Today I want to talk about capital-j Judgment.
It’s human nature to judge others. In a primitive sense, judgment is what keeps us alive.
But what purpose does judgment serve in, say, the People of Walmart? Or in snidely judging that ‘big’ girl at the gym? Or in the tabloids, where celebrities are constantly scrutinized? What does this judgment get us? Where does it get us? Nowhere but a few thousand steps backward, honestly.
Being Judgey McJudgerson makes us feel better about ourselves. Judgment is a coping mechanism we use to help us get through our issues. ‘See? My life isn’t that bad. I could be this woman. Things could always be worse.’ It’s a wonky version of skewed optimism by way of comparison that doesn’t leave room for humanity.
The thing that we forget when we judge others left and right is that they’re people too. And while you might not be calling them out, saying to their face, “I wish you would cover up your fat body, it’s making me uncomfortable,” or “You shouldn’t be giving your kids that much sugar,” you’re not doing yourself any favors tearing this person down in your mind. And you know what? For every judgment you’re dishing out, mentally or vocally, there’s someone behind you, judging you. It’s a stupid and viscous cycle that perpetuates itself. Every woman out there is on guard. “I have to be better, less judge-able. Must lose weight. Must wear make up. Must have tame hair. Must not have panty lines. Must be the perfect girlfriend/wife/mom.”
We strive for perfection, and in all of our striving, we stop feeling human. And when we stop feeling human, we stop realizing that other people are human too. We ruthlessly compare ourselves to others, and do our best to find the person who least ‘has it together’ so we can feel better about ourselves. Meanwhile, you likely know nothing about the person you’re judging. You don’t know where they come from, what their life is like, what they’ve been through, or what they’re struggling with. And if you do know the person, ask yourself why you care. What’s propelling you to get all judge-y? Why are you going to that place? Are you jealous? Do you feel superior?
I’m calling for an end to the bullshit. As women, we should be raising each other up, not tearing each other down. People like to think that this world is a nice place to live, where we’re all equal and color blind (which is not a real thing, BTW) but those people are probably straight white males that want you to go away and be quiet now.
What I know is that women still have a loooooooong way to go before everything is okay. We’re still fighting for reproductive rights and healthcare, equal pay, and the right to be taken seriously. Female politicians are few and far between. If you’re bossy, you’re really just a bitch. If your body is not perfection, you should be ashamed of yourself. If you have a lot of sexual partners, you’re a slut aaaaaaand goodbye.
The next time you feel the judgment coming on, task yourself to find something admirable about this person. It can be superficial, or more deep. It can be how they carry themselves, their style, their eyebrows, anything. Take the negativity and kill it to death with positivity.
When you start to feel like you’re not enough, and you need to do this or do that so you can fend off others judgment, remember that you are enough. Because you are. We all have things we want to improve about ourselves, but we should be arriving at those decisions with an attitude of compassion, not judgment. Love yourself, be patient and kind with yourself, and extend that same kindness to others. Catty judgment serves no place in life and the sooner we can stop being judgmental and start being compassionate, the better.