Other people’s judgements and reactions say more about them than me.
It took me a long time to understand this.
In childhood, I as well as everyone, is the subject of judgement. The established system pushes and prods us. It teaches us that fulfilment of a criterion is expected. How closely we achieve the prescribed expectations rewards us with a measured grade. Through our early years, we are the subject of a nonstop assessment of how well we satisfy others.
It becomes a habitual view in a relationship. We think in terms of how well we meet other people’s expectations. By their criticisms, we perceive a measured grade. In turn, the years of continuous judgements teach us not only to accept judgements but also to become judgers. This indoctrination creates a vicious cycle. The fear this ensues separates us from each other sharpening our existential loneliness.
We do not feel safe with each other. How could we? We grow to expect criticisms and judgements and disappointingly, those expectations come true.
Some of us build a thick bravado in an effort to block the hurt this creates. Some fall into an anxiety of trying to fulfil the expectations by perpetual improvement. Both choices are an effort to process this ongoing wounding.
We carry this into all our relationships. We take turns playing the role of either the judged or judger. Although we can slough this off with acquaintances, in intimate relationships we are deeply affected.
The divorce rate, as well as the long list of broken relationships along life’s line, proves how damaging this can be.
We yearn and search for others who can heal us. We long for unconditional acceptance. The depth of craving depicts the level of support required to heal our harmed wellbeing.
Certainly we need to pass on information to the children on how to survive in this world but how we are presently performing this creates a sting.
In the world of adult relationships, how others judge us, discloses more about them than us. How we judge others conveys more about us than them. This is the missing piece. This is where we need to focus our attention. It is a shift in consciousness from victim or aggressor to self-liberation.
This week a friend told me of a judgement placed upon her. The other person had told her that she was weird and mean. Affected by the negative judgement, she was disappointed in their assessment of who she was.
However, the judgement said more about the other than it did about her. Using the word weird in any context means that the user has a script of expected behaviour. Anything that does not remain within scripted defined limits is something not previously experienced and therefore alien. Weird describes something different from which with we are familiar. It says that the person using it expects life to unfold in a familiar manner. It means they are uncomfortable when life does not fulfill their expectations.
The same goes for the word mean. The user who chooses this word describing another is revealing an unsatisfied personal expectation not who the other person is.
Understanding this marks the beginning of grasping and decoding an essential hidden level of communication with each other.
Next time you feel criticised and wounded by judgement, flip it away from you and reflect it towards the sender.
However, sharing your vision with the other of how you understand them better will be a hindrance. Instead, learn from it and use the knowledge to understand the needs of the other and enlighten communication.
What’s more, this works in reverse. In being mindful of your judgements, by paying attention to your expectations, you will decode the hidden communication in you.