Judging and the road to self improvement

“It is well, when judging a friend, to remember that he is judging you with the same godlike and superior impartiality.”  ~  Arnold Bennett 

I am always looking for ways to improve: my home, my life, my surroundings, etc.  I call myself a self-improvement junky…I am totally addicted.  Needless to say, my road to self-improvement is a road to reading books constantly.  I started a book today that I have been meaning to read for years.  The title of the book is “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, by Dale Carnegie.  The first chapter has been read and it has already had a profound effect on me.  You see, anytime I try a new self-improvement technique, after a while I look at situations and expect the people around me to know this technique also.

The chapter deals with criticizing, condemning and complaining.  In my short years here on earth I have done quite a bit of criticizing, condemning and complaining concerning myself and others.  There is a story in that first chapter about a father who is always criticizing his child.  The child is only doing what a child does and his father just fusses at him no matter what he does.  One night the child comes in the father’s study and the father is really hot because his child is disturbing him during his “man time”.  He barks at his son, “Well, what do you want?”  His son flies in the room and throws his arms around his father to hold him tight.   The son just wants the love of his father, nothing else.  I tell you, when I read that it brought tears to my eyes because really that’s really all any of us want; to be loved and accepted as we are without being judged for it.

If we, as lovers of God, our fellow man and ourselves, could take a step back from bitingly expecting too much when a perceived wrong is done, life would be much happier for us all.  I am sincerely trying to accept people as they are without any expectations.  Most of the time people are doing the best that they can do with what they know.  For instance, I shouldn’t expect my child to know something is wrong and we have never discussed it before.  By the same token, I can’t expect my partner to always do the things that are going to make me happy.  He is not a mind-reader and I shouldn’t expect him to be.

The next time you want to snap at your child for doing something that a child would do, or bite off your spouse’s head for not remembering something or condemn yourself for something that you should have done; remember something that Dr. Samuel Johnson said, “God himself, sir, does not propose to judge man until the end of his days.” We all need this lifetime to grow.

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