If you are alive and breathing you know on some level what it feels like to be judged. You may have been judged based on your Physique, Intelligence, Style, Parenting, or many other areas. You may have been judged at a job interview and gotten hired. You may have been judged by a waitress at a restaurant and ignored. You may have been appraised in the eyes of the opposite sex and found desirous. We all face judgement in virtually every aspect of our lives every day, sometimes for good and sometimes for bad.
We open ourselves up to more judgement in this social media era - everyone has an opinion about EVERYTHING... whether they have any knowledge of the subject or not. Yet we still run to Facebook and post a recent picture or accomplishment; we cross our fingers, close our eyes, do a little rain dance, and pray that people will like it/comment on it/share it to prove that we have been judged and found acceptable in the eyes of the world.
I recently found myself in the position of being Judged - and I was found wanting. I'll admit that it cut deeper and hurt more than I could have ever imagined. I was gutted, left watching the perceptions of myself trickle away and become lifeless under this new 'truth' from someone else's lips. In what way was I, as a 32 year old stable adult, judged in such a way that I could be thus rocked to the core by one act of worldly Judgement??? I was judged in light of my children to be lacking parent. I'll use the words of Matt Walsh in a recent blog post to give a glimpse of weight to this matter (parents will understand, but non parents may not):
'When you call someone a bad parent, you are digging into the very core of their being and spitting on their soul. You’re accusing them, usually based on the smallest and most irrelevant thing, of not loving their children. It’s a profound and serious thing to say about a person, yet we wantonly throw it around as a matter of rhetorical procedure.'
(The Matt Walsh Blog, Aug. 11, 2013)
I am still hurt, but I am healing. I have been forced to face things about myself that aren't the glowing Super Mom persona that I really want the world to believe of me.
- I give too much weight to the opinions of others in my Life. I wish that was just an easy switch to turn on and off, but it is part of my nature. I am a people pleaser - a middle child born to create peace. I excelled in school because I wanted teachers to like me and for my parents to be proud of me. I was a fairly obedient teenager because I wanted my parents to be happy with my choices - and I was terrified of possible punishments from them and God. I happily molded and re-molded myself into what was expected of me, what allowed me to best fit in, what allowed me to skate through with a smile and nod of praise and acceptance from bosses, coworkers, friends, and family. If I didn't care what other's thought - this wouldn't hurt so bad.
- I JUDGE - A LOT. When I take a serious look at my own life, I find that I am quick to judge rather than wanting to extend Grace. On the Jung Typology test, I am a strong J - a judger, one who wants fairness in all things (whether it be the size of a slice of pizza or an equal grade) and expects black and white results in an often grey world. And while I may look out at the world through my judgy little eyes and find it lacking, here is the thing that smacked me in the face...
- The first person I judge is MYSELF. I am a perfectionist when it comes to the abuse of self. I can in a five second glace at the mirror tear apart my body, my face, my hair, my intellect, my self control, my parenting, my ability to love, my deserving of being loved, my life achievements, and on and on and on. If I am so quick to judge myself and find myself wanting, why wouldn't other people???
- And the thing that hit deepest: If I am so quick to judge myself, who do you think is the first and hardest critic of my children.... ding, ding, ding - ME. I have had to face the fact that my children were judged because I did it first. I am so quick to look for their flaws and train them into what I want/expect them to be, I am so fast to complain about how 'hard' they are, I am so ready to spill to whoever will listen about how exhausted I am dealing with three toddlers on a daily basis. I have too often lost sight of how amazing my three babies are. How big their hugs, how bright their smiles, how quick their little minds.
So why on earth am I writing this??? Well, primarily as a reminder to myself that there is only one Judge - God. That I am simply a flawed human, but fearfully and wonderfully made. And at the center- that I have three amazing children that I love with all my heart... and that makes me a pretty good (but never perfect) parent.
I pray that entering 2014 I will remember to extend GRACE, first to myself, then to my family, and then to the world. I can't stop the judgement of the world - but I have some control in removing myself from the equation.
Don't worry, I'll still have lots of sewing in the new year and I hope you will all tell me how awesome I am through your commenting on my creations - but I also hope that I can just be proud that I created something in love whether anyone in the world knows about it or not.
Happy 2014 - go love on yourself and your kiddos today!