23 things I learnt at 23 – lesson 2: do not judge someone else’s decisions

In the 23 days leading up to my 24th birthday I am writing one blog a day on the 23 lessons I learnt at 23. Here goes lesson number 2.

Just because someone has made a decision that you deem wrong or unethical does not deserve them being judged. We cannot possibly understand the choices of others, so it’s best to exercise tolerance instead.

Sometimes we have an idea in our head of who we are and what we deem to be right and wrong, but this year has taught me that we can never know what is right and wrong either for us or for others. We spend a lot of our time judging people for the decisions they make but at 23 I have truly learnt that if we do we are the ones in the wrong.

I believe now that we can never hope to understand the decisions made by others, because we shouldn’t, how could we? We aren’t them, we haven’t had the life or experiences they had, we do not know their mind and their feelings. So it’s best, where sympathy and empathy fail, to exercise tolerance. To stop judging, as hard as that may be when we feel someone has done something that goes against everything we believe to be right. Instead, we must just nod, accept their decision as the right one for them, and be silent. In the end, if it is the wrong decision they will feel the effect, but we are in no position to tell them they are wrong or to say it serves them right.

This is a lesson I hope stays with me, and one I will remind myself of any time I feel myself placing my ethics above someone else’s decisions.

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