How many times have you looked in a mirror and the person staring back at you seems like a complete stranger? Or that person who walks behind you as you gaze into a shop window; you think you know them, but you turn around and realise it is someone completely different.
We judge people on first appearances. How many times have we read something in a local paper or national magazine and instantly judged someone without knowing the facts? Most of us are guilty at some point of doing this and we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. The difference is some then choose to find out the facts then draw their own conclusions, others simply presume.
In our everyday lives we judge people by how they look, how they dress or how they act. We are all born as individuals, yet we are taught as we become older to conform to particular standards.
Respecting those around you is a common courtesy. We are taught to hold the door open for someone, and say please and thank you.
What do you see when you see that elderly person in the street, or that person who has abilities that are impaired?
I see individuals with unlimited potential to grow. As a Personal Trainer, who works with referrals from medical professionals, I am challenged everyday to open my eyes up and see past a person’s reflection looking back at me, even if they are looking back themselves in that metaphorical mirror thinking 'I cannot change'.
To me, the person crippled with osteo-arthritis is the person I can take into a pool and maybe for the first time in years, allow them to feel weightless. Due to the nature of water their range of motion may be increased, as their joints glide freely under the water’s hydrostatic pressure.
To see someone walking easily in water after years of walking in pain is more rewarding than any salary I could be paid.
I am also fortunate to have the chance to work with various individuals with mental health issues, from schizophrenia to anxiety. The reward of watching that person flourish and continue on their individual positively affected journey makes coming to work a privilege rather than a chore.
Next time you look into that mirror or reflection in the shop window, why not stop and take a closer look, look beyond what you see.
I have chosen to always look beyond what stands in front of me and see right to the heart and soul of each individual person I meet on my journey.
So whether it is something they’ve said, done or their appearance, are you willing to take the time to judge what’s behind the mask? For some of us we will choose not to, at the fear of what we might find. But as an unknown author once wrote, 'Never be afraid to try something new. Remember amateurs built the Ark, professional built the Titanic.’