It's everywhere these days. No matter what we do in our lives, we are bound to be judged. Sometimes the judgment is blatant criticism. Other times it's a passive aggressive "Well I personally wouldn't ____ because ______." But no matter what, there is almost no denying that parents are one of the most common victims to judgment nowadays.
Breast-feeding, bottle-feeding, medicated birth, unmedicated birth, whether to circumcise or not, whether to let baby make their own schedule or sleep train. As if it isn't hard enough to come up with a decision we feel comfortable with, we now have the added layer of worrying about what other people are going to say.
We hate judgment....it feels downright awful to be judged. Why is this? Because when another person judges us, it causes us to feel isolated. As human beings, we crave support and acceptance. However, sometimes we may also catch ourselves easily judging others. Sometimes we really do mean well, and it just comes out the wrong way. But that doesn't excuse it, and becoming nonjudgmental is something we can all strive to do in our everyday lives. This is important because when we free ourselves of judging others, we also open up space for people to come in who will respect us and not judge in return.
So how do we go about this? Here are four fool-proof steps to make your life a little more positive!
Stop using the word "should."
It seems like such a harmless word, right? But the truth is, when we tell someone what they should do, we are isolating one decision as better than the rest. We are asserting ourselves as more capable and knowledgeable, and in turn, telling people what to do with their lives. If a friend asks for some advice, by all means, throw out some options, but the word "should" immediately locks the other person into the judgment dungeon, and none of us wants to be there!
Acknowledge your inner judgment demon.
Have you ever caught yourself offering someone nonjudgmental support and being kind, but then going home and venting to another person because the voice in your head tells you that their decision is just wrong? It's totally okay! The judgment demon is a powerful one. It is so important to become aware of this demon. You may never be able to get rid of this inner voice, but being able to label your inner thoughts as judgments will often help them stay on the inside, which is where we want them to remain.
Realize that every life is different.
So you've become aware of your judgment demon. The next step? Evict that tenant! He's taking up space in your head and not paying rent. When we become aware that our thoughts are in fact judgments, we can dismiss them very easily. When we see the need for someone doing something differently than us, and develop empathy, it can often be helpful in realizing that sometimes other lifestyles just call for different choices. We then realize, that others aren't making decisions to hurt themselves, they are simply doing what was best for them at that given time in their lives. After thinking about it, we can realize that people don't want to do things that are "wrong." It is all about perception, and especially as parents, we should never have to justify why we do what we do.
Free yourself out of the bubble.
After you have accomplished these first three steps, you will come to realize that it actually feels nice to not judge anyone. You can use that space in your brain to think about something else. The amount of friends that can be made is endless, because suddenly, what others do with their lives doesn't matter quite as much as what kind of people they are and how they make you feel. The judgment bubble is a difficult one to burst out of, but those of us in recovery, have not looked back. The world is so much brighter on the outside, where we don't have to put seriously thought into the fact that others "should" be doing the same as us. Even moreso, we can even agree with differing opinions and be happy the others are happy without having to debate or fact-bomb.
Looking for some nonjudgmental support in your life? The birth and postpartum period is the perfect time for this! Give us a call at 518-712-9767 for your free consultation, where you can see just how well we can support you and your family through a period of time where absolutely no one should be judging anyone!