Lately, I’ve been thinking about all the times in my life when I’ve made myself smaller, dimmed my light, or played along with something that didn’t resonate with my soul—all for the sake of not being judged.
This comes up a lot in the women’s gatherings and communities I facilitate, particularly when it comes to embracing spirituality and earth ways.
So many women share their fears of being judged as weird or different by their loved ones and immediate community—even their husbands!
And I have to say, I get it. I have had those fears, and they still come up for me from time to time.
I’ve even had the judgment occur right in front of my face.
I’ve been made fun of for using stones to connect with my intuition, mocked for calling my female friends “sisters”, and even had the words “devil worshipper” screamed at me in a public park I was having tea and burning sage with a friend of mine.
But I’ve come to realize the fear of being judged does not outweigh the sheer relief of being able to walk in the world exactly as I am.
You and I? We want to live in communities where we can be wildly free and unabashedly ourselves. We want to be able to tell the truth, to break down and unravel, to celebrate our wins and have those around us deeply love and accept us for who that person is.
But instead? We make ourselves small, we cover up the truth, we stuff it down, we choke back the tears, we stay silent, we nod in agreement while our insides scream, No, stop, I don’t want to be a part of this anymore!
Judgment is a thing in this world. You can’t really hide from it—as both the receiver and giver of the judgment.
Haven’t you ever judged someone else for what they were doing or wearing or being? Did you ever call someone weird? Have you attempted to “other” the ways they were different?
…do you know why you did that?
I’ve learned to see my judgments as an indicator of something deeper happening in my system, a way of bringing self-compassion and truth back into my being so that I don’t have to suffer from the story of judgment for so long.
From my experience and research, judgement stems from 3 main areas:
1. You see that characteristic within yourself, but you don’t necessarily like looking at it.
In other words, you are projecting disowned parts of yourself onto others in your judgment of them. I find this one to be particularly interesting when I catch myself doing it. I see it as an invitation to lovingly look more deeply at the shadowy parts I tend to avoid or pretend aren’t there.
2. You don’t like the idea of yourself exhibiting the same characteristic or way of being.
Perhaps you are super careful and discerning. Perhaps you are judgmental of someone who you would consider clumsy. Or, if you are more stoic and reserved, you may find yourself thinking judgmental thoughts about someone who is bright and loud. These judgments are an invitation for you to broaden your perspective of the world and the different ways of being in it.
3. You actually deeply desire that characteristic or thing in your own life.
…and the feelings of envy that come up around that don’t feel so fun. So you make something wrong with that person who has what you want in order to make yourself feel better. This is an invitation for you to thank your jealousy for showing you what you actually desire, which will help the judgment will melt away.
Thinking of judgment in this way helps me hold up a mirror to myself—and see those who have judged me in a new light.
I’m still working on this.
I still judge.
I still deeply want to belong.
I still catch myself dimming my light.
But my hope is that you and I will feel this as a call.
A call to examine our own judgments with curiosity and love.
A call to examine our judgers with the same.
And a call for resiliency against judgement—not letting it stop us from living our lives in a way that feels fully expressed and sacred to who we truly are.
May we all be part of creating safe spaces and women’s circles that will help turn the tide from judgment to connection.
I’d love it if you shared your thoughts on judgement in the comments below, sister. Let’s keep this conversation flowing.