Sandra Sampson: We should all pause before judging others
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Sandra Sampson writes for this title about how we should pause before judging others
I don’t know about you but I do get a bit fed up with people who judge others all of the time and often say so publicly on social media.
Recently Nick Knowles was criticised for being overweight and having long lockdown hair after an episode of DIY SOS for Children in Need.
I know it is his job and he is paid to present the programme but surely the result of how it helps others is where our focus should be.
There is evidence all too often of the damage these cruel remarks make to other’s lives, some to the extent that people take their own lives as they can’t face the online criticism and abuse.
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Social media allows cowards the ability to say something without ever having to physically face the person they are addressing their comments to and often the social media trolls have little real understanding of the true situation.
I am a trustee of the charity Business Empowering Employment Programme (BEEP) that runs programmes for young people who are unemployed and struggling with life in terms of motivation, confidence and self-esteem.
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During one programme the cohort were lucky enough to attend a Rugby World Cup match at Sandy Park, where they met Prince Harry. Photos were shared on social media and immediately negative comments were made about how these young people looked, why were they allowed to even attend Sandy Park and they were a disgrace to Exeter Rugby Club.
Some of these young people had never ever been to a large sporting occasion, many of them already struggled with feelings of being constantly judged and not good enough. So, to criticise them in such a cowardly way, especially when they were trying to make their own lives better, as you can imagine, really upset me.
Their attendance on the programme meant they were becoming less dependent on the state as they were courageously breaking the cycle of generational unemployment.
To make such crass statements without any understanding of the situation was just plain outrageous.
One of my favourite quotes is from the late Robin Williams: “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”
I think the recent work in mental health has been outstanding and I think Covid has drawn many of us to be more appreciative of each other’s difficulties.
I heard from a good friend this week who is a Samaritans volunteer that the charity locally has recently had more requests than ever for people to train in order to help others. That’s amazing.
I believe we should all pause before judging others and certainly try to look at that person with kindness before entering into our verbal or social media tirades.
Just pause to think how you would feel if you had been queueing for ages for a parking space at the hospital, one becomes available and someone races their car into the spot. Your feelings of road rage and anger will quickly surface, but if you discover that person is racing into hospital because their wife is giving birth, a parent is dying, a child has been knocked off their bike and has been taken in an ambulance, how do you feel then?
We are so quick to judge what we see or hear in front of us, but do we know the true story.
‘Nobody’s perfect all of the time’ and ‘People in glass houses should never throw stones’ are two phrases that are always worth remembering as you go through life.
The more we can help each other, the more we grow as individuals and as a society.
We have already seen just how amazingly we came together during the first lockdown. We all need to be less judgemental of others in our own lives and perhaps that energy we expound criticising others would be better spent addressing some of our own issues.