We all have some mean girl in us and it’s time to tell her to go away. Author Elizabeth Gilbert re-posted an essay she wrote on Facebook. The gist of the essay is that women need to be more kind to other women. We need to stop judging each other based on our looks and the decisions we make about our bodies. We need to stop judging. Period.
We always tell people they look GREAT when they lose weight. I’ve been on the receiving end of that compliment and it feels fucking fantastic. I’ve also been on the giving end of this compliment. And it feels just as great. What about when our friends, neighbors, gym mates gain weight, look haggard, have been sick? How about when we gain weight, look haggard or have been sick? What do we say then? What is said to us?
We say nothing and then think “Oooh, she put on a few,” or “Wow, what happened to her?” We stop telling her how great she looks. We may mention it in passing to friends. How about the innocuous comment when you see someone in a bikini and think “she should NOT be wearing that?” This needs to stop. Let’s stand together.
Who are we to judge what a woman looks like? Who knows why she’s gained or lost weight? Who am I to judge what someone wears? Maybe we feel superior or thinner or better looking when we put someone else down. It’s crazy how common place it is to judge. It seems we all do it. Remember Stanford Blatch from Sex and the City? He said it perfectly – “We all judge, it’s our hobby. Some people do arts and crafts, we judge.”
I realized what a judger I’d become a few years ago and it bothered me to my core. Judging other women is so pervasive and needs to stop because we are devaluing ourselves each time we do it. We are hurting ourselves and not accepting a part of who we are when we cut someone else down – even if it is only a thought. I do not live a judgement free existence. However, I work every day to be aware and try to eliminate judgement any way I can. Why? Because it’s mean, because it makes me feel ill at ease and because I feel horrible when I am judged.
While I still get judgy and always, without fail, feel badly afterward, I have cut back significantly. I started by realizing first, how much judging I did of myself. The negative self talk when I said the wrong things, or didn’t like my thighs one day or the way that I couldn’t get one stupid thing crossed off my to do list was pretty ruthless. Once I started being kinder to myself, I became aware of how often I made note of other peoples faults too. The awareness comes first.
Then came the game changer – labeling the judgement in the moment. For example, when I see someone I truly don’t like very much (you know THAT mom, the one that just says the wrong thing at the right time to get you all worked up?) I may start to think “Ugh, there she is – seriously why is she so dressed up on a freakin Monday morning?” I stop, catch my thought as a judgement and then realize the only reason judgement comes out is because that day, I’m probably in a pair of yoga pants and feel like a slob. Then, I apologize in my head to her for thinking it and to myself for allowing that crap inside me in the first place.
If you want to work on the judgement, first be aware when you are doing it. Next, start to realize why you are judging and finally, learn to forgive yourself for your own shortcomings and for judging in the first place. The more we practice the awareness, the kindness and forgiveness, we eventually come to a place of non-judgement. Let’s celebrate each other because it just feels better. And why the hell shouldn’t we celebrate the woman that feels confident enough to wear a bikini? Or the woman that dresses up to go to the Jewel? Or the woman that wears her sweatpants and the shirt she slept in to the carpool? Or the woman that decides she wants to go tanning every day and does it? We are all women, doing the best we can every day.
When we judge, we are actually judging what we fear the most in ourselves. The more kindness we feel toward ourselves, the more confident we become in our own skin. The more confident we are as individuals, the less judgmental we are with others. I feel so much better when I am kind – not only in my actions, but my thoughts. Let’s practice the loving kindness toward ourselves and toward the girl down the street. We all deserve it.