The other day I was sitting in a waiting room, ten minutes before seeing my psychiatrist. There were three other people in the waiting room and soon a name was called and two people stood up and left. It appeared as though one of them was the “patient” and the other person with them was there for moral support.
As soon as they’d left the waiting room, the remaining woman leaned over and said, “You know, I really feel sorry for people like that.”
She looked at me, clearly expecting a response. I just smiled a little and kept reading. I couldn’t focus though, thinking about what that woman had just said to me.
I remembered that I’d had the exact same experience the last time I’d been in that waiting room! It was a different person who had leaned over and said the same words to me, that they felt sorry for another patient.
This rarely ever happens to me outside of a doctor’s office setting. It really makes me angry.
I don’t feel “sorry” for anyone I don’t know. I feel compassion and respect for other people and leave it at that because I don’t know their story. Their story is their business, not mine.
Only my mental health is my business to comment on or judge, and even then, I’m biased.
I feel like people say things like, “I feel sorry for people like that” to somehow convince themselves that they “aren’t that sick, thank goodness.”
The woman might as well have said, “I’m glad I’m not that crazy.” And she assumed that maybe I wasn’t “that crazy” either and by making that comment we could somehow be on the same level of sanity. What the hell?!
No one knows what someone else is going through unless they ask them and know them. And even then, we shouldn’t judge. We all have biases that can offend others.
For example, I’m writing this blog post with as much description as I can so that you can imagine the situation, but I’m making judgements too. Like, I assumed it was a woman talking to me in the waiting room, but perhaps that person doesn’t identify as female. I don’t know their gender or what pronoun they prefer.
That’s why I don’t talk in waiting rooms. I am there for my health and no one else’s. Deal with your own life, your own problems, and don’t make assumptions about other people. Although it may be human nature for us to judge one another, most of us have a conscience to keep us from saying whatever pops into our brain.
My dad has this sign in his workshop that says, “Make sure brain is engaged before putting mouth into gear.”
My brain is engaged and I do my best not to comment on things I have no authority on.
If someone makes a similar comment to me in the future, maybe I will say, “I don’t know that person so I’m not judging them one way or another.”
Sometimes, though, it just is easier to smile and then bury my face in my book. Maybe that alone conveyed the message that I wasn’t into judging other people.
Can you relate to this story? What do you do in these situations?
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