This is an excerpt from the eighth chapter of my book Embrace Your Destiny: 12 Steps to Living the Life You Deserve. Letting go of the need or desire to judge others can be a challenge, but it is necessary if we want to truly be able to live in the moment and realize all that we want for our lives. I’ve learned to ask what is being mirrored back to me by the person or situation that I’m judging. I hope you enjoy excerpt. Feel free to share thoughts and comments! ♥ ~ Sandra
Judgment has been something I have struggled to release from my life. I include it after the chapter on other people’s opinions of us because I think the two go hand in hand. When people express harsh opinions about who we are or what we do, we are offended or hurt because we feel judged. We are all guilty of judging other people and other things. It’s the essence of gossip columns and many television shows: What’s she wearing? Who are they dating and/or sleeping with? We hear news of famous people doing what is considered “inappropriate” behavior, and we judge them for it. We’ll decide, based on those actions, whether or not we will continue to watch their movies, buy their music or purchase products they endorse. Whether or not the allegations are true doesn’t really matter. We hear the news, the media creates frenzy and before you know it we’re holding mock trials of our own, becoming judge, jury and executioner based on what we’ve heard. We pass judgment on complete strangers based on hearsay, and most of us don’t even see anything wrong with that. Of course, when we are the ones being judged, it doesn’t work the same way. How dare anyone judge our actions? They don’t understand why we did the things we did, and we shouldn’t have to explain ourselves to anyone anyway, right?
When I was younger, I did everything I could to not be judged. It was part of the reason I was such a people pleaser. I was so afraid of being seen as a selfish, uncaring or unkind person that I would do whatever I could to be seen in a positive light. What I didn’t realize at the time was that everyone has preconceived notions of what they consider to be positive behavior. What I thought would put me in the good graces of the people in my life often turned out not to be what they wanted or what they considered to be pleasing. Trying to make everyone happy still left me judged by others who couldn’t understand my motivations. They saw me as someone who was weak, a doormat, lacking a backbone. My desire not to be judged had missed the mark completely, and instead of being left alone to live my life the way I thought others wanted me to, I was faced with the very thing I was trying to avoid. Needless to say, I felt like I was constantly spinning my wheels in some very deep mud, and I was beginning to wonder if my efforts were at all worth it!
There was a time when I used to see the world as very black and white. There was a right way of doing things, and a wrong way. If you didn’t share the same opinion as me on any given subject, whether it be politics, music or sports, then clearly you had allowed someone to lead you astray! I would spend an inordinate amount of time trying to bring lost sheep back to the flock on a given issue. I often defended things as if my life depended on it! In hindsight, I’m amazed at the issues that used to get me so worked up. What’s even worse is that I was totally offended if someone tried to treat me as a lost sheep and bring me back into their fold! The whole idea of doing unto others as you would have them do must have gotten lost in translation somehow. I held steadfast to my beliefs, and at times was so married to my way of thinking that there was no room for any other perspective. I was always complaining about people needing to be more open-minded, without realizing that I was guilty of the very thing I was criticizing!