Tea Time with Trish: What is Judgement REALLY about?
As I sit at Starbuck’s writing an article, I couldn’t help but take a quick break from it and start on this blog. The reason for that is because of a conversation that is drifting my way (seriously, I don’t purposely eavesdrop)!
I think the reason that it has really piqued my interest is because I can hear my old self in their conversation. The scene is a couple young girls who got together at a coffee shop with the intent of catching up and spending some quality time together. In their attempt to bond and relate to each other, what is their common ground?…gossip!
As Girl A shared a story that was not sitting well with her about a mutual friend, Girl B was quick to empathize and validate just how right and justified Girl A was in her feelings. From there Girl B contributed her stories to add depth to the misdoings of Mystery Girl C. Soon the conversation escalated to a heated flurry of judgement and negativity surrounding this girl who was not there to even defend herself.
This is a theme in many relationships (don’t try to pretend its not!) – mutual friends and family become the topic of conversation. We all have a need to feel connected, to feel accepted, to be a part of something. Because of these needs we often times can get sucked into conversations that revolve around discussing and judging other people. We get caught up in the energy of the conversation and soon enough we are carried away with it…or, we’re the ones to start it in hopes that we’ll create that connection.
Admittedly, in the past, at different times I had been both the gossip starter, as well as the gossip participator. In both cases, all I wanted was to feel connected and heard. My intent was never to hurt “the person of discussion, ” however intent or not, there is no way to avoid it.
I recall many years ago when I was meeting new people through work , and the relationships grew turning some of those people into very good friends. Unfortunately over time there started to be a breakdown in those friendships. Insecurities started coming out (although at the time I didn’t realize this was the culprit), and all of a sudden the people we were closest to were all talking behind everyone’s backs.
Although I wasn’t the starter of this gossip, I did get caught up in the energy of it all and became a participator. As with all energy, what you focus on grows, and what started out as something very inconsequential grew into something that caused hurt feelings and a breakdown of friendships.
In this case, it took me a few years to realize and understand my part in all of this. I preferred having the blamed placed outside of myself…I didn’t want to take ownership of my part. However, as I started to learn more about myself, and fully realized that nothing is ever about others; it’s always about me, I started to look at and evaluate what happened in this situation.
What I found so amazing when I got to the core of it all was that I didn’t even have the underlying feelings that started the whole breakdown and gossip. Hmmm, if that’s the case, how the heck did I get caught up in it?!
I didn’t like what I found initially, because it shone the light on some aspects of myself that I wasn’t all that fond of, and was trying very hard to keep down so that no one else could see them. One of those things was that although I was confident in many areas of my life, there were still some areas where I wasn’t all that secure or confident. And the way that lack of confidence manifested was by having a need to be validated and accepted by others…their approval could prove that I was good enough!
Because of this I could be blindly led into believing and accepting what others told me. I wasn’t secure or confident enough in my opinions, and I so badly wanted to please others, that I wasn’t 100% sure what I stood for. And because I couldn’t stand up for what my own standards were, I certainly couldn’t stand up for others.
Even though this incident happened many years ago, it was still the catalyst of learning more about myself, and how I operated in certain situations. As I became more self-aware, and I began to discover and grow, I knew that I would not let another situation like that occur. And I didn’t. HOWEVER, sometimes for true learning to occur, similar situations will arise in which you learn more and more, and with each situation you find you handle it better and gain more from it.
So, over the years, I still had some lessons to learn, but with each one I caught myself so much quicker. I also knew that it was really a reflection of me, so what needed to be evaluated was myself…not the actions of others. That’s not to say that some of my learnings didn’t come with some less that stellar moments on my part, in addition to some inner mind battles…BUT overtime, I have been able to let go more and more of judgement on others.
Of course we are still human, so judgement is bound to happen from time to time, but what I believe is the difference between observing and judging is how we react to it. If we see something and allow ourselves to get caught up in the discussion of it, it is judging – good or bad. If we see something, can put ourselves into their shoes to see it from their perspective with their attached emotions, and allow it to be what it is knowing whatever they do is their business – that is simple observation…you aren’tt attached to it. It boils down to your response.
And for those inevitable times where we do find ourselves in judgement mode, our goal is to catch ourselves quickly, and commit to doing better next time (…and to take responsibility and fix any damage if it has gone that far).
So, what I have found that leads to less gossip, less judging is:
- Becoming self-aware – When you become aware of yourself, how you react, your values, and what triggers you, you are better able to catch yourself quickly and adjust your actions.
- Realize gossip/judgement is a habit…and habits can be reprogrammed.
- Put yourself in their shoes (old cliché that still holds true) – this has two results: 1) You can understand their insecurities, their emotions and why they act the way they do; 2) You have more compassion for them.
- Learn and understand your hurts, pains, and triggers – why do you feel the need to judge? Are you feeling judged? Do you judge yourself (ie. Hard on yourself)?
- And ultimately realize – it’s never about them…it’s about you
As Gilly from Saturday Night Live would say…Sorry! (If you don’t understand the reference here, google Gilly on Saturday Night Live….makes me laugh every time!)
Trisha Savoia is founder/owner of Absolute Awareness, and creator of the Moms Who Want More Program. Through her programs, writing, and speaking she uses her skills and experience as a mother, teacher, & Clinical Hypnotherapist to mentor moms who want more out of their lives – mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.