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As I scroll Instagram, I see quote after quote after quote telling us to “stop comparing” and “don’t worry about how great their life is – don’t compare yourself.”
I love the encouragement, but it doesn’t get to one of the root causes (and there are a few). But the one I want to talk about today is JUDGEMENT.
The Vicious Judgement/Comparison Cycle
“What I’ve learned is these two things feed into each other. When we judge, we’re comparing, judging leads to comparing, comparing leads to judging. We’re constantly assessing other people and where we fall in relation to them,” I said on the podcast.
You know this behavior is unhealthy. I know this behavior is unhealthy.
Releasing the Need to Judge
For many of us, judgement is a learned way of life. I learned it from the generation before me – who learned it from the generation before them – and so it goes.
But the most powerful example of being able to step away from this need – is from Alissa Parker.
Alissa Parker lost her daughter in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. She came on my podcast in the very early days of Happiness in Progress (that incredible episode here).
Somehow, she was able to forgive the shooter.
As I talked with her, it seemed that the forgiveness was rooted in releasing the need to judge. She believed she didn’t need to be his judge. She believed she could let that go – and leave it up to God.
As we talked, Alissa said she realized he was doing what he knew with the tools he had.
A light bulb went off for me.
If Alissa Parker can not judge the person who killed her daughter with a classroom of other children – we can surely be able to stop judging people for the various annoying things they do.
When we are judging people on a daily basis – we’re judging them based on the tools we possess. Not what they do or don’t have access to.
We have the responsibility not to hold them accountable for what they don’t know, but to teach them.
When Judgmental Thoughts Come Up
Look, I’m not perfect – and I’m betting you’re not either.
I’ve been working on this practice for years.
While I’m much better in not engaging in conversations that involve judging others – sometimes thoughts can pop in my head. It has gotten better with practice – and I believe you can get better with practice too.
A couple years into working on this – I sat down in a class and looked at a woman. Instantly a thought popped into my head about her goody-two shoesness.
Almost as fast, I thought “Hold up, Danielle! There is nothing wrong with her. I believe she is enough. She is exactly who she is meant to be. She is who she is meant to be.”
I also realized in this moment – my judgement wasn’t about her.
My judgement was about me. I didn’t feel comfortable in the room – and my brain (eh hem – ego) thought it could help me out by making other people appear lesser than.
That does not work for me.
So I set my ego straight – and pointed out (to myself) that woman is exactly who she is meant to be. EXACTLY who she is meant to be.
More on the Podcast:
- My three steps to stopping judgmental thoughts
- How the habit of comparing ourselves to feel better will backfire
- What Brene Brown asks people to consider when they strongly dislike someone
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