We all want to feel part of a tribe and want to be loved and accepted by the people around us. But tribes can be full of narrow-minded, short-sighted judgmental people who jump to stereotypical conclusions without much consideration for the effect of their actions.
Take Amelie or instance. A young, trusting and good-natured wife who married her high school sweetheart. She worked hard, did all that was expected and tried her darndest to be a good wife. In the end, the good wife packed her suitcase to leave a cheating, womanising husband, who in turn married his pregnant mistress – the day after the divorce was finalised. It was all over within three months, from the day she left to a new marriage for her ex-husband. Amelie was always the last to know and dealing with it afterwards was traumatic as the hurt of someone she loved and trusted unconditionally was broken. It took time, a thousand why’s, little sleep and rivers of tears, but Amelie had to get to the other side.
Few know that before she packed her bags Amelie endured countless lonely nights, hideous lies, and many humiliations. She also has not told many that she walked in on the infidelity, that the mistress kind of enjoyed the situation and that after all of that, she even considered staying for a second, as divorce was frowned upon by her generation and parents, – and everything about it made her feel not good enough, like a miserable failure. She was 24.
When Amelie finally started going out again, the stigma had to be explained away to new friends and her heartbreak experience put her into a different light immediately, by no doing of her own.
There are many examples to add to Amelie’s experience since the divorce and although it almost sounds frivolous now, people judge. They do so almost immediately, without knowing the real reasons behind choices, the true experiences behind decisions or the immense suffering behind situations. Would you have expected Amelie to stay, to stick it out? What do you know about the situation behind the woman or man walking away from a second marriage, the businessman who walked out of an obvious lucrative deal, the teenager in therapy, what do you really know about the lonely girl in black, the overweight, shy, woman in the corner…
I think most of us can identify with being judged, and it sucks. I have not only experienced this in the harshest of environments myself but have witnessed it so many times with others. The ones being judged and the ones handing out the judgement.
Judgemental attitudes more often than not have little to do with the person being judged and more with the person passing the judgement.
You can learn to ignore judgmental people for good, and be free of their boxes and deep valleys of unfounded suspicion.
Here are some ideas (and some quotes worth remembering) on what to do next time you are on the receiving end of a stereotype:
- Take it from whom it comes – some people are just who they are. Know that and don’t let it get to you.
“Don’t take criticism from someone you would not take advice from” – Unknown
- Those who judge rarely know the full story. If they did the result might have been very different. Forgive them. Not everyone deserves your attention
“Before we determine character from behaviour we must consider the context” Dr. Stephen Lennox
- It possibly has nothing to do with you! People who judge harshly may deal with more internal turmoil than you care to give them credit for. Judgement says more about the person dishing it out than the other way around.
“Judging a person does not define who they are… it defines who you are” – Unknown
- Since when did you need every person’s approval? You cannot keep everyone happy, therefore focus on making yourself happy! That is the smartest thing to do.
“Don’t waste your time with explanations. People will hear what they want to hear”. Paulo Coelho
- Jealousy makes you nasty. Know when you need to take judgment with a piece of salt.
“The few who do are the envy of the many who only watch” – Jim Rohn
You know your why, and your next. Learning rarely takes the form of judgement. Learn where you have to but if learning constantly feels like being judged, find a new master.
Life presents choices. You are allowed to make them.
Remember, life is about making mistakes, you are allowed to make them. Just like everyone else. You are also allowed to rectify them. Do not feel guilty to do that – as they say if it is time for change – pick your roots up and move, you are not a tree.
Sending you love.