First Impressions… by JoAnn

Two men shaking hands in front of a pink background.

I had always believed that my first impression of someone would tell me all I needed to know about them. I could always tell whether or not I could trust them, and if they were someone I would like to pursue a friendship or professional relationship with. I always trust my instincts, and I have always taken pride in noticing the little things in people and being able to read them. To see deeper than someone may be sharing with the world. After my many years on this sweet earth, I now think I was wrong.

Oh, I still believe we can catch most of a person’s true self by using our instincts and observations. And our past experiences with others make us wiser. But I must admit, quite a few people I thought I had pegged and they boldly proved me wrong. Leaving me to question myself.

I’ll admit my ego is a little bruised when I realize I misjudged someone off a first impression. And I don’t quite know how to feel about it. I guess I should be happy if the person ended up being a much better individual than I had first thought. That’s a good mistake to make. But, of course, it is unfortunate to realize the opposite. When someone you thought was good turned out to be a bad person. No one likes that.

So I’m left asking myself, should I still put as much merit into a first impression? Probably not. It seems only logical that we should at least give someone a second chance before we decide to let them into our life, whether personally or professionally. I like to think I can read someone with 100% accuracy upon a first impression, but that is purely my ego talking. I have no magical powers. Ouch.

So I humbly concede that I may have misjudged others on a first impression. Have you ever noticed that there’s a chance for upheaval anytime the word judge is in the mix? Yet another thing to prove that we are not to judge others.

Today, I passed a property where one family has a house, two mobile homes, and a vast assortment of junk. The property is an eyesore. Every time I drive by, I am annoyed. Today I stopped myself. I was judging that family. Who am I to do so? I don’t even know their names! And why do I even care? I don’t have to live there. So what if their property needs a good clean up. They are trying every day just as hard as I am in my own life for all I know. I don’t know their story. Maybe there is a legit reason their property ended up in such bad shape.

I drove on toward my home, full of repentance, feeling ashamed of myself for all the times over the years that I had judged a family I didn’t even know. I am thankful that I finally recognized what I was doing today and can now change my bad attitude.

My hope is the next time I drive past that property, I will have a prayer in my heart for that family. If they are overwhelmed, like I have been myself many times, they will receive a helping hand, just like I have, many, many times over. Just more proof of how impressions can be gravely misunderstood.

Now I ask myself, what kind of impression do I give? Now that is something to ponder.