JUDGING. We are ALL guilty of it. Even though we don’t like to admit it openly. Why? Because we are afraid others will judge us.
FEAR of FAILURE. We all struggle with this. Even though we may not openly admit it or realize it, FEAR paralyzes many of us and holds us back.
I was raised by two people who were COMPLETELY anal when it came to maintaining privacy. Everything was a SECRET.
At age 5, I was taught that when people ask questions about our life, I was to answer “That’s none of your business!” (True story, in fact I remember offending a mother of a kid in my kindergarten class.)
I remember it drove me NUTS as I got older, because if I mentioned anything to someone in our “church congregation” or classmate that I wasn’t supposed to, I would get into HOT water at home.
I remember when my dad lost his job when I was around 8-9. I never really realized it until I was talking to Coby the other week, that this part of my life, really shaped who I am when it comes to how I deal with finances. Our family struggled BIG time. We had dinners up at my grandparents. My grandfather gave our family a car. I remember going to the grocery store with my mom, with a calculator and adding up how much the groceries in our cart were and often times putting things back on the shelf. I remember my grandfather buying me school clothes. I remember my mom crying. I remember my dad being a really angry person during this time. I vividly remember this time period. I remember confiding in my friend Michelle on the playground and telling her to make sure she did NOT tell a soul because I would get in trouble at home and sure enough she did tell someone else.
My parents are some of the most judgmental people I know. I remember frequent rides home from church or dinner with “friends” where I would sit in the back seat and listen to my parents critique and talk bad about their “so-called” friends. They always had an opinion about everyone, all based on face value. Now as an adult I realize HOW damaging this was to me. It basically sent signals to me saying it was okay to hang out with people you truly didn’t like or have anything in common with and that it was okay to talk bad about people and to judge them. I now realize that things such as my dad losing his job and being jobless for awhile and our struggles financially as a family being kept a secret, was because they were ashamed and worried what people would think. They were afraid of being judged themselves. Interesting, eh? Hypocritical to say the least. I remember my mother telling me as kid (because I was constantly made fun of at school so was constantly trying to fit in), “Mindy, don’t worry what others think. Just be yourself.” Which is ironic to me, considering I was being raised by incredibly judgmental people and also every move I made, had to be what they or the church required/wanted/expected.
I will be the FIRST to admit that I was one judgmental person. Ryan and I used to even have a “thing” where we would point out people in a crowd and start judging them, making up stories about what we thought there life was like in a cruel manner. Now, when we see people, we end up talking to them and instead of assuming we know what their story is, we actually get to know the truth about them and have formed some pretty cool new friendships.
I’ve realized recently, that I have tried to win over people who no matter what I say or do, will never see me for who I am. So why spend the time or energy trying to get them to recognize and acknowledge me? I’ve realized that not everyone is going to like me, not everyone is going to agree with me, not everyone is going to think I am worthy of being their friend, not everyone will share my same sense of humor or opinion on big things or trivial things. So I’ve decided to stop caring about what EVERYONE thinks and JUST BE ME. Those who matter won’t mind. Those who mind don’t matter.
One of my biggest fears was standing up in front of a crowd, much less speaking.
Then I had this ephiphany – Most people share this same fear. WHY? Because they are afraid of being judged. Why? Because they judge and assume others are doing the same thing. We are a selfish breed. We all assume others think like us and if they don’t, there’s something wrong with them.
I really dug deep and dissected my fear and realized this fear stemmed from school. Remember, having to do some lame research on some topic that you can’t even remember, much less matters now as an adult and you had to stand up in front of your classmates who all were just WAITING for you to F up so they could laugh at you? Well welcome to adulthood. Most “public presentations” made by YOU are based on a topic of interest, passion or expertise. The crowd you are performing for are there to learn from you. Once I realized that and decided that the ONLY way to get over a fear is to face it head on, I’ve been able to overcome this fear.
All I can share with you is this bit of advice. STOP judging. Judging comes in MANY FORMS – such as the examples listed above, which carries thru to the next generation and prevents you from bettering your life and your path and helping others. Here are some other examples of judging – Think of all the times you KNOW you are half-assing your role as a spouse, parent, employee, friend, etc and then you JUSTIFY it by saying “Well, blah blah blah blah is so much worse. So I am doing better than ‘average’!”. Or think of all the times you take a blow at your self-esteem when you COMPARE your life or abilities to that of another based on face value. Many people don’t think they are good enough, smart enough, brave enough, or amazing human beings and fail to see the wonderful things they’ve accomplished in life because they are too busy comparing their life’s to someone else’s and allow someone else’s life to make them feel in adequate. STOP DOING THAT SHIT! Focus on all the INCREDIBLE things YOU have done, not measured by what others your age or in your peer group have done.
What can you do NOW to get out of the habit of JUDGING? I am a work in progress and steadily have to remind myself to NOT give a crap about what others think and stop assuming I know how others life is behind close doors or what goes on in their head or what has happened in their past.
I constantly share my struggles, my past, the things that made me insecure for many years, NOT for sympathy, but in hopes that somehow I can inspire someone out there who thinks they can’t be awesome or achieve something they once dreamt about long, long, long time ago.