“Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.”
How many times have I heard that statement in my lifetime? Probably to the point that if I had a penny for each time I did hear it, I could retire to some tropical island with my new hot husband, Clay Matthews…..
but I digress.
As children, we are taught that it is impolite to judge others based on what we see of them on the outside. Looks can be deceiving, and 99.9% of the time, we underestimate someone based on how they look, speak, or act.
But the older we get… we forget that lesson.
Surely you remember Simon Cowell’s response to Susan Boyle a few years ago on Britain’s Got Talent? Here she walks out, homely and plain.
And in a Jiffy, Simon is totally uninterested in her.
But then she opens her mouth and absolutly wows the crowd with her angelic and flawless voice. And within seconds, Simon is totally enthralled in Susan Boyle.
Based on her looks alone, Simon was convinced the audition would be a dud, and soon Susan would be sent packing back to the cave from whence she crawled out. Of course, we all know she ended up wowing, the entire world, and winning not just the hearts of all who saw her, but she ended up taking the grand prize by winning the competition.
There are days I feel a lot like Susan Boyle. There is absolutly nothing stunning about me. I am plain. Kind of chubby. Simple life. And a darling personality. But so many miss out on the real me, because they don’t bother probing past what they see on the outside.
But sometimes the rejections and the assumptions sting. Sometimes it hurts when someone doesn’t take time to know the me on the inside. They base their ideas on me on what they see with their eyes instead of taking the time to actually get to know me.
A few weeks ago I did a hike with my sister and another friend. Now, I am not a slow hiker, but I am not crazy fast either…..unless I hike with my sister. Then, we go beast mode.
On this day we did 11 miles in right at 3 hours. Now, I am not one who typically posts her time hiking, because well, I am not out there to see how fast I can go. I HATE when people post how fast they hike. When I was first starting out, and WAY slower than I am now, it would make me feel so insecure. They were doing two-three miles in one hour, and here I was…..just trying to survive. Of course over time, I have gotten stronger and I now hike much MUCH faster than I did, but I am still not out for the speed. To me, it’s about the journey.
When I do hike with Sarah, I do tend to post my time. One of the reason is, my legs are WAY shorter than hers and the fact I can keep up with her pace is mind blowing to me sometimes. I know she tones it down when she hikes with me, but I still feel like a beast each and every time I am with her.
This day was no different. 11 miles in three hours is pretty awesome. I mean, that is a little over 3 miles per hour. Not shabby for a short legged gal.
My joy was quickly cut short with a response from a couple of fellow hikers I looked up to. One kept questioning my time, and the other relayed to me that since I was such a fast hiker, I was now worthy enough to join in a hike with him.
What? I wasn’t worthy to hike with you before you knew I had it in me to hike a fast mile?
Neither of these folks meant me any disrespect, but their responses got me to thinking, “How often do I do that?”
How many wonderful folks have have I not gotten to know, simply because they didn’t look the way I thought they should, act the way I thought they should act, or speak the way I thought they should speak?
Major slap in the face.
I realized I did the same thing. Maybe not in hiking, but in other aspects. The co-worker who invited me to her makeup party, but I am not really into make up and think that maybe it is a vain event…. so I don’t go. The person who wanted to be a part of my group of friends, but I never gave them a chance because of the fact they simply wore black…each and every day. Or maybe that one person who simply needed a friend to spend time with them, but I was too embarrassed to actually been seen with them in public.
Clearly I am the worst offender.
I don’t think we do these things to be ugly, spiteful, or mean. Some do, but I think the majority of us are simply human. Selfish and prideful, but human none the less. We get so wrapped up in ourselves and what we perceive wonderful to be, that we sometimes totally miss it when it is clearly right there in front of our face.
A few weeks ago I was a little bitter and angry when my friends questioned my speed and ability to hike a fast pace. For a couple of days I fumed, pondered and stewed. I wrote a couple snarky comments that I never sent, and I became very VERY bitter.
Last weekend, I was hiking with three of the most precious souls I have ever met. My heart was full and we were just sharing our hearts. The fast paced hike and the responses that followed came up, and of course the old bitter feelings came right along with it. I mean there is even a hiking group you can’t be a part of unless you hike 2 miles an hour. Seriously? Do we hike to break speed records, or do we hike, because we love the outdoors and the thrill we receive from completing a difficult and grueling long haul? As my friends and I were discussing how the opinions of others can affect us, especially as women, I realized that there was only way to get over my bitterness.
I need to dive deeper into people I interact with. I need to get beyond, the looks, my preconceived ideas, and my own prejudices.
Change starts with me.
One of my favorite quotes is,
“Her walk is like a shot of whisky. Neat and strong and full of purpose, and SO many underestimate her punch.”
So many underestimate me. They see past mistakes. Past failures. A small, chubby middle aged woman. A goofball who likes tacos more than she likes exercise. They fail to see the raging beast that lives in me. The beast who is determined, strong, and yes fast. I am sorry you haven’t taken the time to get to know me and all that I am capable of.
I am pretty amazing.
Be careful judging others because they don’t fit into your box. If you do, you could be missing out on an amazing encounter with someone who might possibly change your way of thinking.