My second summer revelation came to me that I should model the behavior I wish others would demonstrate rather than bemoan, get angry, or start judging them because I feel they are judging me, my lifestyle or my “neighbors.”
Recently I was in a motel that was full of people who had come to fish in the the local world class rivers for fly fishing. Each morning I was listening in the breakfast room about how the hotel did not have all the premium channels they had a home, lack of cell phone coverage, that the only Starbucks in the county was a kiosk in the grocery and other perceived lack of amenities in their vacation destination. I listened as they describe the community of the folks who were their hosts while they were on vacation. I found myself thinking lots of unkind thoughts about them. It was then that I realized that I was just like all the people who were frustrating me. I was judging them.
We don’t have a million people yet in Montana, though we are getting close. When you don’t have critical mass most national companies require, they don’t give a rip about providing services to you. A business in in the business of making money. If you live an area that is so sparsely populated that you don’t get mail deliver it is, highly unlikely a cell company can justify the cost of a cell tower, or their will be national retailers available. There are many trade offs we make to live in a place like Montana. Some are obvious and others not so much. Most Montanans have been to your cities and some of us have even lived there for a period in our lives. We appreciated some of what you had to offer in arts, food, and other services. Some of what you live with as normal we can not imagine living with such as traffic, density, noise and other things. All of this just amounts a different point of view. We have prioritized things differently in our lives and are willing to make different sacrifices to have some of those top priorities. Neither is more right or more wrong than the other. No amount of put down or arguing is going to change either person’s point of view. Change never comes in the midst of confrontation.
When I feel folks are passing judgment, I want to remember to not pass judgment on others because I am not them. I do not know what road they have traveled in life to be at the spot they are currently stand at. The best way to do that behavior myself. Let them remember their encounter with me as some one who did not pass judgment and maybe, just maybe it will make a difference on their lives as well.
Note: This was a piece I wrote several weeks ago and had to let perk while and tweak it a lot to hopefully get right. I hope you found it insightful and gave you some food for thought.