Scrolling through my Facebook News Feed the other day I discovered that (once again) I was judging other people's posts.
I find that I am critical about the content...judging whether or not the information should actually be shared publicly (there's nothing I hate more then to be scrolling through and stumble onto a post by someone who feels compelled to tell the world their kid was puking all night long...or they were up puking all night). I have been known to criticize women who have taken selfies from a position that obviously indicates they are desperately in need of boosting their self-image. Even-less-than-stellar are the moments when I am casually flipping through and see an entry that immediately makes me think, "There he goes again, posting his kid's accomplishment for the millionth time...it's like he needs pat-on-the-back for his parenting, give me a break."
Did I just describe you? Could you be like me and find yourself judging others (whether through social media posts or otherwise)?
Or maybe you are the person taking the selfie, sharing the story about lice invading your home, or posting a kudos for yourself because your son got accepted into the college of your dreams?
Though it's tempting to play high and mighty the reality is I have been on both sides of the judgment fence MANY times.
I am completely guilty of sharing information and pictures others could care less about. I have totally shared images of myself when I thought, "Damn girl you look pretty good for nearing 50!" AND...I have definitely posted some things about my kids that might lead you to believe they are angels ALL THE TIME, indicating I am the Mother Teresa of parenting.
Why do we do this? Why do we judge other people about their life and shares when we are [or, at least I am] JUST AS GUILTY of doing the same thing?!
If I said it was human nature to judge others would that excuse the behavior?
Of course not.
I honestly don't believe human beings are capable of completely throwing all judgment out the window...BUT, I do believe I can do better at releasing the negative commentary that sometimes runs through my brain and I have decided it's my new years goal to work on this.
Is lightening up on judging others something you'd like to work on this year as well?
If that's the case, below is the plan I will follow to help me stay true to my word to work on ridding myself of an excess of the judgment bug, maybe these suggestions can help you as well:
Kim's plan for becoming "less judgy" in the new year...
- ACKNOWLEDGE the problem (BOOM, I just did that). It's impossible to change something (a) you don't think you have a problem with, or (b) doesn't bother you enough to care to do anything about even when it hits your radar. The bottom line is it bothers me that I spend as much precious time as I do judging others. At the end of the day what difference does it make if Suzie Q needs the image boost so she posts a selfie, right? Or that John's proud his kid got into his alma mater? Live and let live! Think not the least of others (that they are looking for attention in some way), but of their best intention...
- Move into AWARENESS. I can just hear myself thinking,"Hey there sister you're being judgy again!" Now that I see this is a problem in my life I can begin to recognize each time it's happening. I know with other areas of my life when I took this step I got better at discovering the behavior so I know soon I will be able to spot it more quickly and move into the next step...
- ASK. I will find the courage to ask myself (with curiosity)each time I notice myself judging, what am I getting out of being critical of another person in this moment? Does it make me feel better about myself to put others down? If so, why? Am I jealous? If so, why? Am I lonely? Why? Figure it out. Self-reflection goes a long way toward shifting habits and behavior!
- REDIRECT. Once I have uncovered the why behind the judgment, I will redirect myself into more positive behavior. I can turn away from social media at that time, I can find a positive counter point to my negativity about the particular post ("she actually does look pretty stink'n good for her age"), I will ask myself if this behavior is really who I want to be in the world.
- MOVE ON WITH GRACE. Like I said, I don't think human beings can ever completely negate all judgment, so when it does happen I will go through the steps above and then forgive myself. I will remind myself being less "judgy," like so many other behaviors in life, is a practice.
It's easy to judge; it's harder to expect more from yourself and to raise your level of consciousness to include an open-minded, well-intentioned view of others. Judge if you must, but do so tenderly knowing there is always more to the story than what you see right in front of you.
Here's to a new year filled with more compassion, grace, and positive thoughts...because goodness knows the world needs it...
and it begins with me.