Those who judge will never understand and those who understand will never judge
Today I want to talk a little bit about judgement.
I heard a story earlier this week, the detail of which I won't go into because it's not my story to tell, but it left me (and the recipient at the time) reeling a little bit. It was about judgement and it got me to thinking why do we feel it's OK to judge others based on our own opinions?
The fear of being judged is one of the biggest confidence killers there is. Every time we put ourselves 'out there' whether it be in business or in life we risk it. For some, this can be utterly paralysing and the death of an idea before it's ever had a chance to see the light of day. We fear it from our families our friends, business associates and the most common of all, strangers.
It seems easy to say, doesn't it? 'Well, just stop worrying about what they think and get on with it, who cares anyway?'
All of us, to some level care about it and that's just human nature so what can we do?
Firstly we have to recognise that judgement of any kind always comes from a place of fear. The person judging another is triggered by whatever is happening so they make a judgement usually based upon their own feelings or perhaps experiences. Again, human nature is to assess a situation and form an opinion and that opinion can only ever be based on our own perception of the world, what else is there?
So what do we do?
We assess (human nature), we form an opinion (human nature) and then we remember that no matter how well we think we know someone (and often we actually don't), we have absolutely no idea what they're going through and then we keep quiet. That's what we do.
We have no right, whatsoever, unless asked for an opinion (and there is a huge difference between sought after advice from a place of love and judgement) to judge anyone else's endeavours. Laying your fear at their door may make you feel better, justified even, but it's poor form and its really not OK.
Have you ever noticed that it's often the people who look like they have it all together who come under the most fire? The celebrities on TV and Social Media, the female travellers braving the world on their own, the mother raising kids and travelling for her career, the list goes on. Why is that? How many celebrity deaths have hit the headlines recently? How many women have been made to feel ashamed for loving their job because they also have a family? Making a life on your own terms is not an invitation for judgement. Forging a path others can't or won't takes a huge amount of courage and it doesn't mean you are open season for comment. Abso-fucking-lutely not.
Judgement comes in many forms, and we're all guilty of it to some level. As I said, a lot of fear-based behaviour is human nature but we do get to choose how we behave and how we show up for ourselves and others. What will you choose?
So the next time you see someone braving it, in whatever form that takes. Pitching a new idea, going back to work after a baby, falling in love again, trying something new after a bereavement or sharing a personal journey, before you say 'too soon' or 'no one will ever buy that' or 'seen it all before' or 'you're not ready yet' stop and think
W-A-I-T (Why Am I Talking)
Is it necessary? Is it kind? Is it constructive or useful? or are you just passing on your own fear or opinion to another person doing the best they can with what they've got?
Seriously, we all have to learn to stop and think sometimes, it can be a difficult one to catch too. We have all participated in some form or another in the past but when you know, you know. How can we be kinder? More supportive? Show more compassion, understanding and love?
Look around you, the world is crying out for more of that stuff and only by being the change you want to see in the world will it ever begin to change. It sounds cheesy (I know) but it really does start with you. Only when the tide begins to turn will we see more ideas flourish, happier healthier people and a return to real innovation and creativity.
Remember, you may have no idea what someone is going through, you haven't walked in their shoes (even when you've had a similar experience) the best we can do is to remember to be kind.