No matter what you do, people are going to judge you. It’s the culture we live in right now. There’s this overwhelming expectation that everyone needs to be perfect at everything they do.
- Kids play sports? They have to win, and nothing less will do. If they don’t, something must be wrong with the coach.
- Your kid watches TV? Well mine doesn’t, and I don’t think yours should either. You must be a bad parent.
- Your kid doesn’t do well in school? Well it must be the teacher’s fault, because there certainly can’t be anything wrong with the child.
- What do you mean your kid is struggling with health problems? Since I can’t tell they have health problems in the two minutes I’ve known them, they must be fine!
In order to compensate for the cruelty of the situation, children’s sports organizations started giving all the kids trophies. Parents stopped talking about what their children do or don’t do. Parents started attacking teachers for things that are their child’s responsibility. Those who have children with health problems dread a stranger approaching them, for fear it will be another cruel comment from someone who won’t be in their life long enough to see the pain it causes. This is bad for everyone. It transforms us into people afraid of losing, afraid to admit they’re not perfect, and just generally afraid of strangers for fear of what they might do or say.
It’s extremely difficult to change a culture. Our cultural norms are embedded into us from a young age. This cultural norm, however, is harmful enough it’s worth the effort to change. Are you going to have an opinion about things people share with you? Yes, you probably will. That one opinion need not drastically change your opinion of the person. It certainly need not prompt you to begin publicly criticizing someone you don’t even know. Strangers are friends you haven’t met yet. Would you treat a friend that way?
Let’s change how we treat each other, one interaction at a time. #nojudgement