Sometimes It’s Too Easy to “Judge a Book (Person) by the Cover”. Started to… Woops

You have heard that expression before, have you not?  How is it that you view people?  Do you make a quick determination based on the outside presentation?  Age, race, weight, stature, style, form etc…?

I had an interesting experience the other night that caused me to reflect on this for me personally as well as a seminal idea for an article to share with you.  I have continued my Atlanta practice on Mondays and Tuesdays since moving to Lake Oconee. Monday evenings, after a full day of emotionally draining sessions, I like to unwind with a bite to eat and a cool one or two. Sometimes I have been able to get together with my son or daughter for a “catch up” meal and sharing. Other times I seek out a place to “chill” and watch a sports event and/or the people around me.  I am an avid people watcher!

The place I ended up the other night was a hoot (not  Hooters)! I found it by chance. The destination Sports bar was deserted and a nearby little hole-in-the-wall bar had a jammed parking lot. Thirst and curiosity pulled me in. I entered a world of Karaoke, “American Idol”, contestants, replete with commentary by judges.  First off a man about five foot tall and wide waddled up to the stage to sing – and sing he did! Then came a skinny female, with washed out stringy blonde hair, toting a cigarette, who bounded up on the stage and belted out a powerful song.  If I closed my eyes I would have thought Carrie Underwood was singing; she was that good.  On and on the super wannabees strolled to the stage to present to the judges. All the performers were not as good as those first two – and the judges let them know in true Simon Cowell form.

Through the penetrating smoke I viewed patrons, old and young, ebony and ivory, obviously knowing and supporting each other with claps and hugs. After nursing my Blue Moon through the performances I finally was driven away by tiredness and a lady who ruined one of my favorite songs.

The experience got me to thinking.  As I observed the various people, was I too quick to judge and categorize these people on first appearance or was I open to see the person, the courage, and the talent that emerged on stage.  I saw a sense of connection by the people who clearly had a sense of community and caring amongst themselves.

In my profession I have the privilege of seeing beyond the surface person who presents his or her self to the community at large. In most every case, despite the sometimes disappointing behaviors of the person, I am able to see the core human being – one who is special, sensitive, and searching – like all of humanity.

Every person has a public persona which may or may not reflect the private core being underneath.  Sometimes an individual cannot present well the authentic self. It would be a mistake for the viewer of such a person to lock him or her into a stereotype and categorize such a person as being this or that – all because the viewer cannot truly see the person hidden.

What I am reminding myself and asking you to consider is “don’t judge a book (person) by its cover”. Each of us is special and has a particular gift to bring to this world. Those “American Idol” wannabees surely outclassed me in courage (You couldn’t get me on stage to sing a song with the voice I have been cursed with). And some of them had real talent.

I’m glad I stumbled (not literally) into this little showplace of Americana.  It was a good reminder of a value I try to live by – look for and see the whole person.  Hope you do that on a regular basis.  If not you can join me at the next smoky bar audition – and maybe you can take the stage!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”

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