Something that is becoming very clear to me is that when I am worried about others judging me I am often judging them! An easy example is church. Children's behavior at church is often challenging - being quiet and still are not high on most children's agendas! I am constantly pushed out of my comfort zone when we attend mass with Marisol and Gerry. What behavior is acceptable and what is not? When do we take them out and when is it ok for them to stay? Marisol was twirling this past week towards the end of mass. We were in the back area of our parish, not actually in the sanctuary. She wasn't being loud. But I was still uncomfortable. She is 5 - is that too old for that kind of behavior? Should we have tried to re-direct her? Mike was fine with what she was doing. Right before we went up for communion I saw a little boy starting to imitate Marisol - he was clearly younger, maybe 3 years old. His mom gave him a stern look and beckoned him to come to her. Oh boy I thought, here we go being the "bad influences" or the "permissive parents". I "knew" she was thinking we should have stopped Marisol or some other thing. Meanwhile, I'm thinking, "She's not bothering anyone and neither is your son, what's the big deal?" Whoops! So quickly we go from judged to judging!
I have struggled over the years with the idea of "judging". For a long time I thought we should NOT judge others ever. For one, you never know what another person is experiencing, what their past has been like etc. I felt like, "You don't judge me, and I won't judge you". Then I got to a point where I felt like ALL people judge, it is part of being human, but it is how you express or don't express the judgment that is important. An easy example of this for me is in regards to benign things like picking a baby's name. Everyone's opinion of what is a "good" name is different - but that doesn't mean you have to share with your best friend that you think the name they picked out is awful! Ok, well that may be more of an opinion than a judgement (are they different?) but you get the idea. It's kind of like, "Go ahead judge me, and I'll judge you, let's just keep it to ourselves!" Kind of a "be nice" ideal.
So where do I stand now? Somewhere in between I guess. As I stated in my "Obligatory Disclaimer" I do believe there are better and worse choices in life. Who can argue with that? And by choosing what we feel is best we *are* making a judgement. However, I also feel like it is very important to be very careful of "judging" people in specific circumstances, especially people we may see out and about but whom we know very little about (ie at church, the grocery store, the playground). Who knows what that person has been through or what they are struggling with in that moment? I love this story of this woman moving from judgement to compassion and how it totally changed the situation. That is what I am striving for. And one of the best ways I can do that is by not judging myself too harshly, by living by my own principles the best I can, by being forgiving of myself and others, and by treating every situation with compassion and an open heart. It feels kinder and more authentic than either of my previous stances. Not easy to achieve but I'm trying!
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.