We all have things we struggle to “be with”. It could be anything from smokers to social injustice and discrimination, crying babies to superiority & judgement, traffic to violence & abuse, incompetence to … You get the idea. No matter how evolved we think we are, there’s always a thing or two or ten, that ruffles our feathers or makes our insides burn and churn.
I had an opportunity not long ago to spend the majority of a long weekend being with that which I can’t “be with”. What I chose to spend my time of awareness on was judgement and/or a sense of superiority, as it is something that causes a visceral reaction for me. I find it extremely uncomfortable to “be with” someone who judges others and/or talks as though they are superior to… My first thoughts go to the one, or ones, being targeted. “You have no idea what they are going through”, I say to myself (or out loud…depending on who I’m with). “They are doing the best they can, with the tools they have access to at this time”, my heart also expresses for these dear souls. “And, by the way, who are you to judge?”… And if they are hurting others, “it’s only because they, themselves, are in such pain that they lash out and cause pain to others”, my compassionate self wants to plead. Having been on the receiving end of judgement, more times than I can count, I know what it feels like. I wish that feeling on no one.
“So what if the person doesn’t even know they’re being judged”, you may ask? “No harm done”… Perhaps… but wait, no… Here’s where my heart breaks ALSO for the one doing the judging. I know it to be true; that we judge others, we make ourselves to be ‘better than’, because we actually feel ‘less than’. Let that sink in… It is when we are lacking in love for ourselves, when we don’t feel that we are ‘enough’, that the need to make ourselves feel better by putting others down arises. I’ve been on the giving end of judgement too, so I know how that feels. I, also, wish that on no one. Are you with me so far?
Here’s the funny / not so funny piece of this. When I’m around people who are judging others and I get my panties all in a wad. Guess what??? I’m now judging too!! I’m judging them for judging others. This can’t possibly end well. Because… Since I KNOW better than to do that, I then judge myself for judging them. You see where this is going?! It’s an endless cycle of judgement and shame. Now I’m on both ends… of what I wish… for no one. Sigh… What to do…?
Well… it’s always nice if we can catch ourselves while in the midst of this madness. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t. It could be an hour later, a day later, when I’m really off my game… even longer. When I’m not ’stuck in it’ I can laugh at myself. It’s pretty funny what we can do to ourselves, isn’t it? It’s when we are not laughing at ourselves that we need to remember compassion, the same compassion we have for the ‘one’ at the beginning of this whole equation (the one being judged). Give yourself a break. Don’t judge yourself. You’re doing the best you can. We all are. And we’re just… human, you know? Then offer yourself some MORE compassion, the kind you give to the person who’s judging this other sweet soul. Love yourself a bit more because you’re making yourself ‘better than’, which means somewhere in there you’re feeling ‘less than’. — We are all evolving and growing, non-stop, some of us more consciously than others… None-the-less; all growing, learning, absorbing, integrating, evolving into a new version of ourselves each and every day, each and every experience. Take a deep breath. Be grateful you caught yourself at all, then intend to be more mindful next time. Maybe you will, maybe you won’t. Either way love yourself some more!!
So, why might I have taken so much time to “be with” this over that long weekend, you might ask? Well, there was great learning in it as you can see. Reflecting upon it has brought some more insight, and a deeper understanding of/for myself. And… the more I allow myself to consciously “be with” what triggers me… the greater capacity I have to hold space for others I am working with (even just social with) without letting my own “stuff” get in the way. We can be triggered less, and stay present to whom is with us and what experiences are taking place, when we have spent time doing the work. So I encourage you to give it a try. Spend some time looking closely at what you can’t “be with”, and where it lives within you. Because it does, in some way. None of us is perfect. The mirror is reflecting you back at yourself. Get curious…really curious. Practice love, practice patience, practice compassion & understanding…and dive in. I’ll see you on the other side.