Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun, Vincent Van Gogh, 1889

Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun, Vincent Van Gogh, 1889

when you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You appreciate it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.

The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying “You’re too this, or I’m too this.” That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.

– Ram Dass on Self Judgment

I notice I'm incredibly judgy when I'm noticing people in shopping malls and on the streets. Maybe I'm just projecting my own insecurities and biases. I don't like doing it but it feels automatic.

This reminds me of David Brooke's advice on seeing people with generous eyes. The idea of turning people into trees is pretty effective. The person you see in front of you had their own unique mix of genetics, family upbringing and culture, life experiences, pain and suffering, trauma, achievements, and influence from their surroundings that bent them into the shape they are, inside and out. Just observe them and appreciate it. Resist the urge to judge.

What's worse is I judge myself too. I notice physical features that I dislike and wish "I looked more like that" or "I'm too that". It's a bad habit of mine and I think it's a sign of immaturity to not be able to accept the one's flaws. Hopefully, one day, I'll be able to fully accept all parts of myself, and in the process, my insecurities will be cured.