We all judge other people. You’re lying to me and yourself if you say you don’t. We judge people on the small things and the big things. We judge people with full information and with total lack of information. We judge people on their actions and their inactions. Our lives are lived in a state of judgment. To ask us to stop judging is not only a difficult task but one that requires time and true commitment.
Over the years, I’ve judged people for a variety of reasons. I’ve inherited some judgmental ways from my parents and I have fought to break many of them. There are the big judgements like upbringing. I used to think that people who were raised without religion lacked some sort of moral compass. Now I realize that the moral compass need not be attached to a faith and that having faith does not mean having morality. Then there are the smaller judgments like outfit choice, conversational output and event hosting abilities.
Then there are the judgmental ways I’ve arrived at without parental guidance. I judge people’s educational status despite knowing better and having been raised by two very intelligent people without college educations. I judge income levels–mostly in the inverse by judging people with money more harshly than those without. And, of course, I judge political leanings like it’s nobody’s business…except mine.
In the three short weeks of parenthood, I’ve been coming to grips with my ability to judge quickly. This focus-shift has been brought to you by the letter F…as in FAIL. I’ve allowed myself to do things that I would normally judge people harshly about without thinking twice. I’ve been in public numerous times braless. I have yet to wear shoes other than my lined Crocs out of the house the few times I’ve been out of the house. I’ve failed to regularly eat breakfast leading to a downhill run of my nutrition for each and every day. And in the most difficult of judgmental moves, I’ve been feeding my kids formula and will likely be only able to breastfeed (or pump) to meet 5% of their nutritional needs at best.
Now, I know I shouldn’t have been judging people for the whole breastfeeding versus formula thing in the past. And to be fair to myself, I didn’t realize I was doing it so often and so strongly. In fact, I didn’t start to comprehend my level of judgment of others until I was faced with the fact that my body just doesn’t want to cooperate for whatever reasoning it has. I’ve done so many things and none of them has worked. The deck might just be stacked against me too strongly this time. And in a world where my 24 hour day is cycled around making sure two babies are healthy and content, there is little wiggle room to do much more even if there was more that could be done.
Given that, I feel myself mentally making amends for anyone my mind has inadvertently judged on this particular issue in the past. What do I know of their circumstances? What does it even matter to me in the long run what their choices are or were? Everyone has their reasons. Everyone has their own rhythm. Perhaps I’m better off finding the right beat of my own than worrying about the inconsistency of others’.
So I wore Crocs to the grocery store. So I didn’t have a bra on at the pediatrician’s office. So I am feeding my kids formula. At least I went to the grocery store, took my kids to the doctor and fed them so they can grow and be strong and make their own choices. I just hope my judgmental ways don’t follow them too much along their paths. God knows I have my own reckoning to do.
There are appropriate times to judge…Superbowl commercials and halftime shows. Talent competitions. Political discourse. And then there are times that we’re better off learning to live with the decisions of others and knowing they had their reasons.
Now if I can only allow myself that same luxury of a judgment-free life.