A little more kindness, a little less judgement
On a rare evening out with two of my dearest friends the subject of judgement and social pressure came up. We talked about these Instagram women who seemed to be combining kids, a stressful job, a perfect body and still have time for vacationing in exotic locations.
We even talked about our friends’ lives as a sort of measurement stick for success in life. Who had what? And who had more success in one or another area? It seemed important to be as close to perfection as humanly possible. (I should say womanly possible, because I think men don’t feel the need to play this perfection game)
As a proud believer in “women should stick together” (Read: True Female Power) I try to not pay this much attention to comparing myself to other women. However, later that evening when one of my friends accused me of judging her kid friendly, all-inclusive vacation that was coming up, I started questioning myself. Am I really non-judgemental or is it just a pretend game?
Do I judge my friends for leading different lives? I didn’t think so, but maybe my jokes about this kid friendly vacation revealed a judgement of some sort? A comparison that I thought I wasn’t making? I live a distinctly different life than most of my friends as they all have a family. This shifts your focus in life. And when you lead completely different types of lives, is staying friends just a little bit harder? Just because you make different choices? Can you still be honest about your opinions? Or is it better to keep them to yourself? Maybe the question is, what makes honesty flip into judgement? Is our instinct to judge as soon as we don’t understand? Or to judge when we simply have different opinions?
Despite our best efforts, we all judge others. It might be over small things, like a co-worker who took too long of a lunch break. Or it might be over bigger issues, such as a person who behaves selfishly or hurts our feelings. The things I judge them on are as random as they possible come. Off the top of my head: I judge people who live routine lives. I judge people who vote right-winged. I judge people who wear burkas. I judge people who don’t like oral sex. I judge people who use drugs. I judge people with tattoo’s in their necks. I judge people who have more than 2 cats. I judge people who’s choices I don’t understand. Why? Probably because it makes me question myself and nobody likes that. Me included.
Brene Brown says: “If I feel good about my parenting, I have no interest in judging other people's choices. If I feel good about my body, I don't go around making fun of other people's weight or appearance. We're hard on each other because were using each other as a launching pad out of her own perceived deficiency.”
So I have decided to work on this. To judge less and to try and understand more. Because we have all walked a path that has led to the decisions we make and nobody asked for my judgement or yours for that matter.
Your brutal honesty?
Ain’t nobody asking for that. Where is your clever honesty? Your compassionate honesty?
Your insightful honesty? Uplifting? Poetic? Empowering?
Take your brutal honesty and go sit in the back with all the devil’s advocate. Thanks.