Throughout our Campaign for Judgement-Free Motherhood I’ve tried to emphasize that for those who see the value in judging other moms less, the way to start is by simply noticing when we’re doing it. From my personal experience, it’s easy to go down a dark rabbit hole of judgment and negativity if I choose to follow those kinds of thoughts and honestly, I don’t like the way I feel when I’m in that kind of head space.
I deeply believe in universal compassion, kindness and seeing the good in other people. But still sometimes I falter. I’ve noticed in the past few weeks that I’ve been judging people more than usual, which I think is a result of some negative stuff that’s been going on in my personal life. It’s definitely harder to let judgmental thoughts go when your mind isn’t in the greatest place.
When that story about how Gwyneth Paltrow essentially said that being a movie star mom is harder than being a regular working mom the internet went crazy demonizing her and you know what my first reaction was? I judged her. I judged her for making what seemed like a crazy statement.
And then I took a step back and remembered that for me, it’s important to judge everyone less and that means trying to not judge even those who say and do seemingly outrageous things. Because I always come back to the reality that I don’t know why other people say or do the things they do & I don’t know what’s going on in their life that may be contributing to their actions (and for the record, she did announce her divorce a few weeks after this). It feels better choose compassion than it does to sit in judgment of others, so I made a conscious choice to mentally say “may Gwyneth be happy” every time I saw another story about this debacle in my Facebook feed. That may sound silly, but it helped me stop my negative thoughts and feel more positive overall.
I’ve had a few other noticeable “incidents” of judging other people too. I saw a photo of a girl (I’d guess around age 6) who was at the salon getting highlights and I immediately judged her parents. I don’t even know this girl or her parents but that’s where my mind went. As these things come up for me, I really do try to let the negative thoughts go. What does it really matter if someone else let’s their child dye their hair at an early age? The judgment that I felt created a feeling of separateness immediately. And honestly, in complete naked truth, I thought I knew better than those parents and that’s not the kind of person I want to be. So I let that thought go and each time I think about it again, I remind myself that holding onto judgment only hurts me and that everyone makes the decisions they believe are best for their children.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because sometimes I worry that people think our campaign implies that we should all be able to stop judging others easily and immediately. But it takes practice and a willingness to look at our own thoughts and reactions. I’m not a bad person for judging others and neither are you. It’s what we do with those judgments that’s important and we all have the power to let negative thoughts go.
p.s. Want one of our “Let’s Love More & Judge Less” bumper stickers? I still have a few left so email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.