Never judge a book by its cover. Have you ever known someone and then learned something entirely new about them, only to realize that you really hadn’t known them at all before? Everyday we encounter the same people. We may think that we know them well but in truth, we know more about how they appear in our minds than who they truly are.
Our colleagues that we associate with every day, the people we encounter during our daily routines, these people all have stories that are just waiting to be told. Everyone has a story, a past, something that others could empathize and resonate with. Getting to know someone can turn out to be a tremendously eye opening experience. We often speculate and assume why people act or carry on the way in which they do, and sometimes our assumptions are correct. However, we are more than likely wrong most of the time. It is in our nature to think the best or the worst of someone, depending on our preconceived notions of them and their affiliates. From my own experience, I’ve learned that it is best not to judge. Instead, simply get to know a person. It saves a lot of thinking and overthinking on your part.
Getting to know someone before assuming or judging can also prove to be a life changing experience for yourself too. A person’s story has the ability to instigate a ‘ripple effect’ that you may not even be aware of. You’re not only getting to know a person but also gaining both knowledge through them as well as insight to other walks of life. From the knowledge and insight gained, you might feel obligated to spread the same feeling of inspiration that the their story has instilled in you-- creating a ripple effect.
Assuming and making judgements about a person also closes the door on an opportunity to get to know someone and better understand them. Maybe it’s that one passive aggressive person in the office or that one student who sits in front of you in class, asking a question every five minutes. Everyone has a story. Maybe your passive aggressive colleague has six children who make the morning routine incredibly difficult to get through. Maybe that one overzealous student is the first generation in her family able to attend college and is eager to learn everything she can. By opening our minds to the possibility that these people are the way they are, not because of malicious intentions to put a damper on our everyday lives, but merely because their story has enabled them to be that person.
Everyone has a story, whether it’s a heap of responsibilities or a slump that they’re going through in life. No matter the story, allow yourself to hear it-- and share yours too. You never know how much of an impact you may have on another person’s life. Create and be a part of your own ripple effect but most importantly, allow others to be a part of it too.