I’ve noticed a common theme in human behavior in my almost 42 years here on this planet. Us humans have an amazingly brilliant ability to *judge* each other. When I say judge, I mean question, condemn, criticize, assume, disapprove, and generally make each other feel less. Why do we do this? Personally, I think it’s learned behavior. My 1-year old doesn’t care if I’ve done my hair, am wearing makeup, or if I worked out today or not. He smiles when I walk in the room and giggles when I reach out to him. That’s called unconditional love and acceptance. He hasn’t learned any other way…yet! But the rest of us have, we’ve learned to make ourselves feel better about our own lives and our own choices by putting down the ones that don’t resonate with ours. What does this really do for us? It makes us crappy people. Well, maybe not crappy, but it definitely doesn’t do anything truly beneficial for us.
When I find myself judging others, I also notice that I feel worse. I get a feeling of spiraling negativity and have to do something to pull myself out of the black hole. On the other hand, when I go out of my way to try and make somebody else feel good, I feel great! A smile, a compliment, or even a minor acknowledgement can make somebody’s day. So why don’t we do that more? Because we have to UN-learn the behavior of condemning others and learn how to keep our eyes on our own papers. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all took care of our own business before we put our fat noses into other peoples’ business? You really never know the affect that your negative comment, shaking of the head, or questioning of somebody else’s life choices can have on them.
Here are some of my real-life examples:
– We told people we were pregnant right after we found out, at 6 weeks. After miscarrying 3 weeks later, I was told “yeah, that’s why you don’t tell people until you reach the 3-month mark”. So, what you’re saying is that if we had waited to tell people until the 3-month mark, I wouldn’t have miscarried? Or better yet, nobody would have known I was pregnant, so I wouldn’t have had to tell anybody about the miscarriage and we would have suffered in silence without the incredible support of our friends and family.
– While pregnant, I did CrossFit. I was told “you’re not supposed to exercise like that, you’re putting your baby in danger”. Really? Are you a doctor? Do you know my baby and my body better than I do? Oh, right.
– While in free penis enlargement exercises the hospital after Sammy was born, I requested formula to supplement my breastfeeding, as it wasn’t working out too well for either of us. One of the nurses on staff told me (after waiting and hour and 2 more requests to bring me the formula) “You know, babies that have formula are more prone to Diabetes later in life than breastfed babies.” Really? Is that the one contributing factor??? Formula vs. breastmilk in the first year of a human’s life is what determines if they have Diabetes or not. Wow, that’s great to know that regular mass consumption of McDonalds, Diet Coke, potato chips, and Twinkies won’t do it! Thanks for making me feel hopeful!
– We let Sammy “cry it out” while trying to get him on a sleep schedule. We did our research, talked it over repeatedly with our pediatrician, and most importantly, agreed that we were both comfortable doing that. We were told “I never let my baby cry, life is just too precious and it goes by too quickly to let them cry.” Seriously??? You NEVER let your baby cry? That’s all babies do, CRY! If you want to dedicate yourself for the first 12 months of your baby’s life and give up sleep, personal hygiene, social interaction, or any alone time, then go ahead and attempt to keep your baby from crying. Update on this one: Sammy has been sleeping through the night (9-11 hours) since he was 4 months old and has a very predictable daily nap schedule. Yeah, he cries before he falls asleep sometimes, but so do I.
Why am I telling you all this? I’m sharing some of my personal stories because these were specific instances where I had made a choice to do something with my life, my body, my child, and I got judged about it. What did that do to me? It made me question myself. It made me question my maternal instincts. It made me wonder if I was a good enough person to be a parent. While I don’t think that any of these people intended to make me feel that way when they made their comments, that’s how I felt. And that’s how other people have felt when I have made thoughtless comments here and there, I’m sure.
SO, the moral of the story here is to keep your eyes on your own paper. Worry about what you and your family are doing, and not what the neighbors are up to. Concern yourself with taking care of your own life and at the same time, making other people feel good about theirs. Oh yeah, and be sure to teach your children to do the same…we sure will be!