Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

I know you are, but what am I?

Surely, I cannot be the only one tired of hearing everyone’s opinion on everyone else.  Perhaps it all started semi-innocently enough with the red carpet pre-show question of “Who are you wearing?” but that slowly gave way to post-show snipefests in every media format and somehow has insidiously spilled over into everyday life.  If I hear one more person comment out loud or on-line, “Oowee, she needs to back away from the make-up tray / thrift shop rack / food trough…” I’m going to start swinging.  As a petite woman, be warned – I aim for the soft spots.

 

It mystifies me that people have no compunction about spewing forth their opinions on everyone who is not them.  If it’s beyond the bridge of their nose, they seem to think they have a license to pronounce what is before them as unfit, unsavory, undesirable or unworthy.  What makes your viewpoint so important, anyway?  Are you just an authenticated expert in all things and all areas?  Did you receive your doctorate in bariatrics when I wasn’t paying attention and therefore your pointing out the excess flesh at the base of my butt is just you showing professional concern about the state of my future health? [Because it sort of seemed like you were only disappointed that I’m a size 4, not 2.]

 

One of my favorite quotes, thank you Oscar Wilde, states that “It is exactly because a man cannot do a thing that he is a proper judge of it.”  Ignorance, besides being bliss, apparently is also the platform from which many people hold court.

 

You over there, the one pointing out that this celebrity, or that public figure, is wearing what you perceive to be too much make-up, the wrong outfit and dating the wrong person… why should I care?  Why should we care?  Why should that celebrity or that public figure care?  What gives you the right?

 

Oh, right – this is America.

 

Alrighty then, just because you DO have the right, does it make it right?  To me, this is dangerous territory, this land where we have permission to tear one another down repeatedly and publicly.  When my children were small, I tried to teach them that every living thing deserved respect and to be viewed with compassionate eyes.  Never, ever were they allowed to “make fun” or pass judgment for sport.  If they wanted to open a dialogue about the difference between good and evil and right or wrong – permission granted to speak.  But, when questions arose about a person’s appearance, habits, lifestyle or convictions they were guided a little more gingerly in what they were allowed to say aloud – feelings, once injured, are not easily repaired.

 

Judgment, in and of itself, isn’t so bad.  Dr. Carl Sagan once observed that “Knowing a great deal is not the same as being smart; intelligence is not information alone but also judgment, the manner in which information is collected and used.”  Our ability to process and discern is one of our great gifts as human beings, but it should be tempered with kindness and consideration.  Anyone who has ever done a remodeling project can tell you, it is so much easier to tear down and demolish than it is to build.  The same is true of you and me.  It doesn’t take much effort (or thought) to pull us down.  The hard work is in building, lifting or holding one another up.

 

Go ahead, ye experts of all things and all areas and continue to collect your information to use as you see fit, but as you dispense your judgments, won’t you please employ the Thumperian Principle (as it has come to be known): “If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”  Silence really is golden, especially when it is motivated by the Golden Rule.

 

P.S. – for those that need a reminder:

 

The Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity is a maxim, ethical code, or morality that essentially states either of the following:

 

One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated.

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