How Travelling Helped Me to Stop Judging Other People
Let's face it, sometimes it's tough not to judge. Here is my #1 take away that helped me to stop the judgement and focus on connecting.
Picture: Bruges, 2014
Back in 1999, when I was 20, I started travelling outside of Canada. Before this I had never had a passport or stepped onto a plane. Travelling to a foreign country seemed like something for the rich and famous.
After spending 2 years visiting places like Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, France, the Netherlands (a.k.a. Holland), Belgium and several Caribbean countries, I learned many different things about myself. But I learned one key thing I had never realized before and this changed my life even more than some of the experiences themselves.
Everyone has their very own personalized version of normal.
This tiny but mighty statement changed my entire perspective when it came to how I viewed other people. To this day, I keep this in mind when speaking to others.
Before travelling, I can honestly say I was rather quick to judge and even after this statement popped into my mind, I still had some old habits to break. But by keeping this in mind when speaking to or seeing other people, it made me more open to their life's challenges and differences.
No matter what, we are all influenced by our family, friends, culture, media and teachers. We each carry our own perspective and our own reality. No two people see everything exactly the same.
Even our siblings who are exposed to the same factors we are, will have a completely different perspective on their upbringing.
When I was quick to judge others, I started seeing it as an opportunity to explore my own thoughts and why I felt the need to judge this person. I started to understand it was me who needed to improve an area, or actually many areas, of my life and this was the root cause of my judgement.
I reminded myself of how each person has their own struggles and challenges. We've all be influenced by others and we all see things differently.
I won't say I get it perfect every time and I'll admit, I didn't nail down the judgement free me immediately. It definitely took some time and self-help to get better at not judging. Even now, there are times the old habit creeps in, but I do my best to reflect on why I am judging and try to connect with the person instead,
Now when I speak to people, I focus more on learning about them. What's their story? What do they enjoy doing? How do they see the world?
By stopping or reducing the tendency to judge, life feels less complicated, less stressful and less of a game of comparison and more of a chance to grow and connect with others.