democracy to the “Everyone should like what I like” dictatorship without always realizing I’m crossing the line.
Since I try not to be a jerk any more than I have to in order to get along in contemporary society, it bothers me when I unthinkingly became Dictator Jennifer. Certainly there are situations no one should tolerate, but really, in the course of a given day, how often do these occur? And how often are we instead judgmental and super-critical when we don’t need to be? So in the interest of world peace and universal harmony, I’ve been trying to be more mindful of this, and to bring consciousness to these kinds of reactions when I have them. (Cue “Kumbaya.”)
But the other day, I found an even better reason not to judge others (yes, even better than world peace and universal harmony). Here’s what happened. I was on my way to run errands when I saw, at the corner of two main streets, a woman in a bathrobe and bunny slippers walking two rambunctious dogs. At noon on a Sunday! I sniffed to myself, “What on earth is she doing still in her bathrobe at this time of day? And doesn’t she know how to teach a dog how to heel?”
Then I remembered that it was my week to be mindful, so I looked at the woman again, with a kinder, more compassionate heart, and I thought, “Oh my god, this would make a great opening scene for my next novel.”
That, my friends, is why we should stop being so judgmental: story ideas!