So here it is, goddesses. An unpretty but honest look at something to which we can all relate: judgment.
There, I said it. The j-word. But hear me out for a minute, and then I promise we can pretend this never happened.
Yesterday I was driving home with my son, a fourth-grader, after school and the conversation went something like this:
“Mom, do you think this drawing looks like a wolf?”
(An aside: the drawing looked nothing like a wolf. More like a squirrel-pig. On crack. But endearing, nonetheless).
“Wow! Yeah! This is awesome, buddy. Good job!”
His expression fell. “My friends all said it looked like a pig.”
(Reminder: it looked like a pig. A squirrel-pig.)
This is one of those moments that make parenting seem like a contact sport. Say the wrong thing and there is a very good chance someone will get tackled.
So I thought for a moment and then gave my reply. “What do you think would happen if you asked your friends to draw a wolf too? Do you think they would do better?”
He stared pensively out the window and said quietly, “Probably not. Josh can’t even draw a person.”
“Okay, so there you go. It doesn’t matter what they say. If they can’t do better than you, then you win.”
Let me repeat: If they can’t do better than you, then you win.
If they don’t pay your bills, you win.
If they don’t do your work, you win.
If they didn’t spend nine months and 14 long, excruciating hours in labor with your child, you win.
If they don’t answer to your dark-night-of-the-soul demons, you win.
Sometimes people like to pass off judgment as criticism. Be very careful of this, as one is easily disguised as the other, and only the most sage wisewoman can tease out the difference. Are you ready for it? Here it is.
Criticism, delivered appropriately, can be constructive. It can be a springboard for growth. It can be healing.
Judgment, on the other hand, is rarely anything but a way to make you feel less.
So here’s what I want you to do: when you are feeling judged, and it makes you feel less, remember this one thing.
A person who judges does not define that which they judge. They define themselves as someone who judges.
That’s it. It’s not about you. It never has been.
And you know what that’s called?
Your mantra, should you choose to accept it: “Do no harm. But take no shit.”
(And if you wouldn’t let them into your home, don’t let them into your head).
Now get out there and rock your life with abandon, girlfrand. You win.