WHY I JUDGE YOU
The amount of judgement flying around on the Internet right now is unsettling. I can see it in political posts as well as comments from people judging community members for possible Coronavirus quarantine violations. The judgement floods my Facebook feed to the point that I avoid it. I use social media as a break from reality: somewhere I go for a pick-me-up in the form of funny memes, exercise videos, or a girlfriend’s courageous booty dance. I’ve generally felt good with what my feed contained, but times are changing.
A few posts have really stirred this feeling within me, and I’ll share one in particular with you here. I was scrolling Facebook when I came across someone’s post explaining that they had been out shopping and saw a man, woman, and small child getting groceries. The post was full of judgement and accused the couple of being socially irresponsible. The poster believed that only single parents should be shopping with children. Families with two parents should have one adult do the shopping while the other stays home with the kids. I scroll to the comments to find everyone agreeing that these people are horrible and putting everyone in danger. My heart sank; the judgement was red-hot, and I felt the pain of our society profoundly. The fear, shame, and sense of abandonment that our community feels are strong.
My thoughts on this were that this family could have four or five children at home. The littlest was out with mom and dad, while the older ones ranging in ages from 6 to 12 were left at home. To feed a family that size, both adults would need to push a shopping cart if they only wanted to go to the store once for the next week or two. They took the littlest with them because they didn’t feel comfortable leaving a 12-year-old with the baby, it’s a huge responsibility, and everyone has a lot of pent up energy. It may have been the best choice for their family. They were doing the best that they could, considering the uncertain times.
I believe that perspective is everything. Being able to view situations through multiple lenses allows you to express empathy and compassion. Something that we need more of in this world right now.
We all judge other people. I judge all of the time. I will catch myself judging what I see in people’s grocery carts, what they do for work, the lifestyle they choose, and how they discipline their children. We all do it. I judge because of my own fears. I judge because it temporarily makes me feel good, to think that I’m better, or have the highest morals.
What’s important is that we understand where our judgement comes from. I remember quite a few years back when my oldest daughter was in grade six, one of her friends was pulled from school by her parents. They had suddenly decided to homeschool her. I asked my daughter if something was going on at school, but she had no answers. None of the girls in the class heard from her again that year. I judged that family, thinking to myself, “they think they are better than us, they think their daughter is too good for this school,” oh my. All of my own insecurities bubbled over. A few years later, when my daughter was in touch with her again, she found out that the girl was being bullied by some of the boys in the class. This is how our judgement can mislead us.
In the story first mentioned above, I see someone deflecting their own fear and discomfort onto someone else so that they don’t have to feel it. That story had nothing to do with the shopping couple and everything to do with the person writing about it. The people writing supporting comments publicly shaming this unknown couple, and anyone else who has done something similar, were bonding over their own fear and shame. I decided to unfollow the person who wrote the post because it wasn’t the first, and this type of public shaming does not resonate with me, as it is very low vibration energy. Did I judge them? Possibly. Though only for a moment. After sitting with it and really analyzing how I felt, I realized that I was practicing discernment. If something someone else is doing lowers our vibration, we can choose to step away, without judgement. With wishes of peace and love still flowing from our hearts, we can hope that others will find a way to arrive there.
We all judge, but we do not have to make it a part of ourselves. We can acknowledge it and decide to choose differently. We can choose to give the benefit of the doubt, we can trust that we are safe, no matter how out of control things may seem. We can choose empathy and compassion.
Wishing you all peace and love during these times.