Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

This photo shows me in my fall outfit (red sweater, black jeans, sunglasses and heeled booties) sitting on the steps of the Lisbon Cathedral in Lisbon, Portugal.

Now, I don’t mean the book you’re going to be reading on your next flight? Not that kind of book. This is an analogy, you know the one. We’ve all been told, at one point or another by someone in our lives, not to judge a book by its cover. Why do we still do it? Seems to be in our nature, because honestly I have the hardest time shaking it too.

This is a photo of the Lisbon Cathedral in Lisbon, Portugal.
This is a photo of the Lisbon Cathedral in Lisbon, Portugal.

In most situations, if someone is not doing their part professionally (whether it be blogging or my corporate job) my instant reaction is to think they’re lazy, incompetent, or just plain rude. That clerk at the store who clearly doesn’t want to be working. She rings up my purchases with a duplicate scan of the lotion I purchased. I tell her politely that she made a mistake, and she argues telling me she hasn’t. After some exchanges back and forth, she finally takes a closer look and realizes that she did in fact scan the same product twice. Although, she says the register made that mistake and she didn’t do that…even though I watched her scan the same thing twice. Her attitude was wrong from the get-go, but then she’s arguing with a customer who is clearly right! In this scenario, I would classify her as rude and perhaps I would think she was just having a bad day. Most of the time, each of us would leave the story thinking “what an awful person, she treated me so poorly” and some of us may even say we’d never go to the store again!

 The reason I bring up this topic is because I have put my foot in my mouth on a few occasions  and even as recent as this week! I was reminded yet again, not to judge a book by its cover

Why is our instinctive reaction to do this? In an article I stumbled across from Psychology Today, it reads “women can tell which men are interested in children and which are not, simply by looking at them! Men who would make good fathers look like they do, and women can tell just by looking at them.” Of course this is one explanation in a specific instance and it comes down to simple biology. But regardless, we do judge books by their cover and we honestly do not even realize we are doing it most of the time. I certainly didn’t, until I talked through a scenario and then got an explanation for the behavior I was witnessing.

The reason this stuck with me is because I spread positivity, but I also spread negativity from time to time. If I dislike something, or I’m having a crappy day, or I’m just in a bad mood, I do tend to spread that energy. How others perceive me is up to them, but I don’t want to be the grouchy clerk and I don’t want anyone to think my cover sucks. Not only that, but more importantly we really do not know what someone is going through at any single moment. There’s a plethora of reasons they could be having a bad day, a bad week, a bad month.

Their dog is sick.

Someone in their family has passed away.

They’re fighting with their significant other.

They have a migraine.

They got no sleep.

Their children are sick.

Their mom broke her hip.

Although I’m not saying that anyone has an excuse to be blatantly rude to you, at any given moment, I am saying that we can show compassion and understanding when someone APPEARS to be a certain way to us, because in most cases we don’t know the back story. So who are we to judge? We don’t know what’s going on with them.

No matter how small or big your audience may be, I encourage us all to spread positivity and remind people to take that extra step when deciding to judge or label someone. I hope that at least one of you will be reminded and inspired to start fresh and make every single person you encounter tomorrow, and the week and month after, feel good. Let’s spread positivity, by not judging books by their cover. 

 Remember, the world will be a better place if more people are positive and spread positivity.

This photo is me in my red sweater, black jeans, sunglasses and heeled booties, sitting on the steps of the Lisbon Cathedral in Lisbon, Portugal.

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This is a beautiful capture of the sun setting, with orange hues in the sky, in Lisbon Portugal.
This photo of the sunset was taken by the Belem Towers in Lisbon, Portugal.

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