Judgmental much? The realization that saved my sanity...
I don’t know if you caught it but last week’s killer kale post had a glaring typo in it. I wrote breathe when I meant breath. Dear goodness, how embarrassing! For those of you who did indeed catch it, thank you for not rubbing my nose in it. And for those of you who didn’t, start reading more closely! ;) This breathe/breath debacle, which I caught 10 minutes after the email went out, tipped off an early morning rant that I know left the neighbors fearful for my mental sanity.
Here are some of the lovely phrases that dropped out of my mouth:
I'm insanely stupid!
I am a terrible writer.
No wonder I didn’t get into Tufts!
Only an idiot would let this happen.
I’m the worst proofreader on the planet.
This is why I only got a B in Honors English!!
You can see where this is going.
My monkey mind loves to yip, chirp and otherwise scream biting insecurities and judgments at me any chance it gets and on this particular morning, we were goin’ full steam. And let’s be honest: in my immediate estimation, I deserved an ego smack-down. I would have thought the exact same thing (and have, actually) had I received an email or newsletter with such an obvious typo. “What is wrong with this person? Don’t they know the difference between 'breathe' and 'breath'? What an idiot!!” And this is where judgment is really sneaky. As it turns out, your judgment of others is simply a reflection of the deeply-ingrained insecurities and judgment you heap upon yourself. Whoa, nelly!!
To start being OK with your mistakes, it’s imperative to first soften your personal judgments.
Now, in the past (as in last week), being OK with my mistakes just killed me. People say to be like the proverbial duck and just let it roll off your back. I never understood that duck and actually found his nonchalant attitude toward mistakes quite annoying. I thought, “Who does he thinks he is with his slick-feathered coat letting everything slide off him without a scratch? Forget that dude! He obviously hasn't dealt with seriously BIG mess-ups like a typo in an email.” And of course with those thoughts, I was both judging myself AND a duck that doesn't even exist! The best though was that after all of that, I stepped back, realized the negative pattern I was in and started judging myself for being judgmental. “You know better,” I chastised. “You meditate. You eat kale for goodness sake, you should be better than this!!”
So, the big take-away from all of this is I’m an insanely judgmental person. And if we are all being honest, so are you. There is no one on this planet who does not pass judgment on themselves and on others. We can’t help it. It’s built into us through family dynamics, the school playground, media, advertising etc. And though I work daily on not judging others, the whole not judging myself thing has proved a bit harder.
So, here's the golden ticket to getting out of judgment jail.
It's OK. It's OK. It's ALL freakin’ OK.
Seriously. Sit with that for a sec and don't let your judgmental Judy chime in. It really is OK. So I made an obvious and quite embarrassing typo. It is OK. So I was mean to my sister (sorry Laura!), or went over my budget or broke someone's vase or even their heart. It's OK. The quickest way to ease judgment is believing, and then feeling, that whatever you did, whatever they did, is all OK.
Now I know what you’re saying, “Nope, I just can’t let it be OK, Jamie. Because if everything is OK then how will I repent when I’ve messed up? Ripping myself, and others, a new one is my only gauge to know when I, or they, do something wrong.” But think about this: the guilt and judgment (which feeds anxiety and fear beautifully) does nothing but put your mind back on the judgment Ferris wheel for another, seemingly unending, ride. There is zero glory in self flagellation. Zero my friends! We think it makes us a better, stronger person but in reality it keeps us in a gut-wrenching cycle of anxiety and eventual despair.
It is only when we can make a mistake, own up to it, say we are sorry, really mean it and then proclaim to ourselves, ITS ALL OK, that we can let go and experience the lightness and freedom only reserved for those special, slippery-coated ducks.
So tell me, how are you judgmental with yourself and others? What does it feel like to say, IT'S OK? What are your tips on telling your judgmental Judy to take a hike? Tell me in the comments below.
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