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Letting Myself Be Judged

Sometimes I’m scared to tell people things because I think they’ll judge me. I’m afraid they’ll think I’m weird or crazy or whatever. I know I’ve written about judgment before, but usually it’s been about preconceived notions. This week I’ve been dealing with the fallout of feeling judged, sitting with the discomfort of having someone else judge me and what I’m doing. I’m not going to lie, it was uncomfortable. I wanted to denigrate myself and somehow get on their side, show them I knew how silly I was being. I didn’t want to squirm in the spotlight and was looking to get out from under the microscope as soon as possible.

 

When I talked to a friend of mine about it he said, “Whenever somebody judges you it’s about them. It’s their issue.” I realized he’s right. If somebody is bothered by me or judging me it’s really their own insecurity coming up. Or perhaps I’m highlighting a way of being they would also enjoy. Or perhaps they’re judging me because they’re scared. Whatever it is doesn’t matter because the point is it belongs to them. I am just a vessel. I cannot be anyone other than me, even when it’s uncomfortable.

 

What this also brings up within me is people pleasing. I want people to like me, so sometimes I start to ingratiate myself to them. Judgment is one of those times. When someone harbors ill will toward me is another. I want to turn myself inside out so they’ll like me again. What I’m learning is that’s not my responsibility. Other people are allowed to judge me. Other people are allowed to dislike me. Other people are allowed to feel whatever they’re feeling toward me, even if it’s an emotion I’d rather they not felt. The very bottom line is I cannot control other people. I want to, a part of me wants to manipulate and say the right things to get someone to like me again, but that is a road I’m choosing not to walk down.

 

I guess ultimately what this post is about is being authentic no matter the consequences. It’s about being me even when it’s uncomfortable. It’s about allowing myself to be judged and not bending my will to someone else’s. It’s about not feeling afraid someone won’t like me or will think I’m kooky or will never forgive me because of something I said or did. Because that’s their issue. My issue is wanting to change who I am to appease someone else. It’s uncomfortable but I can take it. And I pray other people know they can take it too.

 

I dream of a world where we live with the uncomfortable feelings without trying to push them away. A world where we let other people judge us because we know it has nothing to do with us. A world where stop trying to please those around us to make ourselves feel better. A world where we let ourselves be who we are and we let others be who they are in the most loving way possible.

 

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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The Only One Judging Me is Me

“I’m wearing brown boots with a black jacket! People are going to judge me!” “I didn’t meditate as long as my friend! What’s he going to think?” Here’s a little secret: No one is judging me as much as I’m judging myself. People are generally self-centered creatures and more often than not are thinking about themselves. So while I’m contemplating judgment for pairing brown boots with a black jacket, the person I’m passing on the street is probably worrying about how people might judge her for wearing sunglasses while it’s cloudy.

I know it seems trivial but when I can finally let go of self-judgment (or even judging myself for how others will judge me) I get to show up in the world. I get to be me without fear of repercussions. I get to do what I feel is best. I get to know and experience joy because I’m doing what I want without fear of what others might think. It can be paralyzing, the fear of others’ judgment. Not wanting to step out of line because the neighbors will gossip. But really, it’s usually just me judging myself. And when it’s not, well, there’s an excellent Dr. Seuss quote that addresses that: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Yes. How true. Those that I love and who love me will not pass judgment on wearing brown boots with a black jacket, or for anything else my mind can think of. And if someone does think I’m a clueless fashion train wreck, I don’t necessarily want them in my life, now do I?

I suppose what I’m saying on a deeper level is the person who judges me the most is me. I’m my worst critic. I’m the one who berates myself, who says means things. And everyone else is doing the same. (At least I think they are. I’ve heard tale anyway.)

Where I am now is trying not to worry about what others think, yes, but also not worry about what I think others will think. It is safe for me to show up in the world. It is safe for me to express myself. It is safe for me to do things and say things and wear things that are in alignment with my heart without fear of judgment. I can give myself that permission, to be all that I can be. To rejoice in life. To accept myself as I am because honestly, no one really cares and the people who care aren’t worth associating with.

I have to admit I’ve been a bit scared to show my true colors, but I see now, I don’t have to be. Because the only one judging me is me.

I dream of a world where we stop judging ourselves and each other. A world where we know it’s safe to be ourselves. A world where we live life to the fullest, expressing the truest part of ourselves. A world where we love ourselves and each other. A world where we let ourselves be. A world where we give ourselves permission to do so.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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Releasing Judgment

There’s an expression I’ve heard that says, “Compare and despair.” Ain’t that the truth! There’s always going to be someone who is “better” or “worse” than me at something. In the past I’ve used it as a marker of self-worth or importance. As in, I can feel good about myself if I’m better than Jane Doe at a particular task, but feel bad about myself if I’m worse. Whoa buddy. Now isn’t that a perfect setup for creating a complex?

I bring this up because this week I do find I’m comparing myself to those around me. On both ends of the spectrum. I’ve compared myself and came up short and compared myself and came out ahead. Neither one of those is where I’d like to be. I don’t want to be ahead or behind. I don’t want to feel superior or inferior. In many ways it’s easier for me to deal with inferiority because then I can pull out my favorite quotes about how we’re all divine children of God and we’re all made to shine. It’s much harder for me to deal with superiority and arrogance because I almost feel like that’s what it means to believe I’m a divine child of God.

Really though superiority and inferiority are different sides of the same coin. When I start comparing myself to others, puffing up my ego, I’m overcompensating. I’m overcompensating to make myself feel better. To make myself believe I am courageous and intuitive and strong. Because a part of me must not really believe it. Otherwise I wouldn’t need to say I’m braver than so-and-so. Otherwise I would just feel that I’m brave, period.

All of this is just a long-winded way of saying when I judge others (and myself) it’s a sign I’m not giving me the love I need. Just like I wrote before about wanting people to pay attention to me, judgment is another indicator I’m not looking internally enough. I’m not telling myself, “I love you,” enough.

It would be very easy to start self-chastising, to criticize myself for being judgmental or arrogant or whatever, but the truth is those acts are so not helpful. They don’t correct the problem, they just make me feel worse. Criticizing only compounds the situation and adds a layer of guilt and shame.

I bring this up because judgment runs rampant in our society in all corners of the world. Somehow we’ve been conditioned to rank ourselves, figure out what our place is, and judge those around us. I for one don’t want to participate anymore. I’d rather be completely focused on me and my life, allowing other people to be who there, accepting them as they are, and letting go of anything else. I’d rather feel at peace with where I am, knowing the only person I can change or even want to change is myself. I’d rather deeply and completely love and approve and accept myself. I know when I do judgment falls away.

And I have that wish for others. (A video I’m tapping along with to help me in the process can be found here.)

I dream of a world where people are more internally focused. A world where they recognize they are who they are and comparisons are futile. A world where people love and approve and accept themselves. A world where people feel love for themselves and the love coming at them from the Universe. A world where we recognize we are each unique incarnations of God/Brahma/the Universe and that’s awesome. A world where we know someone else’s brilliance only heightens our own.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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Let Other People Think What They May

On Halloween I sat in the car with my friend and remarked how I loved her baby’s outfit. He wore an orange and white onesie that said, “I want my mummy.”

I remarked, “Little kids and old people can wear anything. I sure couldn’t pull off his outfit.”

“Yes you could,” you said.

“I guess you’re right.”

“You just wouldn’t be buying into social conformity,” she added.

That one comment got me thinking about conformity and what’s “appropriate” for people to wear. What is appropriate and who gets to define it? I understand dressing for the weather, but other than that, why is some clothing more “appropriate” than others? Why do we have a corporate culture that dictates men and women have to wear suits? Why can’t I wear an orange and white jumpsuit into the office? As long as I’m not harming myself or others what does it matter? I also realized I have such admiration and respect for people who wear whatever the heck they want with total confidence. I realized I want to be one of those people too. With more than just clothes.

I realized from my friend’s comment how much I let what other people might think of me dictate my behavior. For instance, as I walk home from work I end telephone conversations with my parents by reciting affirmations. When I get to crosswalks or too close to people I furtively mumble my affirmations or pause while I wait for the light to change. Because, ohmygod what would people think?!? Honestly they probably wouldn’t think anything. And if they did does it really matter?

I’m coming to a place where I realize what other people think is really none of my business. When I get caught up in how others might be judging me it only causes stress and misery. A few months ago I wrote a post about being home alone on a Saturday night and how I choose what I feel. Part of my angst about it stemmed from this notion I’ve carried with me since high school. The idea if I stay home on the weekend I’m unlovable or pathetic or a friendless loser. Guess what? No one has ever said that to me. In fact, I’d wager people aren’t thinking about me and my weekend plans at all; they are too busy living their lives and worrying about their own weekend plans.

The flip side of worrying about what other people think is so what if they are judging me? If people think I’m a pathetic loser freak for staying home on a Saturday, so what? If people think I look ridiculous wearing an orange and white jumpsuit that says, “I want my mummy,” so what? What does it matter and who cares? Why should I let other people’s perceptions (or fear of their perceptions) limit me? My joy and my happiness is the most important thing in my world. Life is too short to spend it worrying about what’s going in my neighbor’s head.

I dream of a world where we move beyond limitation and lack. A world where we do what makes us happy, what brings us joy. I dream of a world where we realize our perception of ourselves is what matters the most. A world where we realize we are free to do whatever we want. A world where we are loved and accepted as we are unconditionally. A world where we love ourselves so deeply what other people think of us doesn’t even enter our minds. A world where we all march to the beat of our own drummer knowing we are in complete alignment with our highest selves and our highest good. A world where we allow ourselves to be who we are in every conceivable way.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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