You have met her for the first time at your friend’s party. She’s not as well dressed as you and seems to lack the necessary ‘finesse’ and, worse, speaks with her mouth full. You’re thinking, ‘This isn’t the kind of person I want to be around too much.’
A little later you find out that the lady is one of the nicest people your friend knows. She also happens to be having an extremely rough life. You remember her warm smile and wonder how someone going through so much could gather the energy to give somebody else such a beautiful smile.
The problem in life is that we are too quick to criticise others. Ignorant of our own glaring weaknesses, we authoritatively pass judgement on other people. Missing out on their good qualities and, worse still, on the possibility of building beautiful relationships. There is much to learn from everyone we come in touch with, but only for an unbiased mind. This is why George Bernard Shaw said the most intelligent person he had met was his tailor, “Because he is the only one who takes fresh measurements every time I go to him.” Similarly, it is important that we look at people we meet with a clean slate every time.
We all have burdens and problems. If we acted with empathy when dealing with people, we would make our lives a lot easier and more peaceful. Would I feel or behave any different? These are questions we should ask ourselves when we’re tempted to judge others. There is more depth to people than we see. Even the seemingly most superficial person has an extremely humane element while the best among us have some very dark attributes.
From a higher, spiritual standpoint, it is important to understand that each one is a manifestation of the one, indivisible Divinity. The same eternal spark that lights you, lights everyone around you as well. And when you are able to see the One in the play of many, you learn to look at the world with soft eyes.