Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

I’m sure everyone is familiar with the phrase ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’. It’s a very well known phrase, but one I feel people overlook tremendously. People tend to judge what they see on the outside, bypassing the most important part, the inside. I was placed in a certain situation yesterday and it got me thinking. Thinking about why people only see what’s in front of them, instead of taking a moment to think that inside the person something great exists.

judge
Photo Credit: Pastor Debra Jordan

All this thought process arose from a simple haircut I was getting in my barber. I didn’t go in thinking that this phrase would be so engulfed in my mind, but it certainly was when I was leaving.

Everything was as normal. The barber shop is in a relatively rough area, just up from where I work. The barbers themselves did not come from the best background I can imagine, especially from the stories they would tell me while cutting my hair, but they are really nice. They’re making a living and providing a great service so they deserve credit in that regard. Very much able to cut hair as well, which is the main reason I’m an avid customer.

The queue was long as per usual, with about 3-4 customers waiting ahead of me. The barbers aren’t afraid to spark up a conversation, whether it be with the person they are cutting or the customers waiting. Far from shy! They’ll talk about everything and anything that’s happening in or around their lives. Sometimes it can get a bit intense but they mean well and it can be comical at times. As I’ve said, they don’t come from the best area of town so they have a lot of interesting stories to say the least. Needless to say, a conversation started with the guy was who getting his haircut. This is where things got interesting. I was in and out of listening to the conversation but it started to get my attention after a while.

They were talking specifically about tattoos and a watch the man was wearing. The man himself was covered in tattoos from head to toe. A big, rough looking man. The type of guy you wouldn’t want to cross paths with, for fear of looking at him the wrong way and feeling his wrath! I won’t lie, I already judged him at this point. I looked at the outside exterior and made a presumption. A presumption that this man was not up to much in his life. Just your usual run of the mill rough lad, who worked a less than average job or possibly didn’t have a job at all, and enjoyed drinking copious amounts of alcohol in his local pub on the weekend. It wasn’t until he finished his haircut and left that I released my presumption was extremely wrong.

It was now my turn to sit up on the chair and get my perfectly trimmed zero fade and tidy up on top. Yes I’m one of those guys, and no I’m not sorry! The barber started to explain the story about the tattooed man gone by, and my jaw dropped. He explained how this man was one of the most famous tattoo artists in Ireland, if not the most famous. That explains the tattoos, obviously. Not only was he an extremely talented tattoo artist, but a very wealthy man. Daniel Agger, the former Liverpool FC defender, had visited limerick before and got a tattoo from this man. Not only that but Daniel Agger had invited him to his house months later, presumably because of the great work he did, to tattoo him again. This is where the watch comes into play. As a gift, for the fantastic artistry he provided, Agger had given this man a Β£25,000 Rolex watch. Not that famous soccer players are stuck for many anyway, but it’s a crazy story all the same! This explains also why the watch was such a main topic in this conversation. They also explain that he had set up a tattoo shop with the owner of Miami Ink (Ami James) in a county in Ireland called Cork. This is quite a big deal, to co-own a shop with one of the most recognisable tattoo companies in the world.

daniel agger
Photo Credit: Propaganda-Photo

This is where the story takes a complete U-turn! The barber explain that all these material possessions were nothing to him. He wasn’t for fancy living or showing off everything he had worked for in the past and future. That he would trade everything in the world to get his daughter back. Every watch, car, shop and money he earned over the years just to see her again. She was diagnosed with a disease -that I can’t remember the name of- at the tender age of three, and sadly passed away. I was left speechless.

I had judged this man for the complete opposite of what he really was. It sickened me and the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ raced imminently into my mind. I went home that day feeling upset and disgusted with myself in a way. I had no right to presume this man was what I thought. I didn’t know him, had never met or talked to him before, but instantly judged him the minute I saw him. If you ever read this, I want you to know I’m sorry!

The thing that makes all this worse is that I’m not the only person to do this. I can be sure that the majority of people can look at a person and judge them straight away. It’s not fair. Why should each and every person be stereotyped for the way they appear. Oh, that blonde girl is obviously stupid. The nerd over there has definitely never kissed a girl. Those bikers are cold hearted, angry men. Why do we have to do this? Can we not look at these stereotypical people and think maybe they’re not what we presume. That blonde girl could be a medicine doctorate, the nerd could have a loving girlfriend and the bikers could be nice, warm-hearted and loving family men.

Sometimes you have to take a second glance and look a bit deeper. I’ve undoubtedly learned my lesson, and will never judge someone on appearance again. All is not what it seems. People need to be less one dimensional and approach life in a more genuine and meaningful way. I’m against judging a book by its cover, are you?

Have you ever had an experience of judging someone for what they are not? Let me know in the comments below!

Be sure to check me out on Facebook and give a like if you enjoyed! ~~~ Build a Dean

 

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25 thoughts on “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

  1. As in human nature, I think we all tend to stereotype because we don’t have enough information about that person/thing, so we judge it by what we see. But when provided with the right information some people change their thoughts and perception (like you did) and others don’t; and this is when stereotyping is offensive!

    Great article and thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You live and learn Dean! One of the times I was visiting the South of France, I was standing in a bar and an old, weather beaten man in a wax coat and arctic jumper started up conversation with me. He was silver haired and handsome for his age but none the less, I thought he was a hobo or a down and out. I loved chatting with him despite that fact and he was so interesting. After he left, I asked my friend who he was. As it happened, he was one of the richest men in the town, multi millionaire. Never judge 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very true. Great story, it’s crazy to think that the people we least expect to surprise us, infact do! We need to break the stereotypical barrier and open our eyes! As you said, never judge! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As previously mentioned, it’s how our brain works, so we can’t exactly help it. Our immediate perceptions are also influenced by personal bias, which adds an additional level of complexity to the situation.

    Regrettably, I used to be like that as well. I would often confuse physical attractiveness with character, and that led me into some very depressing (and sometimes dangerous) situations. It took me a very long time to shake that thought process, which is odd; I’ve often been victim of this very situation (I’m tall and large, so people automatically perceive me as physically threatening), so one would think it would be easy to shake off, or not think that way in the first place. Alas, we are victims of our evolutionary cleverness, so we’re stuck with it for the time being.

    At the very least, be proud of the fact that you recognised what happened and will make a better effort to avoid generalising in the future.

    It is my fervent hope that we will be rid of this silly thought process, but I know we won’t get there any time soon. πŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a fabulous entry! You are absolutely correct in making assumptions on the visual appearance of others. I wish I could simply enjoy your story as a good lesson learned, however I experience judgement of others every day. In my previous life (when I functioned in the upright position), I was assumed to be extremely confident, knowledgeable, and competent. Now that I view life from four wheels (via my manual wheelchair), those who don’t now me easily judge that I am “less-than”. The good news, that mistaken thought is quickly corrected when I don’t drool in my lap or mutter unintelligible words. In fact, when I enter an upper administrative university meeting, those in attendance usually are the tongue-tied ones. I refuse to allow a chronic illness that has taken my mobility to rob me of my life!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! Yes, it’s very true and I think people need to starting thinking differently. I’m sorry to hear, it’s certainly something you don’t deserve. It’s sad to think that people would see you in your wheelchair and think less of you. As I’ve said, it is very one dimensional thinking and not looking into what really matters. I’m glad you stay positive about it all, It must be hard when people judge you, but it is best to take no notice and live your life the way you want!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve done the same thing (and believe most everyone has at some point), and also share your sense of guilt and shame. We can’t change what’s done and can only try to be more open-minded the next time.

    Thank you for this reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I think at some stage in everyone’s life they have judged another person. A lot of people don’t mean any harm by it, but it is still unfair to make presumptions about people. Exactly! No problem, thanks for the comment.

      Like

  6. Great post :). Most of my life I’ve been judged way before people have taken the time know me. It made me do the opposite, look at my fellow mankind differently. I usually observed with curiosity first, trying to get a ‘vibe’ from them, then cautiously communicated (sometimes). I’m so accustomed to hate, or judgements, or being viewed as “less than”, that I tend to avoid interactions when I can, at least, in person.

    Even then, sometimes I catch myself judging the book by it’s cover. 😦 Ironically stupid 😦 ). The self defense mechanism had ironically turned into the very thing that had hurt my feelings in the beginning.

    Needless to say, I always try to look deeper and not assume anything. I’ve met some of the wisest souls from “sketchy neighborhoods” and some of the most ignorant from clean-cut “good backgrounds. I assume very little these days. ❀

    Thank you for the great reminder :). Have a wonderful day πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you πŸ™‚ It’s not nice is it, I’ve experienced the same feeling as you but maybe not the that extent. Nevertheless, I know how you fell. I think you took a decent approach to it all though. Its ok to be weary of a person, but judging them before getting to know the person isn’t fair. I believe everyone has done it at some stage, so you don’t have to feel to sad about it. It is funny how life works. I think it is extraordinary that a person you expect so little from can have so much to offer. Anytime, and thank you for this wonderful comment. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Brilliant post, Dean. We do tend to judge a book by its cover and I’ve been on both sides i.e. judged and judges. To keep an open mind, I consciously catch myself when I tend to judge a person.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m relatively affluent (dare I admit it?). I dress down rather than up. It’s neat, but it’s casual. I can’t be bothered with makeup. I notice that I often get poor service in shops, even though I’m actually pretty solvent. There’s an assumption that the affluent actually LOOK affluent. MISTAKE! If you actually feel the need to look affluent, you probably don’t have any money, or you’re depending on someone else for what you have. My investment advisor wears a suit. I wear a tracksuit. He shakes my hand. I give him a hug. Poor sod probably needs it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s ok to admit, I have nothing against it as I’m sure it was hard earned. That’s exactly where the stereotypical judgement comes into play. People are told what certain categories of people are like, both appearance and personality wise, and they follow it. I can imagine! I love the way you portray the person you are, instead of trying to show off. It’s very admirable.

      Liked by 1 person

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