Judgement is an Invitation for Reflection and Growth.
Updated: Mar 26, 2019
If you were to ask someone if they think they are judgmental, more likely than not they would probably look at you bewildered, and respond with a resounding, "Of course not!" But the truth of the matter is that we all judge people. When I was younger I used to look at the TOLERANCE bumper stickers on cars and think to myself, "Truth"! But really I was judging people everywhere I went. In fact, I used to judge people for not reacting and responding to the world in the way that I did! Once I became a professional teacher, I used to talk with my teacher tribe, friends or husband at home about how terrible someone was because of how they went about their day, or teaching or managing their classroom, etc. Such naive and ignorant thinking on my part. I mean it devastates me to look back to those years and reflect on how much time, energy and power I gave to these situations. I had not yet learned the fundamental rules about perspective.
Rule Number One: "We see others as we are, not as they are".
This one still gets me from time to time, because I still fight the "expectations" that I put on others. If you are unfamiliar with the horror that is the word, "EXPECTATION" then I highly recommend you read the book, "Mastering Your Mean Girl" by Melissa Ambrosini. In short, expectations, rather unvoiced expectations, lead to disappointment and resentment. More so, if we do not clearly communicate or address our expectations of others, then we are always open to the inevitable disappointment and anger we feel when they don't meet our unvoiced needs. So how does this fit into judgement and our interactions with others? If we continue to approach our conversations and interactions with others thinking that they will act a certain way, or say certain things, we will forever continue to see them as we are, not for who they actually are. I will give you a couple of personal examples.
In my marriage with Kalib, I know he loves me and wants to meet my needs. So why then did I spend so many years arguing over doing laundry? We each grew up differently with different perspectives on chores, in particular laundry. I used to be the typical type A personality person who believed that my physical environment was a direct reflection of my inner world. Thus, laundry was to be cleaned, dried and put away weekly and promptly. Kalib on the other hand, grew up never having to worry about doing laundry and recognized laundry to serve the purpose of clothing his body. Neither one of us was wrong in our perspectives, just different. However, I never voiced that I wanted him to take care of his own laundry and to store it away off the floor, thus inevitably I began to feed the nasty un-met expectation monster and began harboring resentment for him for not doing his laundry. It wasn't until Kalib and I sat down and discussed that I had an unvoiced expectation around laundry and never gave him an opportunity to meet my needs. I wasn't able to
see Kalib for the loving husband who wanted to meet my needs, but rather I saw a man who never met my unvoiced expectations.
To illustrate this further, in my teaching career, I constantly used to have an expectation that parents trusted my intention to best serve their child while in my classroom. Well, after years and years of hate filled emails demanding for my resignation or meeting with my principals, this clearly was a lesson I was continuing to ignore. But the funny thing about the Universe, is that it will continue to throw the same situation or lesson in front of you into you learn and grow from it. I was so insecure in my career that I was interacting with parents under a fear filled mentality. I knew I was exceptional at teaching and with my students, so why was I so afraid that a parent was going to take away my career? I was interacting with parents under the unvoiced expectation that I was capable and secure in my profession and that my title or "Teacher", accolades and reputation would filter negative interactions. I never stopped to clearly communicate that I was on the same team as my students parents in that I wanted what was best for their child. I was seeing parents through the cloudy lens of my own perspective and not theirs.
Communicate clearly and trust that every person will reflect positive energy in return if they are meant to serve your highest good.
Rule Number Two: "We can only control our attitudes and effort".
I have my therapist and Rachel Hollis to thank for this one. As a lifelong "Fixer" in recovery, this was a hard hat type of lesson for me to grasp. My big noggin refused to accept this one until I gave in and watched it unfold in my marriage. I grew up raising my little sister, orchestrating the backyard games and POGG tournaments in the garage, long before I knew I would become a teacher and leader. I was a born problem solver and leader was ingrained at birth. I had a passion for watching others thrive and knowing I helped it happen. As positive as this feels, it became a negative obsession as a young woman and later as a spouse, teacher and friend. I became obsessed with the notion that I knew what was right for everyone else. The ignorance of this rule almost ruined my marriage. I say that with full humility and a heart that has been humbled. Head this rule team, truly and recognize that no matter how hard you may try or want someone to change, you can only control your attitude and effort in the situation.
Another way I like to think about this one is that I can be the example for others. Meaning, that I can model and behave in the ways I hope to inspire others to adopt as well. I was listening to a podcast 3 weeks ago which showcased Mark Groves and his love Kylie McBeath. In the podcast they both spoke about how they "Played leap frog" in regards to their growth as a couple and as individuals. This really resonated with me when Mark said he always aspires to always "invite his partner to grow". How beautiful is that mindset folks?! Grow and model the world you want to be apart of, in order to invite others to rise to meet you.
Rule Number Three: "Every person the universe brings into my life is a mirror".
This was a tough one for me to accept. At first, it really bothered me because it felt like an excuse for others poor behaviors. I seriously looked at this rule as a load of B.S. because I could not own the fact that others were not to blame for my reactions or issues. I used to think things like, "That person is ignorant and should know better." or worse, "If I work harder, other will see how much more valuable I am than him/her." Team, I am embarrassed to admit that, but I honestly felt that way. Through years of self reflection and the help of my therapist, I really started to accept the fact that my negative reactions to other people, was a mirror reflection of an insecurity that I had failed to acknowledge within my self. When I would catch myself beginning to judge someone, I had to leave the situation, and ask myself or reflect in my journal to the following question, "What is it about this situation or person that is making me feel insecure?" That always cut straight to the issue for me because I hated admitting any type of weakness or vulnerability. My answers would always come back to the fact that I was judging others because I was operating with the limiting belief of "I am unlovable and not enough".
The next time you find yourself wanting to gossip, talk shit or judge a person, try asking yourself what it is about this person that is reflecting back something I am ignoring and see how quickly your mindset changes. #selfgrowth
Rule Number Four: "How people treat you is a reflection of them, not you".
Coming from a childhood of trauma, abuse and abandonment, this was a tough lesson to learn. I used to think that how others treated me was a direct reflection of what I deserved. If I worked harder, stayed later, showed up earlier, looked prettier, thinner, etc then they would value me. How wrong this viewpoint is and how easy it is to fall into and allow to run our lives. The truth is you are here and you have value! How someone treats you is a direct reflection of them and is NEVER about you. Think about it. Is there someone you have met in your life who was so secure in themselves that in any interaction you ever had with them, you never once felt judged, devalued but instead accepted, wanted and more positive? This person was reflecting how secure in themselves they are in the world and as a result, their high energy overflowed into you and your energy leaving you feeling loved and accepted. Whereas, in the opposite situation you find yourself around someone who is constantly complaining about their life, their troubles, and their negative energy leaves you suffocated and drained like being in a room filled with black smoke and no open windows. Be mindful of the people you engage with and pick up on their energy. Is this person energizing you or bringing positivity and growth into your life? Or is this person pulling you down and draining your energy like a Energy Vampire, but not in the sexy way like Edward from Twilight. How people treat you is a reflection of their own insecurities or inability to take responsibility for their own attitudes and effort in life.
Rule Number Five: "What is the lesson here?"
Every interaction you have with another human being one this planet is within your control as an adult. You get to choose how you react to life and any given situation. You are allowed to set boundaries and voice your expectations. You are allowed to reflect on a conversation, interaction and choose to see a lesson rather than a moment of oppression. You are in the drivers seat of your life and just because another person doesn't understand it, doesn't make it wrong, it makes us different. The Next time you find yourself casting judgement on another, pause or make time later to reflect on what the lesson was from this situation.
What is this person reflecting back about yourself that bothered you so much?
What expectations did I carry into that conversation and were un met because I did not voice them?
If every interaction someone has with me is a reflection of them and not me, why am I taking this so personally?
Your growth and life journey is something that you alone are responsible for. So make some time to learn the lessons around judgement before the Universe sends them back around again. We teach our children and students to learn, reflect and apply the skills of a classroom into their personal lives, so shouldn't we be modeling the same thing in our own lives? #truthbomb