Please welcome Coco. I’ve known her for what feels like an eternity. I’ve admired her for just as long. I’m always always learning from her & I’m grateful for the post below.
When I saw Carla’s post confessing how she’s judged others before walking in their shoes, it made me think about how I judge others.
With Lent approaching, I thought it would be a good practice to notice when I judge others, catch myself, and figure out where the judgment was coming from.
Don’t all good Christians get inspiration for their Lenten practice from their favorite Jewish friends? 😉
Overall, I learned that I am not a very judgmental person. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, although I am least kind in traffic.
Cut me off in traffic? Are you blind? Maybe you didn’t see me.
Try to jump the merge line? Do you think you’re in more of a hurry than everyone else? Maybe you just realized that you need to be in this lane.
I did catch myself telling myself that I was “better” than someone else in a professional situation. In my defense, the person definitely acted like he was superior to me when I was just starting out, but that’s no reason to put him down now.
The judgment I’m more ashamed of was my reaction to a picture in my Facebook feed. A very overweight person was celebrating a 5K by enjoying some calorie-laden food offered at the finish line. I can’t even remember what it was, but I do remember thinking “No wonder s/he is overweight.”
In Carla’s post, she wrote that judging a person is more about you than about them, and that definitely was true for me in that moment.
I still have issues about “deserving” to eat certain foods and having to “earn” indulgent treats. I think my anger over all the years I ate to excess without fully knowing what I was doing to myself made me think, “Do you know you’d have to run five 5k’s to burn off all those calories?!”
Please don’t judge me for passing judgment here.
I immediately knew how wrong my reaction was and kept my ugly thoughts to myself. I think the anonymity of the post (I didn’t know the person) made it even easier for me to project my own issues onto the situation.
What surprised me the most is how often I found myself judging myself as a mother.
Although my kids are grown, a lot of parenting articles make their way into my Facebook feed, I guess because many of my friends have kids and are liking and sharing those articles.
I found myself comparing my mothering to the advice du jour, wondering if that approach might have worked with my kids, and feeling regret over what I did “wrong.”
I had gotten pretty harsh on myself before I realized that I was judging myself, and that I deserved as much compassion as I was practicing towards others.
After I took a step back, I could see that I honestly did my best when I was making the parenting choices I made, even if I might make different choices if I had it to do all over again.
I was still processing all this when I saw the “World’s Okayest Mom” teaser for the #WYCWYC podcast. That picture made me smile, and helped me see my parenting from the #wycwyc perspective.
I had done what I could when I could, and what I did was good enough.
My kids are on the verge of graduating from college (knock-on-wood) and while we don’t have the closest relationships, they know we love them and can count on us whenever they need anything.
The fantasy world of Facebook makes me want much more, but in the reality of our lives, I know that what we have is pretty darn good.
So, what did I learn from all this focus on judgment?
When I judge others, it usually is a defense mechanism or me projecting my insecurities onto someone else.
When I judge myself, if I filter my “fault” through the #wycwyc lens, I can either do something about it (if I haven’t been doing what I can) or accept it as good enough (if I have).
Oh, and I probably spend too much time on Facebook.
Coco is a 40-something wife, mother (empty-nester), attorney, and runner who blogs at Running With Perseverance.