Judgement Happens (And You Control It)
“I don’t think he was appropriate” I explained during a recent conversation. “But I need to realize that I’m part of the reason it happened.”
Flipping back and forth between righteous anger at his tastelessness and genuine hurt at his callousness, I plotted at least five ways to reply and make him squirm. That is what we do when we are wronged. Show people how they wronged us. Prove how right we are.
Rarely does that work out how we plan. Somehow the reward feels a little shallow, if it is ever even earned.
That is reality. You are going to do things and say things that incur speculation and invite commentary, unless you live in a vacuum or a fairy tale bubble. If you lead such an uneventful life that no one has anything to say about it, then you aren’t living life the right way.
Most of the time the opinions and reactions are unwarranted and unnecessary. While reality dictates that we have to contend with other people, it incorrectly builds the perception that this gives people the right to nose in on your life and tell you all about it. As we get more aggressive and voyeuristic as a society, we don’t even have to be nice about it anymore.
However, no one is obligated to know more about you than what you choose to share. They are going to judge you based on that. They will react because of how you choose to share it. The boundaries you create for interpersonal relationships, allowing for what is appropriate and inappropriate conversation.
If I announce publicly that I am writing a book (even if it is fiction) based on the dating escapades of a young woman traveling in Southeast Asia upon my return from six-months traveling through Southeast Asia as a young woman, how can I not expect that people are going to want to offer judgement and commentary on my personal dating life whenever the opportunity presents itself?
You would have thought I’d learned my lesson writing a dating and relationship column for a year, which I ended after one reader decided to inform me in 18 back-to-back short messages everything that was wrong with me and why I was going to be alone forever if I didn’t change some very fundamental things about myself and learn to serve and submit to a relationship.
I was furious at his need to cruelly impose his beliefs on me. I was hurt by his accusations that I was somehow unworthy of love because of the person I was. I was scared to admit to myself how accurate his claims were. If some of those claims had truth, does that mean the rest of it did too?
Sometimes the things that cause the greatest reaction in us are the things that we worry about ourselves when we are left alone in our own thoughts. It is important to reflect on those outside opinions and yourself, to decide if there’s something that you want to change.
That’s what we do as people. We change. We grow. If you aren’t growing as a person, you might as well be dead.
You become a better version of yourself when you carefully choose the type of person you want to be.
You become the best version of yourself when strive to make sure you are.
* Some people are just vitriolic jerks who spew acid. I assume this to be because they are not hugged enough in their own lives. These people are exceptions and probably best ignored in these situations. Except for a fleeting wish that someone will reach out and hug them, so maybe they have just a little less acid to unleash on the world tomorrow.