Depending on where you live in the world, November is either the beginning of Spring or the beginning of Winter and the start of hibernation for plants and animals alike. For this post I am looking at the latter but dreaming of the former.

This time of hibernation gets me to thinking about appearances, both in nature and in our everyday lives. Walking around in the woods in November it is easy to think everything is “dead” or frozen, but that is not true. Under the earth lies the formation of growth and energy that takes time to regroup and spring forth again in the warmer weather. I think as people we can be that way too. It seems so easy to judge people by what we see on the outside. How quickly we can dismiss someone if they don’t react the way we want them to or don’t look the way we think they should? How often do we stop and wonder or become curious about what might be going on under the surface?

For it is our humanness that connects us and if we can, just briefly, put down our lens of judgement towards others, I would argue we would be able to feel more compassion not only for them, but for the broken and hurt bits of ourselves as well.

The phrase “benefit of the doubt” comes to mind. Instead of expecting a negative outcome, particularly with those we are close with, why not expect the very best from them? I believe that what we don’t like in others, what annoys us most is things we own ourselves but are very often too frightened to look at and understand or change. This is not a new concept or idea but having awareness and being curious about why we feel strong judgemental feelings towards someone may help us understand ourselves better.

So, the next time you feel yourself going into a place of judgement, why not sit with that feeling and reflect on what is really going on in that moment for you? Is it the other? Or is it a part of yourself that you wish might be different? Either way, the awareness is the first step on the path to creating personal change.