The Person You Don’t Like

There is this per­son you don’t like. You don’t real­ly know her but she behaves in a way which reminds you of your Latin teacher, she’s this tall, over-dressed, SUV-armed hec­tic house­wife type of a woman and although you cross her paths quite often she does not even to have taken notice of you.

We all have at least one or a few indi­vid­u­als we not only ignore but we active­ly dis­like — because of some spe­cif­ic behav­ior we can­not cope with. I’m not talk­ing of hav­ing some real ene­mies but of judg­ing every­body we see and of those objects of our assess­ments who could­n’t earn min­i­mum scores to be accept­ed by us.
There is this woman. She’s a sales­woman in a drug­store near­by. She is a small per­son with thin­ning hair. Always hav­ing her short breaks when I pass the store, gos­sip­ing and chain-smoking her way to lung can­cer. I can feel her dis­mis­sive glance in my back, pass­ing her for my early morn­ing run. In a word: a per­son I don’t like.
Last Tues­day evening, we need­ed a spe­cial kind of tea and I went to the drug­store. You know that kind of sit­u­a­tion — it’s a few min­utes before the shops close and you need some­thing but you don’t have a clue where to find it. First, I tried by myself — after all I had seen this per­son — and this per­son only — roam­ing the store. But after a while, I gave up: I approached her and asked her for help.
I could not have been sur­prised more: this per­son approached me in a very friend­ly way and helped me find­ing the tea, not with­out addi­tion­al­ly explain­ing — or rather apol­o­giz­ing — for this tea hav­ing been put in a dif­fer­ent shell than most of the other teas. I was total­ly per­plexed. I would never had expect­ed this behav­ior: she approached me in a way which con­tra­dict­ed all of my preconceptions.
I thanked her, still ask­ing myself whether this friend­ly sym­pa­thet­ic shop assis­tant real­ly was the same per­son I pre­vi­ous­ly had learned to dis­like. After I had left the store I became aware of my reser­va­tions regard­ing some peo­ple — that I thought I had aban­doned but that we’re quite alive, at least regard­ing this woman.
I real­ized that I thought to know that woman, that I was able to judge her based on some details of her behav­ior. How wrong I have been. The first time I com­mu­ni­cate with her, I get rid of my pre­con­cep­tion and I imme­di­ate­ly start to like her. What a difference.
My learn­ing: do not (pre­ma­ture­ly) judge peo­ple! It’s not help­ful at all, even if you think it helps you steer­ing your­self through the hun­dreds or thou­sands of peo­ple you meet dur­ing your life­time. Do not judge peo­ple! That’s one of the best words of advice ever.

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