Scratching Beyond the Surface

Feb 17 , 2024
By Eden Sahle

My friend, who is a remarkable woman and once an orphan, is now a symbol of financial and career success. But her deepest aspiration was simple — to build a family and heal the wounds of her childhood. She found love that endured two decades, but a stark difference emerged as her partner could not fathom becoming a parent due to painful past traumas.

The separation was hard for them both. But irreconcilable differences have made it inevitable. Their decision became a canvas for society's assumptions. Some whispered about financial motives that may have played a part, but their success debunked those claims. Others speculated about his quest for a younger partner, but he remained single, nursing a love that lingered.

A couple of years later, they decided to put their past behind them and transitioned into good friends. Unfortunately, lingering hurtful assumptions continued to impact their lives. As she chose in vitro fertilisation (IVF) to become a mother, what followed was a storm of judgment that eclipsed the nuances of their choices. They were forced to retreat from social interactions and bear the weight of others' opinions. Families, too, faced the brunt of scrutiny, compelling them to withdraw from gatherings.

Judgments made without awareness of individuals' circumstances can prove to be incredibly hurtful. Many find it easier than making an effort to comprehend others' actual situations. Minding our own business and watching our words help us steer clear of inflicting unwarranted harm to others. Redirecting the time spent obsessing about others' lives towards self-reflection allows constructive communication.

We engage in a process to make sense of the world around us. Forming an opinion or decision based on available information is an important part. However, it might be tricky sometimes and might lead to grave mistakes. It is essential to critically examine what is upfront to ensure that our judgments are well-founded and fair.

A behaviour observed in a specific situation does not accurately reflect enduring personality traits. External factors should be considered. For instance, perceiving an angry public servant as merely an unfriendly person might overlook the possibility that they are exhausted, overworked, or preoccupied with concerns about a sick family member at home. It could be that the receiver happened to encounter the person on a particularly challenging day for them. Such nuances are often overlooked when opinions are based on limited information.

On the other hand, accepting something influenced by personal beliefs, biases, or limited information may not always be accurate or reliable since they lack a solid foundation in evidence. Judgments can be influenced by assumptions.

A significant aspect of personal development involves recognising how we gauge ourselves and making a conscious choice. We should not let ourselves be defined solely by the metrics of others. Dwelling on the areas where we were scrutinised the most can lead to fixation, hindering our ability to live freely, as what happened to my friends. Had people opted for compassion and understanding, they could have offered comfort instead of making social life unbearable.

In a world where assumptions prevail, a shift towards empathy, understanding, and the liberation of individuals from unwarranted scrutiny is necessary. True societal peace begins when the cycle of judgment is abandoned. Imagine all that could be achieved if people were allowed the freedom to decide their path.

PUBLISHED ON Feb 17,2024 [ VOL 24 , NO 1242]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at

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