A few weeks ago, I was catching up with a friend from home. She was still hooked on some guy she’d been seeing on and off for two years – a guy who had another girlfriend. She went on to tell me how terrible of a person this girlfriend was and how he was totally miserable in the relationship and needed to just dump her. She somehow needed my reassurance. “Doesn’t she just sound awful? I mean, I would never do that if I were in her position.” My response to her was short and simple, “Sounds messy. Run.”
I’m not perfect, but one thing I am very dedicated to is to avoid judging others. I have enough shit going on in my own life and I’m in no place to point my finger in any direction but toward myself.
Imagine a world where no one judged you, and instead, offered support and empathy for your experiences. Well, I realized that when I made the change and started minding my own business, everything got a little bit brighter in my life.
So here’s why you should do the same.
You never know the whole story
No matter what you think you know, or how close you think you are to someone, you never know the whole story. You’re either judging gossip or you’re going off of little one-sided tidbits you overheard at some hen filled baby shower. A story is much more than the he/said she/said bullshit; it includes emotions, history, and other details known only to the parties involved – things you could never understand.
Everyone has shit going on
Life is hard and everyone’s just trying to figure their lives out and make it through their various tunnels. Careers, relationships, and lifestyles are living, breathing things; they change, they evolve, and in order to grow, they have to encounter a challenge. These are things we all deal with on a daily basis. Curveballs and shit storms; affairs and betrayals; sharp turns and rock bottoms. We’re all in this together.
Do what you’re supposed to do and just be supportive
Imagine how much better life would be if we could just be a little more understanding of one another’s struggles. If we could offer a shoulder to cry on instead of a condescending glance. Your job as a friend is not to talk down or talk shit, it’s to take a step back and say, “Hey. I get it. I’m here.” Your job as an outsider is just that: to stay outside. We often forget that people that make mistakes are just normal people; and oftentimes, though they’re the ones at fault, they’re going through their own emotional rollercoaster for the decisions that they made. Have respect for their journey.
Put some ear muffs on and stop fucking gossiping
Are you still in high school? Because if you’re not, you need to learn when something is not your business to hear; and if you do hear it, you need to not have a role in spreading it. When in doubt, ask yourself, “If this was something that happened to me, would I want the entire office to know about it? Would I want everyone chilling by the water cooler talking about my affair with the gardener?”
Quit acting like your life is rainbows and butterflies
A big problem with judging others is that it gives you this illusion that you’re holier-than-thou and your life is filled with perfection, when we both know it’s not. I call bullshit. You’ve made mistakes in your life. There are things behind the veil that you don’t want others to know. You, as a normal human being, are flawed. And that’s okay.
You’re creating a false reality for your own life
That illusion leads to a false sense of stability, which means when shit inevitably goes wrong in your life – and it will – you’ll have no idea how to handle it. Being open to the reality that life is not black and white, that 20 year long marriages end, that people sometimes do shameful things when trying to climb out of dark holes… that is life. And when you accept life for being the complicated cycle that it is, you’ll do a much better job handling it when your life gets complicated. Stop pretending you’re somehow immune – because you’re not.
It’s really, really fucking annoying
Look, no one likes your judge-y pants. When you do your low blows and you take a sip of wine and you roll your eyes, it makes most people want to punch you in the face. What are you trying to prove, and most importantly, who are you trying to prove it to? You’re spreading your ignorance, hate, and negativity and you seriously think it makes you look cool. We’re not in high school anymore, we see through your bullshit, and it still makes us want to punch you in the face.
Just live and let live
Leave people alone. Let them live their lives while you live yours. Don’t focus on how you would have handled a situation, or on what your perception of right and wrong is; focus on being there, offering advice when it’s warranted, and being a beacon of strength for friends going through a hard time. Set an example for others and ignore shit that’s none of your business. Learn to not have a say about every single thing you hear.
Embrace the fact that life is complicated and we’re all just trying to figure it out.
And don’t be an asshole.