“When you judge someone, you do not define them.
You simply define yourself as someone who needs to judge.”
– Wayne Dyer
We all make judgments every day; I like this, I don’t like that. I don’t like the way he drives. I like the way she dresses. We pick and choose what’s right for us from the judgments we make. But most people spend an inordinate amount of time talking about and judging others. (…aaand that’s why we love reality TV.)
I used to make judgments on my friends lives, because I was a “fixer”. I’d obsess over their missteps; “Why does so and so keep choosing the same abusive guy?” “Why is so and so spending money she doesn’t have? She’s going to end up in debt!” And then I’d set out to “fix” them. A lot of my sentences began with “What you should do is…” until one day a friend spoke up. “Let me make my own mistakes. I’ll deal with the consequences.” And I totally got it. It was her journey, and she’d find her own way, just as I had to find mine. Maybe she needed to be with the wrong guy to learn something about herself. Maybe she needed to go into debt to learn how to manage money. Who knew? It wasn’t my job to fix anyone but me. And it was time I switched my focus.
I spent the next decade in and out of therapy, doing yoga, meditating, reading, unraveling my past by writing a book. I was intent on fixing my own issues. I would still be a shoulder for my friends when they had a problem, but I listened, and put faith in them to solve their own problems.
In doing this long decade of inner work, I realized that none of us is perfect, and mistakes are a necessity in this school called life. I forgave myself for my flaws and my own missteps. I accepted myself as an imperfect human being in an imperfect world, and that’s when things began to shift inside of me.
When I stopped judging myself, I no longer felt the desire to judge others.
When I made peace with myself, I was at peace with others.
When I was happy with me, I didn’t need anyone else’s validation.
When judgment and criticism came, I no longer doubted myself, because I knew where my heart was centered.
The greatest thing about getting older is the wisdom and inner peace it can bring. When my heart is at peace, I like myself. It’s okay if others don’t like me. I like me.
I am careful with my words and judgments now. I certainly slip up more than I should, but I bring myself back to center by reminding myself of Maya Angelou’s wise words:
"A person’s speech is a mirror to her or his soul."
Every day I ask myself, What do my words say about me?
“Judge not, lest ye be judged.” That’s what the bible says. But even if I choose not to judge, others will most likely still judge me. But you know what? It’s none of my business what anyone thinks about me.
It’s not my job to prove to anyone who I am. My job is to be the best me I can be, and to keep myself centered in a positive place.
If I do that, my life will speak for itself.