Read The Pages, They are the Best Part of the Book

Open Book“That mess about judging people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin—that’s some bullshit. Nobody has the right to judge anybody else. Period. If you ain’t been in my skin, you ain’t never gonna understand my character.”
Emily Raboteau, The Professor’s Daughter: A Novel

Such a powerful quote, I almost don’t have to write another word. Judgment is human nature; we all do it.  We see a “friend” who looks great and we think to ourselves, “I wonder if she had Botox?” or “How much did he pay for that car?” And, the biggest one of all is, “I wonder what he/she did to end their marriage?” Here’s the truth, you can’t get to the best part of the book, unless you read the pages.

I don’t know about you, but when the gossip mill has churned up a couple that whose marriage has hit the rocks, I’m often surprised. Why? The cover of that book looks perfect with the hero and heroine, who are wrapped in each others arms lovingly, staring into each other’s eyes with the wind whipping through their hair ready to take on the world. I have never read the book, in other words, had a meaningful conversation with either the husband or the wife, so had no idea what the inside of their lives even looked like.

The Commodity of Time

Here’s the problem though, how can you read the pages when you don’t have the time to sit down with the book? We live in a world where time is money and we don’t seem to have the time to sit down and make those meaningful connections. I’m not saying we never do, but it doesn’t happen nearly enough. It’s easy enough to ask someone how they are doing, and they answer fine, but what about digging deeper than that, finding out what’s really going on inside the chapters of their lives and caring about it?

If we took as much time to get to know people as we did to judge them imagine how many more people we would be tolerant of. Think about that for a minute. I don’t know about you, but I think it would be an amazing number of people. When I tell people that I am on my third marriage, they automatically get this look on their face that is a mixture of disgust, awe, concern and fear and my automatic response is one of sarcasm by saying that my goal is to have an entire wall devoted to wedding portraits of me.  Those that haven’t read my book think I am serious.

Reserving Judgment

Reserving judgment is not an easy task because it is learned, but it can be unlearned, and the way to unlearn it is to read the pages of people’s books. Find out who people are on the inside and don’t judge them by their outside appearance. Find out about people’s lives, their hopes and dreams, triumphs and sorrows, what makes them happy and sad and content and scared. Take the time to get to know people and take a walk in their shoes from time to time to get a taste of what their lives are like.

And, while you are walking in their shoes, let them borrow yours and let them walk in yours for a while and read your book. Make that connection and allow them into your life. As the quote says, understand their character and let them understand yours, imagine the lifelong friends and feelings you can develop along the way from this, it can change your life, one page at a time.

Lee Brochstein About Lee Brochstein

Lee Brochstein is a certified professional divorce coach, blogger, a well-known author and a nationally known expert from her appearances on television and radio talk shows. She enjoys alliteration, Mad Men, Big Bang, mixed breeds, vanilla lattes, red wine and her kids when they aren’t killing each other. Follow her on twitter and Facebook.

  • Jess Randall

    A few years back I moved back to my hometown following the breakdown of my marriage. One of old school friends introduced me to someone she had kept in contact with since leaving school, I hadn’t seen her in 20 years, and all I remembered was that she had a good group of friends at school, was nice and quite clever. My friend told me she lived in a huge 10 bedroom house in an expensive area, and her sons went to private school, so when she turned up to meet us in her £80K BMW, I was extremely jealous as you could imagine, here I was living back with my parents with two children in tow and this woman had this fabulous lifestyle. Anyway our friendship grew and to my amazement I realised she was not happy, her marriage was completely dead, she had by now had several affairs to compensate for her unhappy marriage, she was on anti-depressents, and she was always so stressed out. I felt really sorry for her and realised my first impressions of her lifestyle was a complete contrast to the reality of her situation. Money, big houses & flashy cars just aren’t worth a thing when you are stuck in an unhappy marriage, having the freedom to live my life the way I want to is worth so much more to me.
    Jess Randall
    twitter @Jess_Randall23