Have you ever been called a name that wasn’t yours? You know that name some other people have associated with you without even knowing you?
I remember how my good friends now (friends of about 18 years) first misjudged me to be a ‘snob’ just because when we were first introduced I didn’t say much. Of course, they would say the complete opposite now because they’ve grown to know me.
Another example is when someone found out that my favourite meal is “eba and ila-alespo” (It’s a Yoruba/ Nigeria dish) Here’s a picture:
When they found out, they were dumbfounded. Apparently, with the way I speak and my general way of doing things, which isn’t as “Yoruba and Nigerian” I come across as one that eats salads etc. It’s amusing because I don’t like salads.
Another is this idea, still linked to me being not so “Nigerian / Yoruba” in my outlook or manner of doing things. A couple of people called me some time ago and I was speaking Yoruba (my native language) to my children and they were surprised, one even said ‘I didn’t imagine YOU would speak Yoruba to your children’. I found it ludicrous.
I concluded I have been so misjudged and I learnt that people can know very little about you, even if you’ve known them for years. They have developed a completely wrong idea about you therefore giving a definition that does not ring anywhere true to who you are.
What do we do about this?
Yes, the first time we come in contact with people, appearance is the first thing we judge them on, even before they speak, we look at the way they are dressed, their body language etc, and we draw many conclusions. Some are kinder than others.
This post is about people who pass cruel judgement and unfair name calling before getting to know the person they are defaming.
I have resorted to this idea that people that judge people so harshly the first time they meet them or even after the next few times they see them without having engaged them on a one-to-one basis, are people who in themselves have issues, unresolved issues that surely needs to be addressed.
Does your insecurity make you judge me as ‘snobbish’?
Does your lack of self-esteem make you judge me as ‘proud’?
Does your fear of the unknown make you judge me as ‘unworthy?’
I remember once upon a time, when I was accused of being a potential boyfriend snatcher. Apparently because I was “too pretty” this person’s boyfriend was bound to find me attractive therefore I was not allowed to meet this person’s boyfriend.
Again, this was one of those experience that I just think ridiculous because first of all, it shows the lady in question’s lack of confidence in herself, trust issues with her boyfriend, and if the boyfriend is the sort of man that would be so easily swayed by another girl based on looks alone, then question what is she doing with him?
It was not in my place to say, so I kept quiet and distant myself from that relationship.
On a much more serious note, there are other more poignant names we are called that can really throw a drench into our souls. Names that you cannot bear to utter out again because you cannot imagine or conceive how someone can literally look at you and call you that. You might wonder where all this was coming from?
Often times we have heard that hurting people hurt people and I dare say I think it’s true because if we are happy and content in and with who we are, seldom would we have anything grossly negative to say about another, most especially without evidence.
This is because the lens at which we look at people and circumstance is different. We would probably seek our best to see the best in them and not be quick to make harsh and cold judgement that when weighed, it is completely baseless.
The last time you thought someone was being ‘judgemental’ of you, how were you feeling in yourself? Were you judging yourself hence you thought perhaps they were judging you?
The last time you judged that person as selfish, could it possibly simply be because they didn’t give you want you taught you deserve which was in their right to decline? In other words, they were not giving YOU what YOU wanted, as opposed to what they CAN give.
Sometimes when we do not have our way with others, we tend to call them names and begin to sulk because our “needs” are not been met, though we ourselves are not considering the other person’s needs because at the end of the day, it’s all about ‘ME, ME, ME.’
When it comes to name calling and potentially being misjudged, I have concluded:
People will call you whatever they choose to call you…it just depends on their frame of mind that day. Because the same people that said you are x, can and will again say you are y. It’s just a matter of if they make that shift in their minds and sometimes if they just get to know you better.
Therefore, I also conclude we cannot become so carried away with the names and misjudgements of others.
What is important to remember is:
1. Do not allow others to define you or call you what you are not. Know yourself. Know who you are. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Because if you know your strengths and weaknesses and anyone says anything that does not ring true to who you are, you can easily discard it.
Do not let anyone’s water (name calling/misjudgement) get into your boat (your heart) that you begin to sink. Once it has gotten too much in your heart and it’s affecting how you normally would behave, one is sinking. Patch your boat up and float. Do not sink on others behalf.
2. Do not be that person that is forever judging everyone else but never looking within and identifying where you fall short. Sometimes your judgement of others is a reflection on what is going on within you. Discover your issues (if any) and address it.
3. There are times when conclusions are made about us, that are actually true. These are the kinds of feedback that I consider constructive because they have the potential to make you into a better person. It’s an opportunity to grow and develop as a person. In my opinion, it’s important to take note on such cases.
How do I identify which feedback is constructive and what do I do with it?
Ask and answer the following questions:
1. Who is this feedback coming from? What do I know about them or who are they to me? Or what do they mean to me? If it’s someone you know you can trust, then you can possibly reason and consider their feedback.
2. What is this person’s intention towards me? Are they trying to make me into a better person or are they trying to put me down? Do they have my best interest at heart or do they have their own hidden agendas? Once you can identify the person’s intention, accepting their feedback will become easier.
3. Is there a basis to what they are saying? Can they back this up with evidence? Can they give me an example or tell me an instance of when I might have done or acted however way they are saying I have. Having an example or examples helps you to put things into perspective therefore not jumping into defensive mode.
4. How can I be sure what they are saying is hundred percent true to who I am or have I been misunderstood? Do an internal check. Because you are aware of your own strengths and weaknesses, you can test what is being said against your internal checklist. We always know the truth about ourselves. The real issue is whether we are willing to accept it.
5. Sometimes it may help to consider if what is being said can be confirmed by others i.e. those you trust. So have anyone else that I know and trust said anything similar? Have I heard this before? Provided the two people saying whatever is said are not conniving against you, usually when more than one or two people say the same thing, there may be an element of truth in it…BUT only YOU would know.
6. What do I want to do about it? If anything. Then take action.
Final note on self checklist:
At the end of the day you will always know yourself if what someone is saying about you is true because you always know the truth. If you search deeply for it, you will find it. The truth is always within you.
I like to put it like this – when it comes to honesty with yourself, you always know. When I ask someone a question e.g. what’s wrong? Why do you feel like that or why did you do that? And they respond with ‘I don’t know’. I generally tell them they are lying.
Lying because your heart knows why you do what you do. It knows the truth and everything about you. And since it is all in you… you know it all. So you can never say you do not know because you do. It’s either you don’t want to say or admit it to yourself.
Even when it appears the truth isn’t so obvious, if we dig deep and sincerely we will find it and it will jump at us. This method helps greatly, it owning your strengths and weaknesses and not being ashamed of it.
Next time before you judge someone, what are you going to consider first?
Next time they call you what you are not, how are you going to respond? Is that water going to get into your boat? Or would you meet it at its forefront?
Thanks for reading!
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Have a fab day.