This morning I listened to a Good Life Project Riff (short podcasts that briefly explore a subject) called What if You Were Defined by Your Worst Moment? You can listen to it HERE. I suggest you do, because it is really good and under six minutes.
I've seen too many relationships, beautiful, loving, nurturing relationships or reputations thrown away or destroyed, because one person made a mistake. As Jonathon says in the podcast, a lifetime of loving, kind acts can be erased by one moment of reaction, stress, anger, or other human emotion. He posits and I agree, that we do better (and are making a more accurate judgment) to look at the long haul, the cumulative goodness as the norm and the one thing, the one mistake, as an anomaly and part of being human. And you must know, I'm talking about mistakes and not talking about things like assault and such. Nor am I talking about reasonable discernment.
He turns the question on us: how would our characters be described if someone used only our worst moment? How accurate would it be? Not very, I bet. So why are we so quick to think that one mistake means we need to say "Aha! They've shown their true colors and now I will never trust them again!"
We, or at least I, do this to myself as well. One mistake and I think of myself as some lame loser who has never had one bit of value. Or maybe something less extreme, but still, pretty hateful and unrealistic.
I don't know why we do this. Maybe because it makes life easier in some ways. We like things simple and black and white. Rules help make things easier and just cutting a person off is a lot easier than working through emotional messes.
Maybe next time you find yourself judging yourself or someone else, first measure that thought against the idea of judgment being a way to give life rather than crush life.
Image: Judgement from Llewellyn's Classic Tarot, by Barbara Moore and Eugene Smith