When we think about self it really all comes down to image. There is not one of us who doesn’t look at ourselves in the mirror and make judgements about what we see. Those judgements we make correlate to what we accept as normal in others. We see images of human bodies all the time and within less than a second automatically make a judgement about others. He is fat, she is overweight. She is too skinny and probably unhealthy, he is in pretty good shape other than that belly. If you are like most people who watch a few hours of TV a day or read magazines you probably see what is portrayed as the perfect body. These images stay implanted in our minds and flash just as quickly as the images of the people we see each day when judging ourselves.
We do this with our bodies, we do this with our clothing, we even do this with shoes. We judge. Again, there is not one single one of us who don’t pass judgements both on others or on ourselves. Why do we do this? I really don’t know but it seems to be a human trait that we were all born with. Even the cars we drive we believe say something about us because when we see other’s driving specific types of cars we are quick to classify them into particular group of people.
Our judgements of others even shows in the way we choose to approach people. Our conversations are much different between someone wearing an old pair of jeans and T-shirt than it would be with someone wearing a smart looking suit. We make inner decisions about their level of education and social status before we even speak the first word.
I believe that in a way the judgements we make about the person we see in the mirror each day is based on the desire to fit into a certain group of people. We are humans and like the wolf we are pack animals. We all want to feel that we belong and painting a portrait of ourselves is our way of letting others in the group know we are a part of the group.
This whole philosophy is the driving force behind our economy. It dictates the things we purchase and also allows corporations to take advantage of great earnings based on our self imaging. It dictates the homes we live in, the cars we drive, what we eat, where we eat and how we dress.
Even as a minimalist who understands this driving force finds themselves trying to fit in with their particular group. Although we think of ourselves as being disconnected from the same desires of most we still make judgements about other minimalists and ask the same type of questions about ourselves when we gaze into that mirror. Do I still own too much stuff? David just purchased a Tiny House, is mine too big? The Jones Family appears to be happy living with less, but for me where do I draw the line? Lisa calls herself a minimalist but look at the expensive dress she is wearing. How do I look?
As I child we all have heard those words spoken to us at one time, “Don’t Judge”. Sorry Mom, it just ain’t happening. I believe the phrase should be, “Don’t talk about your judgements”, because the bottom line is that we all cast judgements hundreds if not thousands of times each day. We even inquire about information to help us form opinions of others with questions we ask. “What do you do?” is a perfect example as we are meeting new people at a social event. We inherently want to know what group others are a part of, or what pack they belong to.
As social groups are constantly changing we see the strangest new things in young people. New trends bring about new groups of people. Tattoo’s and piercings, pants being worn too low or dressing like a gang banger. Different types of eye glasses and skinny jeans. The drive seems to be a lot stronger when we are younger and desperately trying to figure out where we fit in. But the same drive doesn’t end there, it continues throughout our lives as we go through all of the phases of life. We even try to pass some on to our children by dressing them a certain way. Even when we become Senior Citizens the drive to fit in and self image continues as we also continue to pass judgements on other Seniors.
So If we understand that we all cast judgements upon other’s and ourselves where is there a problem? The problem exist that many times our judgements are false. When we base our decisions strictly on what are eye’s can see we are only getting part of the whole picture. Rather than thinking “That person is who he portrays himself to be”, maybe we should be thinking, “That person may be who he portrays himself to be”. All the world is a stage and even when we think we have it all figured out we still continue to judge who we really are. We will continue to wear different hats and sometimes when we think we are a part of a particular group we quickly change courses when we discover that we really aren’t. We also discover that others really aren’t what they portray themselves to be, but like ourselves have a deep desire to belong.