There is a saying that whoever declares that someone has passed gas is the one who did it. This simply means that, most times, we are guilty of the judgment we pass on others. It sounds ridiculous, but it is true.
We like to distance ourselves from our own faults or shortcomings. We either pin it on others, or highlight the same shortcoming when we see it in others, blaming them for it.
Ironically, we believe that blaming that person or criticizing them would make others believe that we could never be guilty of the same thing. Other times, we are afraid; we are afraid of what that person looks like, does or says, because it goes against everything we were taught and raised to believe. We don’t understand it, so we are afraid and we judge.
Of course, no one wakes up and says “I am going to be the asshole who judges everyone today”, but in spite of our best efforts, we all judge others. We do it constantly. And by ‘we’, it is not just the elitist assholes, I mean average, everyday people.
The Nigerian society is such that we all strive for ‘status quo’ and anything too out of our comfort level warrants a good judging. So, we judge a person on small or even meaningless things: their taste in fashion, the manner in which they consume their food e.t.c.
Unfortunately, there is no generally accepted rulebook or law that illustrates the acceptable degree of good, bad, sweet or rude. No one has the right to judge anyone. What makes you think that you are more important, more intelligent or better than anyone else? What is your justification for wanting to ‘cast the first stone’?
Here are 8 things we judge each other for, but we all do.
Gossiping and backbiting
The last thing anyone will admit to being is a gossip. In fact, the moment a story leaks and people say “ Ngozi was the one who mentioned it to Tola after Njideka confided in her” you automatically brand Ngozi a gossip because… why would anyone discuss another person with a friend or her family members? Right? We clap our hands and snap our fingers at these blabbermouths, and talk about how bad it is that they talk about other people so much…but we are doing the same by talking about them!
When it comes to us, it doesn’t count as gossip. You accuse others of being gossips, but you lay on your bed and spill your friend’s marital issues to your husband. or your other best friend. It does not count as gossip though, because you are just really worried for her, or you want the other person to know her plight and put her in prayers.
Staying in toxic relationships
“Ah! I can’t believe that girl has given him Gonorrhea and syphilis but he is still with her!” “Do you know he beats her, but she is still married to him? Hian!” EVERYONE who has had a measure of experience with relationships have at some point stayed in a relationship past its expiration date. It is not because we do not know better or we had no better options even. We all get weak and scared sometimes and need a lot of help to move out of a toxic situation. The thing is that when we see others in this predicament, we are quick to judge them and make them feel like shit, forgetting to look back into our lives to see the BS we too are condoning despite the fact that we know better.
Having friends for certain benefits
“Oh my goodness! That girl is such a user! She only talks to him for free rides home after work…and he, being a mumu, thinks she fancies him.” “Bode is just keeping her around to for the free food and dry cleaning. Such a Yoruba demon!”
Of course, it is plain evil to use someone or take advantage of them for our own gain, but we all do it in one way or another. It could be in little things like keeping them around for their company when you are bored or deep things like making them your cash cow.
We have all been predators in some situations and victims as well in others. But when we find our friends in a similar predicament, we judge them harshly for being too stupid not to see they are just a booty call or for being so heartless they don’t care about the person they are milking.
Being on the phone a lot
“Why are you so rude? You are always on your phone!” People these days cannot exist without their phones and so you find them almost always glued to their phone… even when they are in emergency situations or in formal settings.
Parents lose their children every day now because they were too distracted by their phones and people get hit by cars. Most painful is when they are with you, who they claim they love, and they cannot even drop their phone to give you the attention you deserve. You judge them harshly, forgetting that the only reason you probably are not on your phone is that you have wrapped your world around them and there is really nothing going on in your space.
Also, you are always on your phone when you are at with family or hanging out with colleagues. It is just easy to play the victim when in actual sense you are the pot calling the kettle black.
Arriving late to events
‘African time’ is a stereotype no Nigerian can hit their hands on their chest and say they have not fostered. We have all arrived late to one event or the other. Perhaps it is on purpose, or it was as a result of unavoidable circumstances. However, certain things were probably delayed or huge affected as a result. But then, we sit at occasions, seminar, conference or work events and judge people for coming late, not trying to understand why that may have been.
We fail to consider that we have once been guilty of same and we judge too harshly, even taking actions or branding the person a late comer that cannot be trusted with time.
Speaking ‘English’ badly or with a local accent
This is the most hypocritical of all. English is our official language, but that does not erase the presence of the various mother tongues across the tribes and ethnic groups. The mother tongue ideally is the first language every Nigerian learns before they go to school and learn English.
A local accent then should actually be the harbinger of our true identity…but the moment you show a slight “h” factor or “L” factor, you are cast aside and labeled uncultured or ‘razz’.
Unfortunately, the same ones casting you aside have indicators in their speech, that point to the fact that they are not true English speakers as well. As long as you were born and raised in Nigeria, a local accent will feature in your speech – no matter how much you try to hide it or take on a fake accent. We need to stop judging others on this.
Being disrespectful to our parents
It is very easy to turn up our nose at someone for speaking too harshly to their mother or taking strong actions that may be embarrassing to their parents. “How can you speak to your mother like that…don’t you have home training? Why are you such an evil child?”
Sure, disrespecting or being mean to your parents is not a good thing…but the truth is that, most times, especially when we have become adult and have more control over our lives, we get into conversations or arguments that may lead to us speaking to our parents in ways that may be regarded as “disrespectful ” -considering the Nigerian tradition and culture.
No adult can raise their hands and say that they have never been mean to their parents. None. But you still find someone who probably just got off a phone call with their father that involved quite a few explicit words, condemning you for refusing to do as your father said.
Wearing makeup and revealing clothes
Our parents and the older generations are especially fond of doing this. They condemn a young lady for wearing deep cleavage tops, clothes that are too short or wearing too much make up…but when you dig out their old albums, you find that they wore worse in their time: very short skirt with high heels, loud glittering eye shadow and they probably even bleached their skin.
Perhaps they changed their mode of dressing as they got older, but is that enough reason to judge, especially when the person is not even your child? The worst is when your brother who has tattoos all over his body, sags his jeans and is dating a slay queen whose clothes reveal her “selling points”, condemns you for wearing a short skirt which makes you look like a prostitute. Why?
Have you found yourself judging someone for something that you are guilty of? Have you ever being judged for something by someone who clearly had the same fault?
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