Judgment Days…

From time to time I realize how much of my energy is wrapped up in making judgment. Snap judgments which I am almost always convinced are accurate. There are negative judgments, and positive judgments and judgments that make me feel bad about myself because they lead to comparison. And judgments that make me feel smug, because they lead to comparison.

I have been thinking today. It’s been a thinking day. It occurred to me tonight as I was berating myself for the bajillioneth time regarding an undesirable situation that I was in as a result of a past decision I had made, that I was judging myself in the context of someone else’s life. Someone else who knew more then I did, someone who did not have the same challenges I had. Someone older, wiser, more experienced, with a totally different perspective.

I was comparing the me who made the “bad decisions” back then, to the me I am today.

Which was leading my self worth, my motivation and my sense of hope for the future to take a heck of a dive. On a fairly regular basis.

It occurred to me that if I knew then what I knew now, I would not have made that same decision, of course I would not have. But I didn’t. I didn’t know then what I know now. And sadly, I have no time machine to go back and inform myself. So cut a girl some freaking slack already, y’know?

How often do you do this? Stand in judgment of yourself? Every day, if you are anything like me. Without even realizing it. Judgments, regrets and frustrations paralyze us. Here are some I hear often, sometimes from myself.

If I’d only been a better mother back then, if I’d only disciplined myself before I put on all that weight, if I’d only made smarter financial decisions. If only I’d gone a different way with my education, if only I hadn’t screwed up that relationship, if only I hadn’t married that guy…

Well you did. Because you didn’t know then what you know now. That’s kind of the point of life. So get over it. Move on with what you do know now. That knowledge was won because of your mistakes. It was hard-won. It was painfully won. So use it to make your life easier, don’t abuse it by using it for self-flagellation, guilt and regret. Be a better mom today-even if your kid is 32, get up and exercise today, even if you are morbidly obese, start saving even if you did just declare bankruptcy, register for that course, invest everything you have into the relationships you do have.

Judgment is exhausting. Particularly when we are standing in judgment of ourselves. To be the judge and the judged? Ack. Harsh! We really need to cut that out. Don’t you think?

PS: While you were reading this, did you make some judgments? Did you maybe think, “oh but people could avoid mistakes if they would just listen to their church leaders, or their parents, or their smart friends, or their Dr.’s…” This is true. In some..in many cases. But none of us, none. of. us have avoided every single pit-fall in life just from listening and obeying.

Every single one of us has experienced some heart-ache from some bad decision that we just had to make for ourselves. That’s called life. Does it mean that the church leaders, parents, Dr.’s and good friends should give up and cease from their exhortations (didn’t that sound fancy?) ? Nope, that’s their job-and because they do it, many people are saved a ton of suffering. But there are times when all the best parenting, teaching and warning won’t save someone from experiencing that pain for themselves. And learning from it.

That beautiful thing called agency will always reign supreme, and oh my, it does create a complicated universe. So very mind-blowingly complicated. Still, I’m glad we have it.

I’m thinking I’m going to try hard to leave the judging to God because trying to do His job is very tiring and pretty much pointless. Which is why He tells us not to. Because he loves us and He doesn’t want us carrying that stupid, pointless burden. God really is so kind.

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Devon said...

Yes yes yes. Thank you, girl!!

Samantha said...

I berate my past self quite a bit. I try to remember these words of wisdom:

"If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself."
- Max Ehrmann (part of the Desiderata, which I think you're familiar with, Kirsty).

I suppose the "others" could also be our former selves?

Rachel Cotterill said...

Such a good point. It's easy to be wise with hindsight.

Redbonegirl97 said...

I am constantly thinking about the rash decisions that I have made and the folks affected by them. I also think about how they will affect my children. If I went back a corrected some things my boys may not have been here, but I am so glad they are.

Peace, Love and Chocolate

Joan said...

That was heavy~~ you are such a thinker and blogger.