Pep Talk: Stop Judging Yourself & Other People
This post was going to be something entirely different, but it turns out sometimes life happens and the story has to pan out before the main point becomes clear. Let me back up. I recently went to a 3 day country music festival and was in my absolute element. Seriously, if anything makes me feel like my heart is on fire and like I’m truly alive, it’s dancing, singing and foot stomping to my favourite songs. And that's exactly what I did. (Well, it wasn't quite that easy, but that's another post).
So it's coming to the last 3 songs of Carrie Underwood’s set and people are leaving. They're grabbing their bags, and heading out of the arena to avoid queues. (did I mention it was the most popular arena in the world?) And I'm thinking WHY?!
At this point, I've got an entire blog post written in my head ready to put on paper, about leaving before shit gets real, giving yourself excuses to miss the main event and missing out on epic parts of life because something more convenient came up. And I’m feeling pretty good about it.
That was until the last night. When I had to leave early to make my last train and ended up missing out on the finale of Eric Church’s gig (cue sad face). And I thought holy shit:
A. I’m a hypocrite
B. Life isn't that fucking simple
I’d made all these presumptions about the people who had left the day before, and then it happened to me.
And it got me thinking a lot about how we judge other people without knowing their whole story and situation. Especially how we treat people when they don’t work to achieve their dreams in the way we’d approach them, or if they abandon their dreams.
When we’re in our own heads, it’s easy to make up stories and get on our dream chasing high horse, even if we’re not meaning to.
For most people, including me and you, chasing your dreams is really bloody complicated. There are SO many factors involved, there are so many different elements that go into making a decision, and choosing what path to follow.
And some elements aren’t chosen by us. Each of us have our own unique set of challenges.
We all have things in our lives that make it extremely difficult to get the work done, to find what it is we feel like we’re meant to do, and to follow our dreams.
And all of our challenges vary, and most of them are completely hidden, or at least not very obvious. (And it’s not up to us or for other people to make them completely visible.)
We don’t always have to explain ourselves to others. We’re allowed to struggle in the dark if we want to.
It may be that someone is paralysed by fear, that they don’t think they can see it all the way through. It may be that they’ve never finished anything and have yet to find the tools they need to get them over than final hurdle. Maybe they have children and balancing childcare and dream chasing is tough. Maybe they get 90% the way through and their budget is blown. Maybe the car breaks down and the savings went. Maybe they’re in poverty and savings were never an option. Perhaps someone became ill and priorities change. Perhaps the project was never serving them in the first place and they were doing it because of guilt. Maybe they have mental health problems and sometimes the biggest achievement of the day is managing to get out of bed. Maybe they have a having a chronic illness and are dealing with the daily struggles and ups and downs that comes with that. Or another one of the 986,746,735,361 other situations I could have thought up.
There are a billion reasons why people do things or don’t do things.
And you might be the most empathetic person in the world, but you’ll never know what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes.
Because you only have your own frame of reference to go by. And often, our individual frames of references can’t even begin to think of what it would look like for someone else. We make assumptions, we think about what we’d do if we were in that situation and even if our interests come from a really kind place, we end up judging.
Whatever our circumstances are, they’re all different.
And I think we can all relate this back to ourselves.
We judge ourselves all the fucking time because we don’t take into account our own challenges.
Instead, we beat ourselves up, we tell ourselves we should be doing better and we call ourselves lazy. We convince ourselves we can’t follow things through, and wonder what the point was in the first place.
We become our own harshest critics, and then wonder why we can’t create, why we can’t follow our dreams when we’re in a place of complete self sabotage.
So this is your reminder to give yourself a break and give others a break. We won’t always know the rhyme or reason. We won’t always understand what motivates others or what stops them in their tracks. It’s hard enough to do that for ourselves
We all have challenges. And they’re complicated, messy and often uncomfortable.
Welcome to the joys of being a human.
I’d love to know what you’re doing to be kinder to yourself and how you’re giving yourself a break. Let me know in the comments!