Appreciating the science of judgement

All too frequently I hear or read someone with the words ‘don’t judge me’ or ‘ look at your own flaws before judging others’ and while I agree with perhaps the original intent of safeguarding the innocent from our ongoing unrealistic expectations of them, I have to say that judgements do have an evolutionary function. They’re there for a reason.

And they’re natural. I think judgements are especially important in children since they can protect them from potential threats in say, potential kidnappers. Not just natural judgements either but judgements bred by parents or society play a critical role too. Let’s say the age-old rule, don’t talk to strangers.

They allow us to survive. They act as a barrier to prevent us from being placed in dangerous situations. An immensely important role in evolutionary biology.

I understand that our judgements are usually misplaced and incorrect but it’s detrimental to ourselves to completely disregard them. Assess the possible risk against your intuition and instinct and then decide whether it’s worth it.

So don’t stop judging people. Times have changed now but remember that it was once fundamental to our survival.

Loving Yourself

There’s an African saying that really we ought to consider before anyone tells us they love us: ‘Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt’. This means that a person says they love you but yet they don’t love themselves. This is so common. I was reflecting the other day about how everyone wants to date/ get married/ fall in love so that someone can love them, not that they can love someone else. Isn’t that the whole point of love to give whatever you can-within your means and morals-unconditionally and loving someone? You’re supposed to love, not just be loved.

How insecure and dependent will someone who dates/marries/is in a relationship be if they are only in it to be loved. How shallow is that? Most of us are inspired to pursue ‘love’ just so we can be loved and apparently this leads to happiness and results in one loving themselves. How absurd. This is why there are ‘clingy’ people out there; there is this popular mentality people have that if someone appreciates and loves them, they will love themselves eventually and be happy. How strange is it to rely on another person to make you happy?

If you want to be happy, be. It’s got to come from you, specifically inside you. No one else can make you happy without your permission, so sure, let other people contribute to that happiness but don’t let them be the reason. Otherwise you’ll find yourself alone, some moment in the day, and you will be ridiculously unhappy, maybe even on the verge of depression.

I’m not saying we should all succumb to the brilliant hell that is the ego (it’s attractive, but you really, really don’t want to feed that demon). Arrogant people don’t even love themselves. Yeah. I said it. No, you’re brain isn’t deluding you, I really said that. Arrogant people love the image of themselves that’s formed in their heads, or people’s opinions- in arrogance’s eyes, an opinion which is either deserved if it’s good or too inferior to take into account if ‘bad’ or critical.

So appreciate yourself. Acknowledge and respect your flaws, your characteristics and your goodness, all of it. Learn to love yourself because then you understand yourself and want the best for you, whether that’s almost killing yourself on the treadmill in anticipation of a better physique or studying to midnight to attain that coveted A grade. You’ll do what’s better for you in the short and long term. And you won’t let someone’s opinion or their actions or words, trample all over you.

Grades

Today I got another C grade for biology. Gutted after the hours of work I put in. I actually thought I was doing ok since the last time I got an A. I thought, almost expected, at least a B, even after I did no revision for this particular test-sure, I learned it but I didn’t revise it. And that’s another thing. I only got my last A after revising the evening prior to the test, before this I was continuously given C’s.

It’s not that I don’t try hard. I’m attentive in class: I take notes in class, notes from the textbook at home and usually understand the key points. But the difference between me and the people who got straight A’s last year is that they work, presumably, all the time. They work hard in class-but I guess everyone does that-and during their breaks I always see them in the library. Here, most of the people who use the library are science students. I’ve done that in the past and it didn’t affect my grade. It was only when I was determined to get a high grade for myself-not for my family or for an ego boost or for universities, just purely for myself-and I grabbed whatever means I had to reach that goal, did I get a good grade.

What I’m concerned about however, is that there was a person who did less revision than me (I only read through most of the first module while that person only did about two pages of the module) got a higher grade than me. It wasn’t just higher by a little difference but by a huge difference.

The excuse that keeps popping into my head is that ‘I just don’t do very well in these class tests but I’m more suited to the actual exams. I want to just destroy this excuse: these tests determine my target grade for the actual exam and it is by these little, seemingly pointless, milestones that I can get to the greener side.

I keep getting distracted by the things in my head; I just wish I was as focused as I once was. I wish I was still a straight-A student.

Death

I know I’ll die soon. Everyone does. It’s the cycle of life: ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

How often have you thought about dying? Once a day? Once a week, month…year? Decade even? So many past nations have risen and fallen, their remains now scattered in the earth. It’s as if they were never here, like they never existed. What proof do I have that such-and-such person ever lived? Of course you could use DNA testing and all of those other snazzy science-tech tools but what if you can’t find anything to test on? No remnants of life or..or anything.

How many of those dead-those countless forgotten people-do I remember? Merely a handful compared to those who have once been. Just those who’ve changed the world in a substantial way: the scientists who advanced modern living, authors, royalty and the like. The name flashing in my skull right now is Thomas Edison. He gave us light to brighten the darkness.

We had to replace a faulty bulb today and the newer one is so much brighter.. It hurts to look at it. It’s artificial, sure, but that I’m depending on that very light to light my way-without it I would have had a few sprains by now. And before suggesting ‘candlelight, duh!’ you should know that candles are hardly as bright nor as convenient as device just hanging passively from the ceiling.

I think it’s just so profound, so, so meaningful that a person who lived, some uh, 81 years ago had the power to affect everyone’s lives today. And this is what he said:

Being Real

Today I remembered what I’d forgotten. Today I  realised that I can be whoever I want to be, with time. Today I was reintroduced to my own values.

I keep getting lost and muddled with all the things I’m taking in from the world; it feels so confusing, so scary. I’m all alone here and somehow I have to pull myself up to sit on the expectations of everyone else. And when I can’t, I’m looked down upon. Everyone seems to have everything sorted-they know themselves, they know where they are going and they know what they need to do to get there. I’m still lost. Afraid of the dark. No helping hand.

I realised today that nobody but  myself can change my situation.

I’m a dreamer. I’ve dreamt dreams but they’re all in conflict with each other and I don’t know which ones to choose. They all speak to me, inspire me but they add to my indecision and my confusion as to what I want to do with my life. It’s always been like this: one day I want to follow one and the next I follow another. I really, really want to be good at something. Right now I’m just mediocre at everything and I want to change that.

I just don’t know how.