I was doing work at a coffeehouse when a woman came in.
Her hair was the color of champagne. Her shoes were new and bright. In them, she took full, strong steps.
I bet you think you just own this town, don’t you? I sneered to myself. You and your snappy shoes and your fair maiden hair. Well, hot shot, I’ve got news for you. You, you – Only I couldn’t think of any news.
And in this gap of thought, I caught sight of all the judgment I’d ginned up. Judgment which was so satisfying, but only in the way gorging on croissants was satisfying: Short pleasure then lasting self-disappointment.
I interrupted the document I was working on. And I started writing down my thoughts – Want her hair and confidence. If everyone thinks she’s great, they won’t think I’m great. World, don’t forget about me, I’m important, too…right?
And here, below the judgment, I found my fear.
Of not mattering; of being unloved, unlovable. It’s easier to make our judgments than face our fears, isn’t it? But surely our fears won’t be lessened through more judgment.
So, I offered myself the only remedy I know for this fear: Be kind here. To yourself. To your fears. If you gorge on anything, let it be on kindness.
This led to no instant transformation. What happened was only a slight thawing of fear. Which was just enough for me to see outside my judgments and into a softer, kinder state.
The woman had long left the coffeehouse. I sent a silent apology to her. And a silent thank you, too. For showing me that where there is judgment, there is often fear. And where there is fear, there is often the need for kindness.