At the Carnegie Museum Modern Art display, Anthony’s Mum commented that she didn’t like some of the art work. His response was:
“I think the best way to approach art that is unfamiliar to you is to just ‘be’ with it and look for what you can appreciate in it, even if it is just a certain colour, or a line, or a shape, or the sweep of the brush. Look to like it, not to judge it, so you can enjoy what you can. Why waste time in a museum, a place of beauty and a shrine to creativity, finding fault?”
Wow, what a great way to look at art. This is the 18 year old grandson of a wonderful lady Judith Sedgeman who I have met at a Conference and connected with on Facebook. Her post sharing this conversation inspired me so I asked permission to share this with you. She said that standing with him and looking at art is a treat. He sees so much that is invisible to the non-artist, and he talks about it so poetically. He really is seeing beyond judgement.
Not just art. How do we judge people, places we visit, work situations…and the list can go on.
If we focus on people for a moment, how different would life be for us if, like Anthony, we just ‘be’ with a person? What if rather than judging them, seeing their faults, we see beyond judgement thinking and focus on their wonderfulness? Sometimes this is challenging, yet it can be done.
There was a person I would see regularly who used to irritate me. Each time he spoke I used to judge him as arrogant and up his own arse. I didn’t like this, yet felt it was him doing it to me. I tried to avoid him, but the community I was in, this was difficult.
Over time and through my own self-development, I realised that it wasn’t him who irritated me, but my thoughts about him. My own judgemental thinking was static. I wasn’t proud of this and mentioned this to a coaching friend of mine; she challenged me. “See beyond, Lindsey”.
I met up with this person quite a few times after that and saw beyond. There was far more to him than I realised. He is kind, he cares for humanity, he enjoys connecting people, he has a big heart. I noticed that my judgement had evaporated. It was weird, I couldn’t see this arrogant side of him at all and wondered if it really was the figment of my own judgemental imagination. I hadn’t done anything, no re-frame, no techniques. we now have mutual respect, and enjoy learning from one another. I was seeing beyond judgement. In fact, before we went travelling I was very open by sharing this with him, thanking him for this learning (not something I would do with many people – it just shows the wonderful open and trusting relationship we have).
Travelling with my husband Tim 24/7 there are times when I can be judgemental and get frustrated at his behaviour and other times, even if he is behaving in a similar way, I notice it doesn’t bother me one iota. This demonstrates that it’s not him making me frustrated, it’s my thinking about him that does it. Damn! We do have a giggle about it once I have calmed down.
So, my learning is to ‘be’ with people, to appreciate them, to see metaphorically certain colour, or a line, or a shape, or the sweep of the brush. To see their innate well-being, notice that they are doing their best in the situation, remember that I am living in my own world and they are living in their own world. Our ways are different, our thoughts are different, and our behaviours are different.
What if we can look to like a person, not to judge them, so we can enjoy being with them. Why waste time with people, human beings of beauty and creativity, finding fault?
Thank you Anthony Quesen, the 18 year old freshman at Maryland Institute College of the Arts. Thank you for this enriching learning of seeing beyond judgement and allowing me to pass this on.
If you are interested in understanding more about how we experience life, perhaps you would like to read my book Got It: The Answer to a Confident, Productive & Stress-Free Life Now available from Amazon in paperback and in ebook.
Lindsey Reed is an experienced International Confidence Coach, Trainer and Author. She enables people to have a joyful, fulfilled life and be their best selves…re-igniting their lives with confidence. Lindsey coaches around the world via the internet and if you would like to work with her, send an email to email@example.com so that she can arrange an online chat with you.