I was listening to a friend speak the other day recounting, judgmental the actions of another person. This person was critical of how the other had acted earlier in their life and had found their more recent actions, somewhat at odds or hypocritical. I asked them if they preferred the more recent version of this person, the more excepting one or the previous less so. The answer somewhat surprised me but I guess it shouldn't have. People in general like consistency in those they deal with. Most of the time change is glacial, but in some instances it can be radical, therefore making those changes more visible. When someone encounters something that causes an epiphany, something that changes the way they see the world, it can cause dramatic change. There are numerous examples of how almost overnight people have changed the way they have lived to be more forgiving and excepting, just better people. Sometimes this is a near death experience or a religious one. For example Paul's conversation from persecuting Christians to a disciple and leader of the early church, or the Buddha giving up a life of luxury for an ascetic one of self improvement. When it happens we as witnesses to the change should not be so judgmental or critical of how long it took, or that it is at odds with the previous version of the person, but be glad that they have made a change. When I see changes in a person that challenge my expectations of their behavior, I try to think of the progress I have made in my own life. None of us finish where we started, in life you progress. Next time it happens to you think about how much progress you have made on your own shortcomings, that seems to do the the trick for me.
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