I have a very specific topic in mind for my first post back. It is one that I feel is of incredible importance and each day that I sit on it without typing a word, I feel as though I am creating fear in myself to write about it.
Have you ever discussed the distinction between hearing and listening? Hearing essentially allows us to bring in sounds through our ears. We hear sounds or words but they have little meaning until we listen. Listening involves consciously taking in the sounds, processing their meaning and deciding what to do with the information. Pretty standard.
I'd like to go further and say that "seeing" and "judging" take on a similar co-existence. We see things around us all the time. We are constantly processing and deciding how to deal with what we see. But I'm realizing that part of that process is "judging." Judging is not always a bad thing, but in many scenarios we judge people. And that is where it gets a bit sticky.
Recently I've encountered a lot of criticism of other people. And what makes it so sad is that the criticism is not constructive nor does it have anything to do with someones performance. The criticism has to do with someones lifestyle, personality, or choices. These are the most painful criticisms because they attack who we are at our core and they attack our freedom to make choices in our life.
It's ok not to want to live your life exactly the same as someone else. It's also ok to not agree with someone else's choices, meaning you would not choose them for you. But why do we waste our time, energy, and happiness dwelling or even just commenting on what you don't agree with if ultimately it does nothing positive for us and certainly nothing positive for them? Why don't we just look at other people and smile and feel glad that we have so many different faces in the world? Why can't we accept people for who they are and ultimately embrace and love them for who they are?
For some reason it's in our nature to devote a lot of time into wondering why other people do what they do, act how they act or live how they live. Why does she wear that? Why do they live in that town? If they drive that car they must be of a certain ethnicity.
Why is it that these are the things we focus our energy on instead of just seeing that there is another person wearing that outfit, another person living in that town, and another person coming out of that car.
I struggle as well with criticism. If I'm very honest, this world has taught me to judge first by the package that the person comes in (even if I'm not judging in a negative way) and then decide how I feel about it. And I'm realizing that even though I dedicate my time to not openly or outwardly judge others with my words, it still happens in my head. And I believe that is just as bad.
I do not accept that this is the way my mind has to be. That's not what my heart wants, it's only what my mind has been trained to do.
I'll tell you about my personal struggle with being critical. I think the people I have had the hardest time embracing recently, are people who outwardly judge other people. When I am sitting with someone who is very openly making judgemental statements about a person of any kind, I sit there feeling incredibly uncomfortable and unsure of how to react. In a strange chain reaction, I begin judging this person for being so judgemental, which is exactly what they are doing. And now here I am feeling conflicted and hypocritical. This person and I am exactly the same. We are both judging, both being critical...
Something that really helped me to get a grasp on this and begin to combat my own criticism of others was to remember that we are all put on this earth for different reasons. I feel that part of my purpose here is to love people and embrace them for who they are and then further to encourage and support people in any way that I can. I know this to be true in my heart. But not everyone is on this specific mission. Nor are their missions any more or less important. And therefore it is not my place to judge them for not being conscious of their critical behavior. They are focused on their life mission. And combating criticism takes a lot of energy!
Ultimately, it is not my job to judge people, change people, coach people, tell people what is right and what is wrong.... because who really knows! It is my job to embrace and love people. All people.
To paraphrase my friend K who is such a driving positive force in this world: I wonder how different the world would be if we put all that effort into loving and uplifting people. K is so pure in her heart about loving other people. I'm glad she is in the world doing what she does best, being herself.
To dive just a little further into this topic before signing off for the day, I feel it is really important to remember that when we strip everyone down to their very core, we are all human beings. We are all people. We are not jobs. We are not clothes. We are not even nationalities and ethnicities at that level. We are not our sexual preference. We are not our hometown. We are who we are. We are people. And everyone is beautiful in the same way. Everyone is the same at that level. No one has the power to build themselves up by knocking other people down. No one can judge any of those external things. It is so critical that we understand this concept and love each other because we are people.
I'm not here to judge you. I am here for the exact opposite actually. I am making it my personal mission not to judge you. These topics are uncomfortable to talk about. These words are hard to write. But they have to be said. I don't judge you for your outward appearance. I don't judge you if you feel uncomfortable with other people's lifestyles. I don't judge you if you feel awkward in a foreign country. I don't judge you if you think in some ways you are better than others. We all naturally go through these thoughts. ALL OF US! Even when we have the best intentions. But I do ask you to consider this topic with great importance. The quiet criticism in your head can be just as damaging to the world as the loud criticism. And maybe we can all be a little more aware and positive to those around us even quietly in our own thoughts.
I think you are beautiful the way you are. I think whatever mission you are on this world, it is the right one from you. You are exactly where you are meant to be right now. I know that we are all different from one another in many ways but at our very core we are all the same and we all deserve the same love and respect.
Lets embrace one another today, tomorrow and beyond.
I have made an embrace sign as a reminder and often where my necklace from B with a note inside. You can make your own reminder! But I think the best reminder is to go out there and just be yourself and allow others to do the same :)
BPositive and BLoving to Others!