Recently, I was rudely and unjustly judged by someone who should know better. Wanna see my face go magenta and smoke shoot out of my ears…then judge me as a parent (more on parenting later). I dare you.
After my Tasmanian devil-style meltdown, I got to thinking about why we judge others. I tried researching judgement, attribution theory, and various hypotheses… but got bogged down in journals and jargon until my eyeballs were spinning.
So here are a couple of possible reasons for judging others, that applied in my situation:
Too often, the judgments that others make on us are dispositional attributions-our behavior is judged because of WHO WE ARE, fundamentally, as a person, instead of based on our response to the circumstance we are experiencing. You think I am angry and grouchy because I’m a mean, bad or unhappy person. Situational attribution is having the grace to understand that a person’s behavior is based on a SITUATION THEY ARE EXPERIENCING, rather than who they are fundamentally. You understand that I am angry and grouchy because I slept poorly, my coffee spilled on me in the car and my toddler wrote on the wall with my favorite lipstick…I’m having a crappy day.
See the difference? Funny thing is, we tend to judge others dispositionally, and ourselves situationally. Yep, I know, there’s no such thing as “fair.”
Can we just offer the other person the same grace we afford ourselves?
Projection is basically taking your mental or emotional baggage, and claiming it to be someone else’s, which somehow entitles the person a cart blanche to judge another for those perceived flaws. As per the American Psychological Association, this is considered a defense mechanism that allows the person to avoid acknowledging or seeing their own faults.
Know anyone like that? I do.
I was judged dispositionally by someone who was projecting their insecurities or fear of personal failures onto me. And now I shall shed that shit like water off a duck.
I’m no psychologist. I’m well-read, educated, and have done some therapy in my life. And like any of us who are honest with ourselves, I admit to struggling with judging others. I think to some degree, as supported in all these theories, it’s in our nature. I also strongly believe as I’ve gotten older and wiser in life, I’m less prone to rash judgment of others. I have taught myself patience and the ability to methodically assess a situation before drawing a conclusion about someone else. But I’m not perfect. It still happens.
People are CRUEL in their judgments of others. It degrades relationships, breaks down honest communication, and is truly harmful. I have been judged and tortured socially by people who had some unspoken, unrealistic expectation of me. I have been judged and scorned by haughty conservatives for my tattoos, piercings and bold hair colors, as if these creative displays mark me as a bad person. I have been judged and misunderstood by folks with pre-disposed opinions of me based incorrectly on limited knowledge or the opinions of others.
And I’m sure you have been, too. So, do me a favor, DON’T BE THAT GUY.
As for the parenting
NO ONE is a perfect parent. We don’t get any training on it, we aren’t licensed as parents, and parenting theories change through time and are vastly different today from the Spocks and Baumrinds of the 1960s. Literally, we get more training on how to drive a car than how to raise human offspring to be productive members of society! So, HOW DARE YOU judge something I do as a parent!? This is what spurred this whole post. Short of neglect, abuse and inflicting trauma, NO ONE has the right to judge me, or you, on parenting. It is personal. It is private. And I admit, I used to do this. Now I have 4 offspring of my own, and I realize how fucking hard it is. Even from one kid to the next, the methods you employ may need to be adapted.
As a parent, I love, I nurture, I teach, I learn, I discipline, I apologize, I yell, I cry, I sing, I cuddle, I read and learn some more, I wipe boogies and vomit…this gig is not easy.
So, NO THANK YOU, to those who think they know better for my children and choose to condemn me. You are not welcome here.
Cheers and Love,