A friend of mine recently divulged to me about a decision she made that went against some of her core values. I listened and asked her some questions about her decision:
“Do you think this decision is helping you get closer to what you want, or further away from it?”
To that, she reacted, “Don’t judge me! I’m comfortable in my decision and know what I’m doing.”
“I’m not judging you. And even if I was, if you’re really comfortable with what you’re doing, my judgment wouldn’t matter. That’d be my problem, not yours.”
Maybe I was judging her, maybe I wasn’t. But, what I thought really wasn’t the issue. She knew, whether she wanted to admit it or not, that she was making a decision that wasn’t quite right. Before even telling me she was defensive because in actuality, she was already judging herself. Think about the last time you felt judged. Were you defensive and offended because you didn’t like the truth behind someone’s judgement? I know for myself, the times I’ve been concerned of people judging me is because I knew I made a decision (or about to make one) that wasn’t serving me, but I didn’t have the discipline or courage to be honest about it.
It’s easy to point the finger and blame someone as being ‘judgmental’ to disguise the fact that really, we’re just judging ourselves. If you were truly confident with the decisions you are making, who you are and what you stand for, you wouldn’t let the judgment of others concern you. Such confidence and deep resolve in your decisions act like a shield to external assumptions and judgments.
So the next time you accuse someone of judging you, take a moment and ask yourself with complete honesty: who’s really the one judging you? If you’re feeling judged, it may be a signal for you to do a gut check with yourself, and ask if your decision is out of line with your values and integrity.
Photo credit: Ana Luisa Pinto
7 Replies to “Who’s Judging Whom?”
Wow, that’s the kind of thing a great friend would ask.
Whether you were really judging your friend or not, that question actually helped and reminded her to keep her core values intact, regardless of the decision she would ultimately make. Or as you say, whether it is helping her to get closer or further away from what she wants. And great friends should be able to bring out the best in us.
She might think you’re judging her or whatever, but in time to come, I hope she comes to realise that she should really be treasuring you. Because seriously, I think friends like you are rare and hard to come by.
OK, that’s one way of looking at it. There is also being indoctrinated as a Christian since birth. Feature this: You were raised in a Christian family, and a Christian country that is ridiculously homophobic and now you have come to the point where you have to come out.
Before I go any further, you should know. I don’t hate Christians. I think they are delicious.
Alright, joking aside. I know a pretty eclectic range of people from a vast array of backgrounds. Christians are among them, so are Odinists and Wiccans. I know some who follow First American paths and some whose spirit is expressed in Hebrew.
The Christian friends I have don’t care about your orientation. They consider that between you and God. Two of my dearest friends are Lesbian Catholics. I have heard what they have to say about what it’s like to come to the realization that, in order to be true to who you really are, you must defy what you have been told since birth. I have heard both family “coming out” stories and they were painful to hear coming from people I love. Both had been taught since their earliest memories that homosexual=abomination. Both had avoided the feelings they did have, trying to pursue feelings they didn’t and wondered why it didn’t work for them. They were working so hard to avoid going “against some of her core values” that they almost crossed a different you-shall-not-pass boundary, and suicide is a much more serious offense.
There are times when being paranoid isn’t a mental illness; it’s a healthy response to being set up for failure. There are also times when fearing judgment isn’t self-recrimination, it’s a rational response to those who have learned bullies don’t always have to be one of Them. Sometimes the bullies are close enough to hear them breathe while they sleep.
Sometimes, not every time, but sometimes, a good friend can just be the one who doesn’t just turn the accusation back on the accuser. Every situation is different.
Most of the ones I’ve seen are scared children who’ve made the height requirements of adulthood without getting the training to handle the machinery of it. They try so hard not to show the vulnerability because that is weakness and will be exploited. They try to talk about what’s wrong because, on some level, they know they need to trouble shoot the malfunction so it can be corrected. They know these two directives countermand each other so they pull in both directions and blame someone outside themselves when it hurts because they didn’t intentionally create this hot mess. They just aged into it.
Your question is a good one. The answer isn’t wrong every time. I just don’t think it’s right every time either and presenting without the alternative interpretations may be setting up someone who’s already fragile. This is a great site, not a replacement for therapy, but a good life coach site. That fact won’t keep those that really need therapy from wandering in, or being led in, and led down another ruinous path because it suited an immediate purpose you might not have even entertained.
Yes, as a matter of fact I have known some really unsavory and devious folk. My therapist told me I’m good now. When I can’t sleep, I still want to talk. . . Eh, what the hell, it’s better than smoking, right?
Whom. Who’s judging whom. Just like “he’s judging him.” You wouldn’t say, “He’s judging he,” or “you’re judging I.”
Thanks Maggie. =)