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How to deal with judgment: others’ and ours

Sixty years ago, Theodore Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) wrote “The Sneetches.” Many of his rhyming narratives for children conveyed a political or societal message. “The Sneetches” was no different: “Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches had bellies with stars. The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars. … You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.”

The introduction leads into a story about how each group at one time feels more superior than the other. reported June 5 that mask wearing is what some groups are using currently to pass judgment on one another: “Many people are reporting hostile encounters with complete strangers over face coverings. And, it’s happening on both sides of the debate.”

Harper’s Bazaar’s June 17 report explained a main issue with thinking or articulating snap judgments regarding people standing too close together or not wearing masks, for example, is ”… we start casting wrongful judgments that aren’t supported by fact, or without having considered the broader context.” The report focused on reasons why someone may judge harshly: “If we shame someone else first, then it deflects from our own insecurities and internal unhappiness, and even our own fears about being judged.”

Before casting pandemic judgment, Harper’s Bazaar suggested people should:

‒ Stop and reflect on reasons why (personal feelings of anger, frustration, insecurity, fear?)
‒ Channel judgment and irritation into constructive energies and words.
And, Psychology Today’s “Let’s Not Make Public Shaming Part of Social Distancing” pointed out that individuals need to consider “someone’s story” before passing judgment.

Dr. Seuss wrapped up “The Sneetches” in a positive way that may resonate today: “That day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches. And no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches. That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars and whether they had one, or not, upon thars.”