I often judge people. I don’t mean to and it is something that I am working on. I try to be more aware of it and sometimes when it happens I catch myself in the act. I experienced this quite recently. A few days ago my daughter was being fussy so I decided to take her for a walk in her stroller. As we were out, I saw someone walking towards me. As the person got closer, I realized it was someone I knew from my childhood and someone whom I didn’t like when I was a teenager. I realized that I had two choices. I could either be cold towards her or I could take the high road and be friendly. I chose the latter. I smiled and said hello and asked her how she was. And you know what? She reciprocated that friendliness.
It’s so easy to hold a grudge and to not like someone over things that have happened a long time ago. But you know what is easier? Letting all of that go and letting yourself be a better person. I can’t even remember why I didn’t like that individual as a teenager. I’m sure it was over something trivial and silly, and whatever it was, it doesn’t matter anymore. To hold on to a grudge for that long would be indicative that I haven’t grown as a person and that I still had a teenage mindset.
After I passed her on the sidewalk, I initially wondered what she was thinking about me. Did she know how hard the last couple of years had been? Did she know I was a single mom? Was she judging me for it? And as I thought those things, a huge realization set in; I didn’t know anything about her. I don’t know what kind of struggles she might have had or what highs and lows she has been through. I don’t know what her life has been like. I hope it has been happy and I hope she’s doing well, but all we know about people is what they put on the surface. The rest is guesswork.
That is why it is so important not to judge people. I am not going to pretend I don’t judge other people, because I do, but really, none of us have any business judging each other. You don’t know what someone else has been through. You don’t know what kind of battles someone is facing. You don’t know if someone is struggling with chronic pain or mental health or maybe has a sick parent or is battling an illness of their own. You don’t know if someone is struggling to pay bills or is working two jobs or maybe just lost their home. We only know what people are willing to share.
I’ve noticed that motherhood can be a very judgemental world. Moms are so quick to judge each other for what they perceive as wrong. If a mother sends her child to daycare, she’s judged. If she chooses to be a stay at home mom, she’s judged. If a mother takes a vacation without her children, she’s judged and if she takes a vacation with her children she’s judged. We judge each other based on feeding decisions, sleeping decisions, behavioural decisions and pretty much anything else we can think of. The thing is, is that we don’t know why something does or doesn’t work for another family. As long as the children are healthy, happy, fed, have a roof over their heads and are loved then the rest just isn’t our business.
Life is not easy. Parenting is not easy. Being an adult is not easy. The world is a tough place and sometimes it can be very lonely and overwhelming. Wouldn’t it be so much more beautiful if we could all lift each other up instead of tearing each other down?
To anyone I have ever judged; I am sorry. I do not know your struggles and you do not know mine. I hope that life treats each and every one of you well and that you find happiness in everything you do.
And to the woman I saw walking, whom I haven’t seen since we were both teenage girls, let me tell you this; you are beautiful and radiant. I hope you are happy and I hope you are doing well. I hope you don’t have any struggles and if you do, I hope someone is holding your hand and helping you get through them.
Life is too short to hold grudges and judge people. I hope that going forward, I can remember the lesson that I learned while I was out for a walk. We are all just trying to find our way – one day, one step and one moment at a time. We can judge others or we can love others, but we can’t do both at the same time ❤