Judgment and a Change to Gratitude
by Michael Feeley
Sometimes it’s hard to look back and acknowledge how you have been unjust to other people and things. I find it’s also a satisfying and necessary choice to make for personal change and integrity.
The shame and discomfort I could feel and happy to say felt (because I made different choices and changed) is always useful to learn from. Studying my faults and short comings to shift them into learning experiences. Hopefully becoming a better person.
Judging other people and things was a bad habit of mine and, I didn’t like myself for being so judgmental. I was closed minded and unkind and that’s not how I want to live my life.
Judgment is ingratitude because focusing on the flaws of people and things wipes out their meaning .
I remember a time in college when I was auditioning to be a soloist with the Syracuse Symphony. A young woman stood up preparing to sing and I started to immediately judge her – her hair was frizzy and wild, she wore an over-sized man’s brown and white checkered flannel shirt, untucked, with green corduroy pants. Not at all how you should look and dress for the audition. To me she had no value at all but when she opened her mouth, out soared the most beautiful sound… lovely, free, generous, effortlessly spinning and filling the hall with warm, brilliant tones and full, deep, rich, authentic feeling. It was shear, boundless gratitude.
I was thoroughly ashamed of how I had quickly summed her up… ruthlessly cutting her down by focusing only on her appearance. I ignored her world meaning, her abilities and feelings. To this day I remember her name and the incident because it was such a valuable lesson for me to learn from and change with. It’s metaphorical but I learned — ‘never judge a book by its cover’. That’s exactly how I said it to myself that day.
My superiority was ingratitude and contempt. My small way of thinking about this young lady, tearing her down before I knew anything about her. A disgraceful attitude I began to eliminate from my life.
Judgment and ingratitude are so easy to have and… you pay for it because you annihilate gratitude and awe for life and the wonder of humanity. What the great English poet John Milton eloquently describes this way:
‘Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.
Thanks – Michael