I have been thinking lately about judgment. About what it means to be a judgmental person. And about what it looks like to live and let live, while at the same time judging.
I have written before about the difficult relationship I have with obesity and judgment. (In this post right here.) And that turned out to be a very important exercise for my growth. It was the first step in my reconciliation with the girl I had been growing up. I did make peace with the person I had been and the body I had been in. And there have been some subtle changes in my thinking since then. But some things remain true. I have been fat and I hated it. And I hated myself. And it was so difficult and painful. So I pity. And pity is a kind of judgment. And I don’t ever want to be fat again. And that is a kind of judgment.
There is this thing I hear in some of my circles and on social media a lot. It’s this idea that nobody should be judged. With an unspoken yet clear undertone that says nobody except those who judge. And those who judge should be judged harshly.
Well I am going to tell you, I judge. And I have come to realize that I like it that way. And that I don’t have any intention or desire to change that.
First, some clarification. I don’t think it is ever ok to be unkind. I don’t think it is a favor to anybody to shame and humiliate them. Or anybody’s right to do so to another person. Also, judging does not mean vomiting my opinion all over the place. It does not mean unsolicited advice. It does not mean meddling. As I said in my last post, I am looking to focus on minding my own business. I believe in live and let live. I believe in keeping my eyes on my own plate and my own life. Not that I am perfect at it, but that is what I strive for.
Judging also does not mean liking or disliking people based on anything other than liking them. The truth is that there are people in my life whom I am judging about certain aspects of their lives, and I really like them. And there are people whom I do not like at all, but there are things about them that I cannot help but respect and admire. There are people I want to like, but I don’t. And people I do not want to like and I just can’t help it.
But I am a judger. I believe in judging. I believe in having a critical eye (tempered with a loving heart.) Because how else would I know what I want? And how else would I know who to ask to help me get it?
There is a saying that I love: If you want what I have, then do what I do.
When I was desperate to get my eating under control, I found people who had their eating under control. I asked them for help and support. I learned what they did and I did it. And it worked.
When I wanted to have a breakthrough in my love life, I went to a friend who had the kind of relationship I wanted and I asked for her to teach me. To point me in the right direction and show me the next step. She did. And it worked.
When I wanted inner peace, I went to the people whom I could see had peace. The ones who radiated self-love and serenity. Even when their lives were in turmoil. I asked them what I could do to have peace, and I followed their directions. And it worked.
If I hadn’t been judging, how was I supposed to choose what I wanted? If I hadn’t been judging, how could I have known if I was succeeding or not?
Now seriously, would you take fitness advice from an out-of-shape trainer? Would you take marriage advice from someone in a miserable marriage? Would you take dating advice from a single person? Would you take career advice from someone who hates their job? Would you take food advice from someone obese and unhealthy?
Here’s the thing, maybe you would. Maybe you do. It turns out that many people do. Maybe you think that it is wrong to judge. Maybe you think that anybody’s advice is as good as anybody else’s.
But I do not see it that way. Now I look for who has what I want. And to figure that out, I am out here judging. Looking around with honest and clear eyes. And a head that is not fogged up with sugar. Using my gift of discernment. I believe God gave it to me for a reason. To use it. Not to call people out. Not to shame and humiliate. To use it for myself. To make myself the person I want to be. And deciding who I want to be, and if I am that person, takes judgment too.