Judgments, Opinions and Criticism … oh my!

Do you ever find yourself in that space of feeling so “done” with the judgements of others that you want to scream!

While what another thinks of you and your beliefs only has the value sqwackthat you give it, at times the never-ending “blah” that comes your way can grate on the nerves. Others can be so quick to look for even the slightest nuance in your words and actions that they can find offense with. They appear to make it a priority to make sure that not only you know you are wrong (inept, stupid, ignorant…), in their view, but look for support from others in establishing the who is right and who is wrong picture. It is a strange mentality, I have trouble understanding it and my usual thought when I experience this is “don’t you have enough going on that you have to find fault with others?”

It seems that we are surrounded by criticism and judgement everywhere we turn in society. A lot of perception comes through media, with the constant messages that we aren’t enough or if we just did this or that we would be “better”. It seems that we are drowning in messages that we are doing it wrong, that we’re not enough, that if we only did it this other person’s way then we would be acceptable. BUT, do we really want that “acceptance”? Is it important enough to us? How much of ourselves are we prepared to give up in order to fit into that others picture of “enough”?

Personally, I really don’t care that much what others perceive as my not being or doing enough. I was raised in a family where the concept of personal boundaries and space were unknown. Where the expectation to be a “good girl” was so ingrained that I was a bundle of nerves to fall into that space rather than be perceived otherwise.  Attending private school, where we all dressed the same and conformity was the expected norm. It’s taken some time but I’m so beyond the girl who lived in those limiting belief systems. As an adult I’ve been drawn into similar experiences of conformity, I think because it is an energy I know, but ever more quickly I move away from these situations. I am ok with living, teaching and working in the ways that work for myself, my clients and my students. I am not a big fan of “community” because often you find the dictators somewhere in there. The ones that feel you have to conform to their way of doing things or their definition of community, or you are not doing it right. No thank you, this is no longer the space I want to be a part of.

Both of my “jobs” put me in constant contact with people who are at different points in their lives. I think one of the best messages I’ve discovered in my work is “to not judge a person by the chapter of their life story that you just walked in on”. It fits so well. Until I get to know a client or a student I have no idea what experiences have impacted their lives so far and I may never know. I have no expectations about what others should share with me. What I do know is that each individual will deal with those experiences in different ways and none of those ways are wrong (as long as no one is being harmed). Each of us deals with life to the best of our abilities, knowledge and intuitions, we do the best that we can. The last thing required is to have someone outside of us squawking about the way we are dealing with it and how we are doing it wrong.

Yes, we are all entitled to our opinions…but is it ok to push our peaceopinions on others? To try to sway others to our way of thinking and openly criticizing those that don’t think the way we do? While I have a lot of views around holistic health, natural wellness, dance, politics, etc. they will remain with me and not be put out in the public forum. Why? Not because of apathy but because I’ve seen others verbally crucified for their viewpoint and I’m not open to putting myself in that position. It is unfortunate that the accusations and name calling are so prevalent and over ride creating healthy atmospheres for open discussion. Healthy environments that we could grow with and learn from, in the exchange of ideas and knowledge gleaned from a multitude of life experiences.

What is important to me as far as opinions? That I treat others well, with kindness and compassion, and do what I can to help. That both my clients and my students receive the best that I am capable of giving in my service to them and that I treat them with respect. That I don’t intentionally cause harm to any other beings, be they human or animal.  That at the end of the day I can look back on how I’ve conducted myself and learn from things I would like to change and acknowledge what I have done well. That I have treated myself with respect and care. Whose opinion is important in all of that? Just my own!

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