“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.