I was in a conversation with one of the Franciscan Sisters I work with (in point of fact, I edit her podcast), and she was telling me about a time she ran into an old friend. Someone she hadn’t seen in many years.
He had commented on how well she looked. Happier, less stressed, even younger looking, though it was nearly ten years since they’d last seen each other. What was her secret?
“I learned to look at life with curiosity instead of judgment,” she said.
After thinking this over a great deal, as is my wont, I realized she’s onto something.
Consider what curiosity does to our face. Our expression is relaxed and inviting. We are engaged in the conversation and listening.
In comparison, getting all judgey does nothing for us, beauty-wise.
Even the prettiest face can look frightful.
And yet it seems we are wired to look at the world in a judgmental manner, labeling all we see as good or bad, smart or dumb, in or out.
I look upon it as living life as a critic. Everything we read, taste, hear or experience, we make a judgment. And if we’re offended or angered by it, we might leave a scathing comment or review.
To some degree, this is needed.
Well, not the scathing comment. Except for feeding our own ego, I can’t think of a scenario where that is ever helpful. But making a judgment as to whether you like liver and onions would be wise the next time your partner offers to make you liver and onions.
“No thanks,” you’ll say in the most loving way possible. “I’m afraid liver and onions just aren’t my thing.”
Clearly, we have to make choices on what we like or don’t like if only to keep our taste buds happy and not drive our partners crazy. The problem comes when we focus our critical lens onto people, rather than ideas or things or liver and onions.
And from what I’ve come to learn after working with these Franciscan Sisters for three years, that’s the point our podcasting nun was making. No matter who the person is in front of her, what they look like, how they dress or which way they voted, nothing will keep her from viewing them as a child of God. Which is why her friend found her so youthful; there were no judgey creases around her eyes. Were we to bill this as a beauty tip, it just might catch on.
Of course, one doesn’t have to be religious to be nonjudgmental. Given your own experience, you may think religious people are particularly bad at judging others and if that’s your viewpoint, I won’t judge you for it.
Listen, I know I’ve done enough judging to last a lifetime. One only has to look through some of my previous posts to catch me in action. Assuming, of course, that I haven’t deleted them by the time you read this (kidding!). Moving forward, I’m determined to do better.
Will I miss that smug, self-righteous feeling I get whenever I know I’m right and the other person is wrong, oh-so-very-wrong? Perhaps.
On the other hand, not expressing my opinion on every subject has its benefits. For one thing, I’ll save face when later information proves me wrong, which has happened more times than I care to admit.
For another, there’s a societal benefit to taking a more humble approach. This is from a 2017 article from Scientific American:
(…) self-righteousness can be destructive because it reduces our willingness to cooperate or compromise, creates distance between ourselves and others, and can lead to intolerance or even violence. Feelings of moral superiority may play a role in political discord, social conflict, and even terrorism.“Most People Consider Themselves to be Morally Superior”, by Cindi May
Meanwhile, choosing curiosity isn’t just a beauty tip. Research has shown that curiosity makes people happier, less anxious, and gives them a greater sense of well-being.
I’m willing to give it a shot. Just consider how much I’ll save in eye cream!
And thus ends our ramblings for today. Until next time, be well my friends.
Bad Theology Spotlight
I fully realize I’m judging here, but I couldn’t let this one go:
Worth a Listen…
From Freakonomics: How can we Break our Addiction to Contempt? — with guest Arthur Brooks, an economist who once headed an influential conservative thinktank. (If that turns you off, you need to listen even more.)
From Maintenance Phase: The Anti-Fat Bias – This podcast is a recent find and I’ve been digging through their archives. They spend their time debunking health fads, wellness scams and dodgy nutrition advice. This particular episode is a must, according to their show notes: “Anyone interested in body positivity, airline seats, ‘skinny shaming’ or the sugar content of melons is legally obligated to join us.”
I never get tired of watching Ze Frank’s videos. Whether it’s his Sad Dog Diary or Cats in Therapy, you’re always in for a good time. My personal favorites are his True Facts. They’re like nature shows, but with a comedic touch.
Here’s one he did on Wild Pigs – even if you don’t want to watch the whole thing, do yourself a favor and watch the first 40 seconds or so.
He did a recent one on the Mosquito – give it a watch if you’ve ever wondered what the point of a mosquito is. (And try not to judge.)
Bad Joke Monday
With Halloween quickly approaching, we dove into our archives for this one.
WD of WD Fyfe (currently on hiatus) gave us this for inspiration: What do you call two witches who live together? Broommates!
22 thoughts on “A Nun’s beauty tip: choose curiosity over judgment”
Thanks for the beauty tip – I’m allergic to makeup. Maybe I’d do better if I was allergic to judging, especially with the current divide in our country. If only I broke out into a rash every time I judged someone instead of being curious about why they think that way.
Bad theology tee shirt: I’m sorry but I think the pastor of my church would wear this. He’ll go pretty far for a laugh.
And on a Monday, a BJM throwback is always refreshing. Thanks.
An allergy to judging, I like the idea of that. Kinda on the lines of Pinocchio, except instead of a nose growing when we lie, we start sneezing and breaking out every time we judge others. Meaning we’d all be walking around with rashes and lots of tissues!
Great tip. I find a lot of life curios. I find a lot of people just plain weird.
and on the bad theology front, one thing I’ve been saying in Bible class for a few weeks is, “I found Jesus – he’s been behind the sofa the whole time.” I know …
You know, a joke like that in person isn’t so bad — people groan and move on. But to put it on a t-shirt? yeesh!
I must have been living a judgmental nightmare for the past decade, judging by the state of my face. Your nun makes an excellent point.
Puts a whole new spin on “keep making that face and it’ll freeze that way!” 🙂
I’m following posts by a Dr. in California who is an advocate of an ‘Alt Middle’ position. He explains that we frequently see only two positions – a ‘Thesis’ on one side, an ‘Antithesis’ on the other. What we aren’t seeing, what we aren’t trying to find, is the synthesis – reconciliation of the two sides. The Alt Middle.
Great beauty tip! I’ll need plastic surgery, though; I’m always judgy.
Wonder if there are plastic surgeons who specialize in “judgment lines”? 😉
I try to keep them to a minimum but they are definitely there! 😉
Love this idea.
Yes, she’s definitely on to something.
Didn’t curiosity kill the cat? Maybe that’s why your kitty is looking so judgmental? The pig video was a crack-up. I was curious to learn more about mosquitos, so I watched that video too. It was hard not to be too critical of those nasty bastards.
His videos are hilarious, right? And yet I always learn something. I mean, who knew that mosquitos were actually pollinators?!
Well, I guess scientists knew. 🙂
Wise words, my friend. Curiosity opens our hearts and minds to consider, to listen, to show respect for the thoughts of others. It doesn’t require me to agree–but someone else may be more willing to listen to me if I listen to them. And liver and onions are so underrated! I was raised by a mom who thought some internal organ of any animal was the secret ingredient of health. You can’t make organ meat taste less than offensive. I really appreciate your quote–moral superiority shuts us off from any kind of connection or compromise.
Your mom too?! (Fortunately she didn’t make liver often, I remember it really stinking up the house when she did!)
Isn’t it funny how much of scripture warns against judging others, and yet how often we fall into it? I found her statement really helpful, curiosity is a vast improvement.
I completely agree!
I’m going to remember this one Christi, because it’s a simple yet profound observation. When we are curious, we have the interest and patience to really, truly listen. When we judge, we make unsubstantiated assumptions based on our preconceived ideas, or on what we choose to see or hear. We certainly don’t listen. I hope you hang around this Franciscan Sister more often. We can all learn from her!
Sorry for the late response Dave, I just saw this.
Glad you enjoyed the post. It was an idea worth sharing, now all we have to do is practice it. (I know, easier said than done!)
Great post! I think curiosity is under-rated myself. The wisdom you are gaining from being among these nuns is priceless 🙂
Sorry for the tardy response, Rhonda — things have been a little off-kilter. Yes, the nuns are full of wisdom. I glean as much as I’m able. 🙂
Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are set for a great year!
It’s all good, Christi! Things have been quite off-kilter in these parts as well. Christmas was shitty for us, but we survived. I am so enthusiastic about 2022 however. Big changes to navigate. Happy New Year!!