Friday Musings: On Judgement

For a long time, I was always fearful that I was being judged for my looks, actions, thoughts, and choices, particularly the untraditional choices—like being a vegetarian, going back to school for an MFA, working as a writer, quitting jobs that were unfulfilling, working differently, living minimally, etc. (basically all things different from the standard mid-western mindset). I worried the judgement was valid, and I was wrong, that maybe I shouldn’t trust my decisions. But I think the truth is, I feared this judgement because I was judgmental of others, but mostly, I very harshly judged myself (and still do from time to time…its a work in progress). I have wasted so much time caring what others think, trying to live according to someone else’s standards.

Here’s the thing, it is no one’s business how I live my life and its none of my business how they live theirs. Live how you want to live. If you feel inspired to change and try out something new, great, do it. There will always be judgment, but all that matters is what you think of you. The older I get, the more and more I learn to trust myself and let go of what other people think, and what I think other people think (yeah, that shit was exhausting and a total mind fuck).

Judgement, after all, is really about insecurity and not being satisfied with yourself. We put others down to make ourselves feel better, or superior…”at least I am not like so and so” etc. We look for the faults in others so we don't have to face our own shortcomings, or we judge others lifestyles because we are uncomfortable or unsatisfied with our own. 

But what if instead, we focused on improving ourselves. What if, instead of immediately jumping to judge, we stopped and tried to see the world from that other person’s perspective, replacing judgment with empathy and compassion. Maybe instead of beating ourselves up over our own choices, we treated ourselves like we would a friend. It is not always easy, but it is a much more peaceful and fulfilling way to live—to be kind to others and to ourselves, regardless of our choices and decisions. 

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes, love yourself as you love others, be nice because you don’t know what that other person is going through, and all the other cliches. Basically, stop being an asshole to other people and yourself.

Go out there and enjoy your weekend doing whatever the fuck you find fulfilling!  

 

Friday Musings: The Daily Gift

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of the most brilliant, yet simple pieces of advice I’ve ever received is to give myself a gift everyday. It came from a counselor I was seeing in Atlanta. I was in the midst of writing my emotionally charged master’s thesis and dealing with a personal family matter that had resurfaced after many years of peace. The daily gift made a huge difference in my path towards healing and forgiving myself. It is an exercise in self-compassion—one I think we forget (I know I do). The gift is not a material thing, although sometimes it can be, but just something small to remind yourself that you care about you, and you deserve the love you might usually reserve for a good friend or a loved one. 

I have a tendency to be very hard on myself, and if I don’t feel I’ve done my best or given my all that day, I beat myself up over it. I feel I don’t deserve to do the things that bring me joy. And then I remember the daily gift. I know for others, they don't feel like they have time in their day for self care. But just that one small gift can make a big difference. It can be waking up a little earlier to have time to yourself, enjoying a cup of tea with honey, going for a walk outside (when it's warm…or not, if your into that). Maybe it's as simple as taking a long hot shower, or starting the book you've been wanting to read, or taking yourself to dinner, coloring a picture (loving Enchanted Forest), having dessert, seeing a movie, group texting your friends from high school, watching your favorite show, and on and on.

The daily gift is personal to you. Give yourself a small gift of kindness today.