Judging Others Less and Reflecting Joy and a Life of Happiness

It seems that it’s human nature for judging others rather than accepting them for who they truly are.

We never know the adversities in life that another individual has had to overcome.  

It’s like A Course in Miracles says, ” Every brother you meet becomes a witness for Christ or for the ego, depending on what you perceive in him.”

Allow me to describe a conversation a man once had with my friend Connie, an artist whose career found unexpected success.

She absolutely was aware of the power within her mind!

This man was very unusual, which is why my memory must have held onto him. 

One Saturday morning Connie and I were seated in the bleachers of a Little League ball field, watching her son play baseball. 

All of a sudden our concentration was interrupted by the booming voice of a tall, portly man who was the grandfather of another player.

“How ya doin’, ma’am?  Nice to meet ya!  The name is O’Malley.”

Connie was startled, and I just smiled in mild amusement, as we both looked up at his ruddy face that framed a mouth in perpetual motion, wide frame glasses, and a graying handlebar mustache. 

Connie extended her hand as O’Malley’s eyes met hers with a stare.  He glanced at me with a nod, but it was evident that it was Connie he wanted to talk to.

He slapped his right knee. 

“I’ve been seein’ ya here for the longest time and I’m wonderin’ what kind of life belongs to such a fine-mannered woman.  Would ya mind tellin’ me about yourself?” 

As Connie closed her sketchbook, he added, “Ah, I see yer doin’ some sketchin’.  Can I see ’em?”

She flipped through about ten pages for him to glance at.  All the drawings were of her son in various poses around the ball field. 

O’Malley paused briefly for Connie to give a nod that she did not mind answering a few personal questions.  After all, he was friendly. 

The older man darted out of the starting gate with a full gallop of questions, yet clearly not one for judging others.

“Where’d ya grow up? . . . In Ohio on Lake Erie, eh?  Sounds nice.  Isn’t that somethin’, Lake Erie.  What’s the water like there? . . . It’s cold and wet, eh? 

Ya must of done some fishin’ or sailin’.  Ya did?  Isn’t that somethin’?  And did ya ever win a fishin’ contest? . . . Me neither.  I sure like signin’ up for ’em, don’t you?  The tryin’s what gives me a charge.

“How ’bout your family?  Any brothers or sisters?  . . . Six!  That’s great!  I’ll be, well, isn’t that somethin’?  Are they still alive?  One sister dead!  What happened? . . .

Did the car accident kill anyone else?”

As Connie explained, O’Malley paused and stared out over the ball field.  It was a few moments before he spoke again.

“Thank goodness no one else died.  How’d ya get over it? . . . Oh, you still miss her, and feel it was your fault, eh? . . . She was runnin’ a grocery trip for ya, was she?  I know how it is. 

I miss my wife that way too. 

I couldn’t get her to the hospital in time.  Died right there in my car, she did.  Sometimes when I walk into our kitchen, I can still smell her perfume and I can almost see her standin’ at the window lookin’ out at the yard. 

There’s somethin’ real important about bein’ able to miss somebody that much, even after they’ve been gone for years.  It kinda makes ya a better person, don’t ya think?

“Do ya have yer mum and dad still with ya? . . . Oh, just yer mum, and she’s yer best friend.  Well, isn’t that somethin’?  For Heaven’s sake, have ya always had that beautiful smile? 

I’ll bet ya got yerself a sense of humor, too. . . . That’s great! 

Laughin’s the best medicine, I always say.  I’ll bet yer a handful when yer mad!

“Say, where’s yer husband?”  (Of course, he smiled and looked over at me.)

“Oh well, not so bad bein’ divorced, eh?  It sure seems yer a good mom. . . . Ya think yer a little hard on the boy, do ya? . . . Well, I guess that’s just bein’ a good parent and all.”

Then O’Malley’s questions took an unusual turn without intent for judging others.  He asked, “Do ya believe in God, eh? . . . A Christian, isn’t that somethin’? 

What made ya settle on bein’ a Christian? . . . Has religion always been important to ya? . . . Well, I’ll be darned. 

Isn’t that just great!”

On and on O’Malley questioned Connie as she answered. 

He was spontaneous and unabashed, and he had no pretensions or judgments to make.  He was never flustered by a topic or the response Connie gave, and not a type of individual for judging others.

O’Malley had no reservations about finding the truth about Connie. 

No matter how terrible the facts might seem to be or any of her wrongdoings, he had no inhibitions about uncovering them. 

He showed no need to label her as sinful or to prove himself an expert with a need to be judging others. 

He liked her for what she was, and there was nothing about her past that could change the way he saw her. 

He was aware of the nature of forgiveness. 

He had no inclination to even suggest judging others to my friend, while simply showing understanding and his knowledge of her true heart.

A Course in Miracles states, “What can it be but arrogance to think your little errors cannot be undone by Heaven’s justice…Justice looks on all in the same way…demands no sacrifice.”

Here’s why reflection of self is best strategy for overcoming adversity and letting go of old habits:

To your inner joy,

James Nussbaumer

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