So the first time I met my friend Vivian went something like this…

I was scheduled for a massage at a place I had not yet used for massage. I had been there for other services and it is a nice place and I was in desperate need of a massage as my neck and shoulders were so tight I thought my head just might explode from the tension headaches. So I booked a massage and learned that Vivian would be my therapist. Perfect. Just what I needed. My shoulders released just a bit at the mere thought of it. Just a bit…

So there I was in the quiet area waiting room space of the spa thinking about how great my massage was going to be. My deep-tissue massage that I needed so desperately because I swear the knots in my shoulders had taken on a life of their own as they spread across my back and up my neck. A very strong, high-pressure, deep-tissue massage would do the trick. You know the kinda pressure that hurts like hell but somehow feels really good at the same time. Yep, that’s what I needed.

Enter Vivian (who I now call “Viv”). And my first thought is this – there is no way she will be able apply the kinda pressure I need to get these knots out. No way. I was sitting on a couch in the quiet area waiting room place of the spa when she came over to me. She introduced herself and told me she was going to get hot water for a foot soak and that I could take my shoes off. She walked into another room and reappeared with a silver pitcher filled with the hot water that I would soon see had turned teal green because of the whatever bath salt, spa-like stuff that she added to it. She poured the water into the silver bucket at my feet and asked if the temperature was okay, which it was. I watched her move about and the thoughts continued. There is seriously NO way that she has the strength needed to get these frickin knots out of my shoulders. And just like that I succumbed to the notion that the massage, while certainly would be good and relaxing, wasn’t going to provide the relief I needed. Because there was no way that the woman before me had the hand strength to apply the level of pressure I needed. Why you ask? Because she moved slower than other therapists I’d had in the past. Because she was visibly older than other therapists I’d had in the past. I allowed myself to come to a conclusion before the actual event based on my observations and my own stupid assumptions. A judgment was formed without undertanding. Needless to say, Viv was strong enough. Viv is strong enough. And eventually when I learned Viv’s age – I was blown away. She is 72. And she is amazing.

So where is all of this leading you ask? Well, to the judgement thing of course…

Judgement that which we all give and receive so freely. And I don’t mean the thoughts that pop into one’s head upon observation – that’s normal stuff which one cannot shut off. But it’s when we permit those thoughts to merge with assumptions ultimately forming opinions without understanding of a situation. Without giving someone the benefit of the doubt. When we see something or hear something that doesn’t quite jive with our own personal experiences or beliefs and we react to it.

Observation + Assumption = Judgement

That guy just cut me off in traffic + he obviously did that on purpose = what an asshole.

Vivian is older than other therapists I’ve had + her hands are not going to be strong enough = this massage is not going to be what I need.

Guess what? That massage was exactly what I needed.

We judge others because that’s how our world works; now I’m not quite sure if this is a function of society or human nature, but it’s happening all day every day. We judge ourselves as we compare that which we do and have and don’t do and haven’t got to the likes of others. And it comes right back at us. When we do this, what we fail to see is the situation or scenario from the other person’s point of view. We don’t consider the walk in the other person’s shoes. We assume we know what’s best and right based our own thoughts and feelings. And others assume they know what’s best and right for us. It’s a vicious exchange of what we all think each other should or shouldn’t be doing. Doesn’t seem like a very productive way to be living life does it…

So lesson learned from the wise woman I now call my friend…A wise woman does her best to not judge others as she know this isn’t serving anyone, herself included. A wise woman does not concern herself with other’s judgments of her because she knows that is something she cannot control. A wise woman chooses another equation – perhaps one that looks like this…

Observation + Understanding = Compassion

So your challenge – should you choose to accept – is this. The next time you find yourself in the midst of equation 1 – stop. And instead take the path of equation 2.

For what it’s worth.



Director of some corporate stuff who happens to like writing a lot and other creative outlets - like karaoke - even though she is quite certain those in the room with her while she sings wished she didn't like it so much... Runner of all distances, but prefers longer distances as God gave her the gift of endurance not speed... Mother of two boys and two dogs, who on most days, are perfectly sweet and good...mostly.

2 Comment on “On Becoming a Wise Woman – Part 2

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