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Dec 8, 2012

Paving the Road

“We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This morning I was consumed in thought about how people judge each other and why. Of course we all know this is a bad practice, yet it continues to happen.
I was thinking of the Longfellow concept above which I recently heard paraphrased. The phrase reminds me that my intentions mean nothing to anyone but myself. The world doesn’t really care about how I feel or what I plan to do. It is only interested in my results or lack thereof.
However, while being aware and motivated by the world’s harshness, the standard I set for myself must be different. I need to view others more fairly than the world. I need to be patient and understanding of individual circumstances.
I don’t give my support based on how another feels – I should, but I don’t. I rarely consider the other person’s intention. Like the world, I tend to look at behavior. Probably the only time I think that intention matters is why I am forgiving someone. Whether that person is remorseful or not, whether he or she meant for the action to happen controls how quickly I forgive them. Makes sense, but it is also wrong for the beliefs I hold.
I should forgive regardless of the other person’s feelings or intentions. My forgiveness should be separate from the justice of the circumstance. Yet, I often improperly link the two. I have so much backwards.
So, my take away from these thoughts is that I must focus on my own behavior and results, make and keep my commitments, and quit expecting the world to give me a pass based on my intentions. On the flipside, I must forgive more unconditionally and work harder to avoid the judge-and-grudge attitude by being more caring of others circumstances.
Lately I have been “that guy” and I don’t like him. Time again to work on some character renovation.

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