Let’s start by making one thing clear: I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. (We exist all the time sis, how are you going to make changes ONE TIME per year?? But I digress.) I do, however, believe that we should set new goals and standards for ourselves constantly. And my newest goal is to be less judgmental.
Now if you know me at all (which you may not) I’m the absolute worst. I judge people almost as much as I judge myself –– which is quite often. My intentions are rarely malicious, in fact I rarely have intentions with my judgements at all. But when I see (or hear or smell or come in contact with) something, I say something.
“That woman’s voice was horrendous.” “Did you see that girl’s pants?” “Someone literally smells like an armpit.” “Who let that man leave the house with that bun on his head?”
The list goes on.
But what I’ve come to realize is that my judgements –– from the meaningless, harmless and sometimes comical to the genuine, hurtful and demeaning –– stem from my own insecurities. If I judge someone (including myself) to the highest degree, then no one else can first. If I make a hilarious, self-detrimental comment, then people can only laugh with me, not at me. And a lot of the time, they do. I’ve made my friends, my coworkers, random people around me at Starbucks, laugh with the judgmental things I’ve said.
Here’s the problem. I live in a glass house and a bitch loves to throw stones. But (to turn a metaphor into an extended metaphor) I never throw stones with a target in mind, I simply toss them wherever my heart desires.
And my house is starting to shatter around me.
It’s never others’ stones that knock on my windows, though; no external harm is even coming my way. Instead, rocks are flying in every direction inside of my humble abode and if I don’t stop soon, I fear there will be nothing left around me but the ruins of a home, a life, a social support system, that I’ve pushed away with my Simon Cowell-esque critiques.
Now, I like to believe that I’m a woman of the people, a sort of humanitarian-in-training. But the reality is I’ve isolated myself from so many types of people who I could genuinely connect with, but who make me feel insecure. Instagram models, student journalists, people who share similar goals, people who have different perspectives, essentially anyone who could seem to be my competition in any avenue or degree has got to go.
Because I would rather exist in a carefully cultivated world where I feel powerful rather than challenged, like I’m the judge and not the contestant. But as the inspirational, wise and thought-provoking lyricist Rick Ross once said, “it gets so lonely at the top” (or whatever the equivalent to the angsty, shut-out life I’ve created is).
So begins my journey to be more of a Randy Jackson, or a Paula Abdul or even Nicki Minaj when she blessed us with her confused commentary in American Idol Season 12. Honestly, I’d even be content to be the 2010 version of Simon Cowell who decided to round up five of The X Factor rejects and create the boyband we didn’t realize we needed but now can never forget, One Direction.
And so far, the judgement-free journey hasn’t been going great. The same day I decided to be less judgmental, I almost mocked a woman’s voice loud enough for her to hear me. But I’ve realized a few things:
1. It doesn’t really matter how people treat you, what matters is how you respond and what you learn. If you can use a bad situation to learn and better yourself, that situation is worth more than if you just let it ruin your day.
2. The basis of not judging people isn’t whether you like or respect them. Choosing not to judge someone is as simple as granting them the understanding you wish people would give to you. Because at the end of the day we’ve all been running late and not done our hair, or been a little rude to a cashier after having a rough day. Sometimes you drive slow and don’t realize and sometimes your bathroom lighting makes your foundation look like it matches your neck when it really just doesn’t. During those moments when I –– as the great Jonathan Van Ness would say –– struggs to func, I already know I’m less than my best, I just wish people would show me a little empathy.
And, even though I’m still heavily judging people, the farther I get into this, the more I reflect on the judgements I make (and the more I’m able to keep them to myself). And I think that’s just part of life. I remember reading a Tumblr post about how it isn’t our judgements that define us, but the thoughts we have right after, and so far my second thoughts have been “relax” or “sure that girl’s hair is a mess but who are you?”
And that, my friends, is progress and that’s all I can ask for.
With love (and without judgement),