I know I’m not alone when I say that Brené Brown is one of my favorite researchers and authors. One of her stories has been popping up in my head a lot lately.
Brené tells of a time when she was really frustrated by someone and it led to her wondering, “Do you think people are doing the best that they can?” Her husband’s response?
“I don’t know. I really don’t. All I know is that my life is better when I assume that people are doing their best. It keeps me out of judgment and lets me focus on what is, and not what should or could be.”
Hit the PAUSE button on judging
Let’s be honest. There is a lot of judgment in the world right now.
They are wearing a mask.
They refuse to wear a mask.
They sent their kids to a physical school building.
They are making their kids do virtual school.
Why are they all meeting in the same room?
Why aren’t they coming to this event?
Who knows what they do all day long?
All they do is work all the time.
They are voting for him!?!?!
I admit. I’m judging too. And so I notice I need to engage my core a lot to prevent myself from turning into Judgy McJudgerson – especially when scrolling through social media. Here’s the strategy.
When you notice you are judging:
PAUSE. Take a breath. Give yourself a moment to get off autopilot.
THINK. Are people doing the best they can? Is this even my business? What do I want to spend my energy on?
ACT. Move forward in the way that is most beneficial to you. (For me, it is oftentimes letting go of the judgment and simply choosing to move on.)
If you’re like me, you might need to Pause. Think. Act. repeatedly. Perhaps multiple times an hour. The global pandemic, social unrest, and election season seem to require it.
But what about when you are judging you?
I’ve noticed a new pattern with myself lately. As a single working mom, there is always a desire to want to do it all, and do it all well. But lately, with the girls home ALL THE TIME, and my work keeping me home all the time, I am very aware of everything I could be doing.
For example, when the girls went to school, I knew they were gone for the day, and I could focus on work. Or if I was out of town for a team retreat or training event, I knew the girls were in good hands. But now, we are always together.
When I’m working, I can hear them downstairs having fun with the puppy, and I want to be there. And when I’m spending time with the girls, I’m thinking of the load of work waiting for me on my computer.
I love my girls and my work. Lately, I’ve been noticing I’m judging myself a lot more for what I’m not doing.
I didn’t get that email out on time.
I didn’t give Jadyn my full attention when she wanted to show me the new outfit she made for the dog.
I didn’t get that workout in.
I didn’t clean the kitchen fully.
When the judge is you, you get to decide
We all have different roles and at different times, those roles can be overwhelming. So when you notice you are judging you, I invite you to remember the words of Brené Brown’s husband.
All I know is that my life is better when I assume that people are doing their best.
That includes you.
It all comes back to your core. When you notice you are judging you:
PAUSE. Take a breath. Give yourself the grace to acknowledge, at this moment, you are doing your best.
THINK. What do I need at this moment? This doesn’t need to be something you need to do. Perhaps it’s something you need to not do. Perhaps it’s just a way you want to be. Instead of judging, think about how you want to treat yourself.
ACT. Treat yourself with compassion. Or take a break for yourself. Or plow into work. Or have a dance party with your kids. Or clean the kitchen.
Everyone is doing their best. You too.
If you read that and thought, “But I’m not doing my best. I could be doing better.” engage your core again, and think about what you want to do with that information. At the same time, consider: Perhaps in any given moment, you, your co-worker, the person who cut you off in traffic, everyone is doing the best with the resources they have at the time.
From that place of compassion, you can focus on what is most important to you, instead of the judgment.
It takes practice to let go of the judgment. It’s something that I’m working on a lot right now. It doesn’t require 100% success to make a difference. Give it a try and see how it works for you.
P.S. The 2020 Wisconsin Biohealth Summit presented by BioForward is virtual this year! I am honored to be delivering the keynote on September 30, and Jill Mueller will be facilitating two engaging breakouts afterward. Learn more and register for this amazing conference here.
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