My answer to the first question is actions.
Most times, I judge people base on what they do, rather than why they did it. And I believe everyone else does, or at least, most of us. Since actions reflect the perception of people at that particular point in time. Consciously and subconsciously, we compare our perception with others' when we judge them.
But we fail to acknowledge the past experiences & values, time factor & emotional reactions, and reasons behind the action, when we jump into judgement. We are all products of our past experiences in life. Hence, our perceptions would always vary; our values may differ. Since no two persons have equal occurrence of events in their lives at the same proportion (permutation & combination), therefore; we are definitely going to see things differently. What is right to you may not be right in my eyes.
Another factor we need to consider is time. As life takes its course; as time goes by, we may begin to see things clearer. It would be unfair to judge someone based on what they did years, months or even days ago. Additionally, it is one thing to do what is right, doing it the right time is another. How we emotionally react to the occurrence of an event varies not only from person to person, but also from time to time. Huge variations occur in one's character in times of success, turmoil and chaos. We cannot account for the regrets one might have felt after realising their wrongs.
The reasons behind an action are almost as important as the action itself, sometimes even more. The why drives everything that we do. Sometimes, we do things because we want to be accepted by some people, and we may end up forgetting our real selves in the process.
However, when something happens, and explanations aren't forthcoming, poor outcomes may ensue. How easily the irritation you'd feel at being told you have to work an extra shift for the next one month while another colleague was just granted a sabbatical. This might turn into a willingness to pitch in when you learn that this colleague had just been diagnosed with cancer and needs time for chemotherapy. How embarrassed we may feel if we've created a scene before getting the details.
The bottom line is, even if a change doesn't benefit us; even if it causes us harm in some way; if our senses of fairness are satisfied, the possibility of acceptance increases exponentially.
What wisdom might you have gained had you been more open-minded?
It is unfair to judge people, but we can not escape from comparison or judgement. However, we shouldn't use that as an excuse. We have to learn to suppress it. How do we know that we are right and they are wrong? What made them do what they did?
The past experiences & values, time factor & emotional reactions, and reasons are important factors that shouldn't be neglected. Some people may do things without any reasons, but that doesn't render the other factors inexistent.
Every action has its causes and effects. We need to try to understand the causes to prevent the effects.
I think we're very prejudiced and fearful people. The education given by some families, some schools and almost all religions, have encouraged an enormous degree of prejudice in us. Particularly, in my youth, I was very prejudiced about sex, so much so that I lost my virginity at the age of 23. In my immediate surroundings, the woman was a symbol of purity and I had to remain chaste until I reached the altar. A woman who had many sexual relations could be considered a prostitute or not worthy of marriage. In my community, it was normal to see a young woman who got pregnant young being stigmatized. In fact, some girls locked themselves in their homes so as not to be singled out, or went far away with their families so as not to feel the weight of shame. What's more, I remember one time a girl committed suicide because the harassment and contempt was so great. Sex was seen not only as a sin but as something bad but necessary for procreation.
One day I realized the difference between male and female sex education. Men could not only have sex with as many women as they wanted but they were also applauded for their love affairs. Among the men there were the most joking conversations about sexual pleasures, masturbation and the like without any of them being pointed out or judged. On the contrary, if any of them dared to express their ignorance about the subject, it was cause for mockery.
Today, I feel that I could have lived experiences that are only lived in youth and that I missed them because I was closed to many things. The important thing is that the square that my brain was in, I removed it and I see things in a more relaxed and even more exciting way. Sex is good and it is one of the most delicious experiences that human beings can experience.