STOP JUDGING! IT’S KILLING US.
When my first son was born I remember listening to the lady in the next hospital bed crying as she tried to get her baby to feed. Sometimes I cried with her, as her pain was so evident.
She had inverted and cracked nipples and her little boy wouldn’t latch on properly, so every feeding time was an exercise in torture.
The nurses were insistent. She had to keep trying. It was best for baby.
They made it clear they would be very unhappy if she gave up. There didn’t appear to be options though people all over the world fight valiantly for women’s rights over their own bodies.
That was nearly 30 years ago. Fast forward to recent years and I’ve known several young mothers to become depressed after others have judged their choice in feeding their babies – that’s not good for the mother or the baby.
WE ARE ALL PRISONERS OF SOCIETY
The Living End’s 1990s hit song Prisoners of Society is all about young kids rebelling and fighting establishment to claim the future. For the record, I love that song. But I think we are all prisoners of society – not just the young.
I have a friend who tells me if she gets cancer she’ll be ashamed because she used to smoke – more than 30 years ago. Her fear of public opinion seems greater than fear of the actual illness.
The court of people’s opinion is truly the cruellest in the land and never louder or more hurtful than now, with the tool of social media to use as a soup box.
Remember the Elsa cake incident earlier this year?
In July two pictures were posted of handmade Elsa (a character from the Frozen movie) cakes with the heading; “the cake that was ordered and the cake that arrived”.
The comments resulting from that post made me cringe and cry they were so cruel. Then it came out that the second, less attractive cake, was made with love by a company that creates custom cakes for families impeded by the actual illness of a child.
Someone had volunteered their time to do a wonderful thing and give of themselves – and the world turned on them. Even things we see with our own eyes do not tell the full story.
From time to time I see unflattering pictures of (mainly women) large people having some kind of wardrobe malfunction in a well-known American supermarket. There are a whole series of them. They make me sick and the vicious comments take my breath away.
These are the extreme examples of judging but we are all guilty of it to some degree. It’s like we’re hot-wired to judge and perhaps that actually helps us survive. However, if we don’t be mindful about what we are judging it could spark the end of our survival.
Judging stems from opinion but not all opinions are judgments. For instance; you might think, in your opinion, it’s a hot day. That opinion doesn’t become judgment without a bit of emotion as to whether or not you like hot days.
I am constantly catching myself unnecessarily judging and have to work hard at breaking this unhealthy habit. If I don’t like the way someone is driving I’ll be quick to judge – quickly forgetting the times I have made stupid mistakes behind the wheel.
It is my opinion that is it courteous and safe to indicate while driving. When someone fails to do this my opinion becomes judgment when I give it emotional energy (in this case negative).
The current health and fitness trend in society is to be applauded. It’s wonderful to know so many people are caring about themselves enough to do the right thing by their bodies. I would put it to some of them though that they may need work on their heads and hearts too.
Those who sit in judgment on people who are overweight and making what they see as unhealthy choices should just get on with their own lives and perhaps look inwards to the reasons they need to try and lift themselves with judgments.
I recently read an article about thin people being judged for being underweight and how they are constantly having to defend themselves. Everybody cops it.
I’ll put it to you now, I am overweight and do not always make healthy eating choices. I was bottle fed and I’m still doing fine in my 50s.
That being said those who choose to breastfeed should be able to do that without criticism and judgment.
Check out this Facebook post for an example of social media cruelty brought on by judgment.
A lot of people who have given up something seem particularly quick to judge – like many reformed smokers. Instead of having empathy for the person still addicted they judge with the idea if they could quit then everyone should be able to, and compassion flies out the window.
We judge under the guise of caring and concern, but how can we possibly help anyone when we don’t have the full picture because we are defining others by our judgments?
When we are judging everything, we are learning nothing
– Steve Maraboli – Life, the Truth, and Being Free.
Judgment doesn’t allow room for sincere kindness and compassion – the most important ingredients to be helpful in this world.
Judging not only hurts those being judged but also the judges. Any form of negativity attracts like so when we are smugly pulling apart someone for their habits, weight, choice of clothes or whatever, we are attracting negative things to ourselves.
Extreme judging leads to war – your skin is wrong, your religion is wrong, your politics are wrong – these are the judgments worth killing for.
Extreme judging can also lead to reform, such as judgments about the unfairness of inequalities – towards women, homosexuals, different races, people with disabilities and so on.
However, getting your facts straight is imperative.
Don’t you just hate it when fit and healthy people park in spaces reserved for people with disabilities?
Next time you see this by careful how you react. Earlier this month some thoughtless person left a rude note on a woman’s car when he saw her walk out of it, having parked in a disabled spot.
He asked; “Did you forget your wheelchair’?
The woman, Justine Van Den Borne, took to Facebook with a note to her anonymous antagoniser explaining she had a crippling form of multiple sclerosis but was having a good day.
Before you ruin another person’s day, remember you don’t know everything and just because you can’t see it, it doesn’t mean a person isn’t struggling to put one foot in front of the other.
Justine Van Den Borne
We could be forgiven for judging the paedophile – as long as we are certain of it.
Take the case of the Melbourne teacher who was jailed for two and a half years in 2010 when she was found guilty of abusing two children in her care decades before.
Josephine Greensill went to prison, aged 59 when two middle-aged men accused her of child sexual abuse when they were eight years old and she was their year 3 teacher.
She protested her innocence from the start, but it was not until November 2012 that three Supreme Court judges unanimously acquitted Ms Greensill and quashed all convictions.
The judges said there was a “real likelihood” the two complainants had collaborated and a “real possibility of concoction”.
Ms Greenhill had received a large payment, which was publicised after her husband died in an industrial accident. This left the way clear for compensation claims.
Who can be more harshly judged than a mother who kills her child? It’s easy to judge on that one but, take the case of Lindy Chamberlain whose claims a dingo took her baby fell on deaf ears when she was convicted of murdering her baby girl Azaria, in 1982.
Lindy spent three years in jail and though new evidence led to the conviction being quashed, it was not until 32 years later that speculation and innuendo ended with the official finding that a dingo had, in fact, taken the baby.
I’ll be thinking about these cases and remembering the harsh judgments next time I’m tempted to judge and denounce someone, whether in my head or publicly. Will you?
Wishing you a judgment free and gleeful week, Tamuria.