How many times have you felt you needed to act a certain way at the expense of your own happiness, because it was what someone else wanted? How often do you change your looks, behavior, or even your words for someone else? Why do we constantly live for others instead of ourselves? There are so many things that drive us, and one of those things is other people.
Judgement– a word that we are both victims of, and guilty of. For some reason this word seems to be what shapes so many of our decisions and who we are. It took me until this year to realize that I was living my life according to others’ judgement, and it took until just this month to refuse to let that continue.
It comes in so many forms that, at times, we are blind to its power. As women, looks seem to be the center of judgement. Showing too much skin? Judged. Not showing enough? Judged. Tattoos? Judged. Hair too short, skin too dark, nails not painted? Judged. It doesn’t end there. We’re judged on our behavior. Emotional, mental, physical, sexual, you name it. Somehow, it becomes the center of other people’s business. (Reminder: it’s not their business).
So WHY do we let this happen? Why does this judgement change us? Also, why are people so wrapped up in other people?
Well, it’s simple. In fact, it’s so easy to judge. All it takes is a thought, not even a word. What is not so easy to do is understand. Remember, understanding requires compassion, patience, and a willingness to accept that some people are different. It takes even more to believe that sometimes good hearts choose poor methods, make mistakes, and fall short of expectations.
A month ago I found myself not only wrapped up in others’ judgement, but also in their happiness and in their expectations. What happened to my happiness? To my expectations? Why didn’t this matter to me? The answer is fear– I was absolutely terrified to stand up for myself, my character, everything that makes up who I am. It is okay to be afraid. What’s not okay is letting that fear win.
Being misunderstood is not equivalent to being worthy of judgement. Just because people don’t understand or agree with you does not mean they deserve to preserve those negative thoughts. It is not a crime to stand up for yourself and live free in your authenticity. Do not doubt the beauty in your truth.
And, if you happen to fall on the side that is judging (because let’s face we all have and all will at some point) remember it is important to listen to one another. Every time you judge, you reveal a part of yourself that needs healing. You can tell a lot about a person by the things they choose to see in others. So try your best to see the good, try even harder to understand what you think is bad.
Oh, and if you’re struggling, refer to Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” and maybe listen to Mean by Taylor Swift because that tends to help too.