If I have judged you in the past, I am sorry. Please know that judging was my way of being, and it was never about you.
Some people were blissfully unaware of my judgments of them, like the guy who let his energetic dog off the leash in a crowded park.
In other cases, I felt the need to act morally superior and criticize my friends and family. I called out my parents and sister for the foods they chose to eat. I criticized a longtime friend for going to the sunless tanning salon. I even judged another friend when she decided to become Catholic. Talk about none of my business! Now I can accept that these were their personal decisions, and I see that voicing my negative opinions was not helpful or supportive.
Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash
In my teens and early twenties, I was very critical of others because I was harsh and judgmental of myself. I would have told myself I was a bad person if I did those things. Nowadays, I look back and see what a narrow world I lived in, trying to be “right” and “good” all the time. I also see how many other people feel the need to hand out unsolicited judgments and unhelpful criticisms, especially online.
When people are hurting inside, they often find ways to hurt others. But when we can learn to be at peace with ourselves, the need to feel superior to others diminishes.
We can be non-judgmental and still have an ethical framework - I am certainly not suggesting we let people run around stealing, assaulting, or otherwise hurting others. But our culture of judging too often strikes at personal expression and a person's decisions that really don't affect other people's lives.
Whether making choices about their own bodies, expressing their beliefs and personality, or deciding how to spend their time, everyone has a right to live their lives. If we find ourselves judging someone else’s personal choices, it is high time we look within and ask how their choices may be stirring up our own insecurities and self-judgments.
That's where self-compassion comes in - I know I am always bringing this up. When we love and accept ourselves, we become more accepting of others. The tendency to judge gradually melts away.
Is it any surprise that once again we return to this message? Peace starts within.