For as long as I can remember, I was an expert judger. Even though I know it is a sin and would ask God for forgiveness, I continued on my judging path. I judged about how people dressed, behavior, lack of self-control, you name it. The following quote would have done me a lot of good.
I would tell my guilty conscience that I was twice as hard on myself, so I wasn’t even being as hard on others as I was myself. Somehow this excuse seemed to pardon my behavior. I know this is really shallow behavior, but please hear me out. The older I got, the more convicted I felt about being judgmental.
I decided that I was going to try my best not to be judgmental. From then on, I did try my best, and I got better and better about not judging. BUT I couldn’t seem to totally get rid of it the way I wanted to. I knew I was better than I used to be but not where I wanted to be.
Judging Before I Was a Parent
When I was a teacher (I had no kids), it was really easy to judge parents by the way their child showed up to school, how much the parent supported their child in their school work and activities, and on and on. Fast forward to 2013, 6 pregnancy tests came out positive, and I couldn’t believe I was going to be a parent.
Once this started to sink in, I remember thinking, “How am I ever going to do this? All the years I’ve spent judging parents! How am I ever going to meet my own expectations? T.h.e.r.e’.s N.o. W.a.y?” is what I whispered back slowly.
In the months and years following, I realized how wrong I was to judge others, especially parents. I now see a lot of jokes like the one below, so I know I must not have been alone in my judging. In case you can connect, I wanted to share my story.
Once I Became a Parent I Repented
Once I was a parent, one way that I learned how it felt to be judged is when I would think that I was being judged. I would be out in public and my child would behave in a way that didn’t seem appropriate for wherever we were. People would stare. Some would do the raised eyebrow thing. Even though I try not to care what others think, sometimes I’d still be thinking about it later that day. I would even be thinking of what I wish I could have told THAT JUDGMENTAL PERSON! whoa-wait. What’s this? I’ve got 4 fingers pointing back at myself!
Ugh! I’ve come to learn people may not have even been judging my mothering skills or judging my child. I may have been perceiving their facial expressions to mean that they think like I used to think. Anyway, whatever the case, it made me realize I needed to work even harder to get a grip on the judging.
One day I was watching an interview with Gabrielle Bernstein. She was discussing her book, Judgment Detox. This immediately got my attention, and I listened to the interview with Ears Wide Open! I ordered the book right afterward, and I have been reading, doing the work, and applying as much as I can.
The first thing I learned from the book was that it is human nature to judge. No one can NEVER judge. It’s a change that happens to humans, and usually, it is in childhood that we start judging. We don’t need to get rid of all judging altogether. Acknowledging that you judge is the first step toward healing. Once you own this, you are liberated.
What we have to do in order to become better about judging:
1. If you want to heal from judging yourself and others, you have to make a commitment and become really intentional about it.
2. You have to realize that not only is judging wronging the person you are judging, but it is NOT beneficial to you at all. Judgment is the number one reason we feel blocked, sad, and alone. It is a popular defense mechanism to use when we aren’t feeling good about ourselves. Really start to take notice of how you feel when and after you judge.
3. Gabby writes, “When you notice yourself judging, ask yourself a simple question: Am I looking through the eyes of peace or am I looking through the eyes of judgment? Asking this is a prayer. You become the nonjudgmental witness of your judgment and you open up to the possibility of seeing differently.” This judgment is not talking about the judgment like, “Should I eat the bag of chocolate or not? Should I date him? Is it safe to get out of my car in this dark parking lot?” It’s talking about the kind of judging we do to ourselves and others that is condemning and criticizing.
4. You have to consciously try to catch yourself being judgmental. When you catch yourself being judgmental, stop and shine light on your thoughts. As in think about them for a minute and try to decide why you are having these feelings. Then, try to bring love to your thinking.
Following Gabby’s instructions have not healed me completely, but I have the utmost awareness of my judgmental tendency. Before I even judge now, my inner voice tells me not to. When I do it, I am choosing to defy who I want to become.
Combat Those Judgmental Thoughts
Of course, there is quite a bit more to it, but this is enough to get you started. If you want to get really serious, I encourage you to order Gabby’s book. When I was a teacher, one of my principals would constantly say, “People do the best they know how until they know better.” There is a quote that goes something like, “Don’t judge people for the choices they make, when you don’t know the options they had to choose from.”
It goes back to what my ex-principal said. The more experience I have with other humans the more I believe this to be true. What does all of this have to do with parenting? Well, several things. For one, our children hear us judging and think this is a way of life. Knowing all the consequences of judging (none good), we want to be intentional about not passing this to our children.
The Judging That I am Going to CHALLENGE YOU on Today is Parents Judging Other Parents and Themselves
It is easy to fall into the trap of judging other parents for parenting differently than you do. That can come in all different forms. For example, how they discipline, how much TV their kids watch, how much time they spend with their kids, what technology their kids get to use, do they vaccinate, how they talk to their kids, what their kids eat, just to name a few I’m familiar with.
What I want to propose is that the This -N- That Parenting tribe make an oath to do your best not to judge other parents. Try to catch yourself mid-judgment, shine a light on the situation and bring love to it. That could mean you say a prayer for yourself, you say a prayer for the parent you are judging, you use a mantra such as Only Love Today from Hands Free Mama or the quote at the top of this email. Whatever it is you need to do to change your old judging habit. Have a plan ready, so when it happens, you know how you will react.
Secondly, I challenge you to contact your favorite judging partner that you share judgments with and tell them that you’ve decided to take a pledge to be A PART OF THE PARENTING TEAM NOT A PART OF THE PARENTING Wars! Heck, even better yet, forward them this post, and say, “I’m all in! Are you?” Third, my vision for us is every time we get the urge to judge a parent, we say something to that parent to help make their day better. #kindness.
If you can’t think of anything, say “I know how you feel.” Just give them a smile or ask them if there is something you can do to help. Imagine how attitudes and mindsets could change for the better. Furthermore, it will benefit the children who are watching. We can create generations who judge- or NOT!
The Benefits of Quitting Judging
- It is a sin.
- We spread love and kindness instead.
- Remember the law of relativity. Whatever energy you put out, you attract back.
- You will learn a lot about your thoughts.
- You will find the positive in others when you are looking for a way to compliment them.
- Our children will be less judgmental.
- Fewer people feel judged. They can perform better as parents.
- It feels so much better to have positive instead of negative thoughts.
Call to Action
I know it can be hard especially when you see a parent who does something way different than you do, but how boring would the world be if we all parented the same. We have to think of ourselves as teammates, not opponents. You can do this! Believe me, if I can do it, you can do it! I already told you about how deep my roots ran. Parenting Together has to start somewhere. Why not with us? If you are never a parent judger, hats off to you! You should give yourself a pat on the back, and a high five from me!
Make a comment: I would love to hear any judgment experiences you’ve had. I know this is a vulnerable topic, but sharing our stories gives us freedom and causes us to try harder and be more empathetic.
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Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours! Remember to have fun, laugh and give God the glory! I love you! SS