Tag Archives: judgement

To paraphrase…

Hello.

It’s been a while.

Did you miss me?

Right, I have some instructions for you:

1) Turn off the lights, close the curtains, close your eyes. Maybe even put some headphones on.

2) Turn up the volume, press play and… listen. Really listen. To every word.

And now, for the sake of clarity, here they are, those words:

Joni Mitchell

 

There is so much here. So much said between the lines and try as I might (and I have begun to a gazillion times) my efforts to paraphrase just sound trite.

So, in a nutshell:

1) You look at the world through fresh eyes, and it looks amazing. You dream. Big. You are filled with optimism. It’s a rainwashed street, shiny and fresh. It’s a blank canvas, full of promise. It’s castles in the air.

2) You are dealt a blow. Given a lesson. You are sobered up. Fast. You grow up. Your world becomes real. You challenge your beliefs. You change your perspective. And it hurts. Hell, it really hurts.

3) You emerge from that cave.  You understand now that it isn’t what you dreamed it was. But, and here’s the thing, it isn’t what you thought you learned it was either. In fact, you don’t really get it. You just know what it isn’t. Your eyes are open, but – now – so is your heart. And your mind. And you have lost so much. But… hey. Look. You have gained so much, too. It’s okay. Let it go.

So, look back at what you believed, at that younger, more naive and innocent you, with fondness. It wasn’t all wrong. And you know? It got you to where you are now 🙂

And, as I heard Wayne Dyer say the other day:

So many things that I did in my life, I look back and think that I would never do those things today. And yet all of my past actions have contributed to helping me be the man I am today. Say to yourself, “I had to be that person and I’ve learned from him (or her).” Forgiving yourself is every bit as important as forgiving other people. You did the best that you could, given the conditions of your life, and you can’t ask any more of yourself or of anyone else.

 

Joni Mitchell. I salute you.

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A Hospital Appointment

This morning was a bit of a test, frankly.

As Teddy’s parents, we go through many different, ‘new’ experiences regularly. And today was one of them. There were, however, many lessons learned. Of course.

First, I’ll lay out the situation.

No nursery school this morning: Teddy had a hospital appointment. At 9 o’clock. In the next town. With four big brothers to get to school first. That, in itself, was a bit of a feat.

A hospital appointment is, to be blunt, one of the most difficult situations you can face with an autistic child. You can choose whether or not to go to a restaurant (and more often than not, we choose not – we’ve walked out of too many to particularly want to keep at it). But a hospital appointment for your child is something you cannot opt out of.

I decided it was best to ‘come prepared’. I peeled and chopped up some apple (Golden Delicious, the only type his diet allows) and put it in my handbag, along with a tub of homemade cookies (Ted-diet-friendly) and his cup of water.

Simply getting to the right place was a nightmare. Teddy is very big for a three-year old. He wears aged 4-5 clothes, and they won’t fit for long. He is quite a weight. While his daddy was getting change for the exorbitant hospital car park fee, we hurried to his appointment. Allowing Teddy to walk under such circumstances means myriad detours, sit-down protests and much delay, and we were already 10 minutes late. So I carried him.

I had assumed we would be in the same place we normally are, where there is a wonderful big waiting room for children, filled with toys of many descriptions, pens and paper and very few other people. But they turned me away – opthalmology is at the opposite side of the hospital, we were due 10 minutes ago, and after struggling to keep him with me whilst announcing our arrival, after he had run off into various different rooms he shouldn’t have been in, disturbed various different consultations, because the lady at reception kept talking to me and it is impossible to restrain him, we were placed in a waiting room full of other people, mainly adults. There was a rather woeful area for children in one corner, containing two toys and a play kitchen with all accessories missing. I made the mistake of switching on the Peppa Pig toy. Don’t get me wrong: Teddy was thrilled. There’s nothing he likes more than pushing the same button over and over to hear the exact same sound. Again and again.

I can’t say the same for the rest of the waiting room.

So, when he was distracted by something else, I switched it off.

Which is when he decided to run around the room, dragging his ‘nuggie’ (a blanket) behind him, trying to put his fingers in the whirring fans.

By this time, of course, as we have come to expect, the looks were beginning. The ones that say “Can’t they keep him under control?” or “What’s wrong with that child?” And my smile has become a bit more fixed, the stress levels have risen. And finally he was called.

The lady who saw him was an absolute sweetie-pie. But we had once again made assumptions we shouldn’t have. She was just the first of three. She was totally adorable with him, had obviously done this kind of thing before, managed to get him to cooperate by not being precious about what he touched or played with in her office. She was incredibly quick and efficient with the awful eye-drops to dilate his pupils.

But then.

Then we had a 20-30 minute wait until the eye-drops worked properly and we were seen by doctor number two. We didn’t want to go back into that awful waiting room. The walk to the other one, the other side of the hospital, would take 10 minutes at Ted’s pace and then require that we drag him away from the Wonderland of toys to fight and scream our way back again. We decided to try to tough it out on the chairs outside their rooms. We had brought the Kindle he loves playing on – it has puzzles and games that keep him very happy.

Normally.

But it also plays the alphabet videos he loves to watch and we had no wi-fi. And that, of course, was all he wanted to do. And there is no way he will sit still if he is not occupied.

So he began to roll along the floor. There’s nobody around. He’s not doing anybody any harm. We let him. He crawls a bit, gets up, walks to the doors at the end of the unpopulated corridor (all the busy-ness is the other end), says “Bye bye” and tries to open them, runs back to Daddy… To and fro.

I was relieved. He was running around an area empty of people or sensitive equipment, where he wasn’t disturbing anyone or getting into any trouble. He was mobile and therefore happy (though his “Bye bye” indicates his wish to leave, of course!)

And one of the staff asked me to stop him and keep him away from that end because it was where the theatres are and people needed access (which, of course, he wasn’t actually blocking).

At this point, I’m afraid, the rawness of the situation, my still newness to being an ‘autism mum’, the stress… I said “He’s autistic. I’m just trying to keep him happy and stop him disturbing anyone else.”

Then things started moving. He sat on his daddy’s knee (just) while I went to talk to them and they suddenly started bustling to see if we could be seen more quickly. My pent-up frustration with the nurse turned to admiration and gratitude as she began to move to get Teddy in.

Two more doctors were consulted – one who wanted to see if he would need glasses (thankfully he didn’t. Imagine keeping them on!) and another who wanted to decide if he needed an MRI scan, electrode-tests etc. Thankfully she, too, when faced with our assurances and the evidence of her own eyes that his eyesight and nystagmus were so vastly improved they were barely perceptible any more, decided he didn’t need them either.

Both of these experiences involved a lot of wrestling with a very strong small person, cajoling, exaggerated play: all ploys to try to get to see his eyes. He was an angel. Not that anyone without knowledge of autism would have seen it that way.

Job done. We left. With more than a sigh of relief.

So, exhausted and battle-scarred, these are today’s lessons:

1) Ascertain, before going to an appointment, exactly what you are going to be there for, and how long. Our appointment letter was vague in the extreme, no one had explained beforehand what would happen, and we had wrongly assumed it would be a one-person, in-and-out affair.

2) Visit the pound shop and stock up on small, entirely new toys just for the occasion. Had I not assumed we would be in the waiting room with all the toys, I might have thought of this in advance. It is amazing how long a new toy can distract. And as soon as the novelty wears off, a new one can be produced. This is a trick I learned many moons ago when flying with his big brother, then a young toddler. But it would work very well with Teddy.

3) People do not get autism. Nor can you expect them to. As our first doctor this morning remarked: “The problem with autism is that you can’t see it.” I have read on so many forums the enormously difficult experiences and comments parents of autistic children have to handle on a daily basis. People wrongly assuming it’s a ‘discipline problem’, ‘they don’t look like they have anything wrong’… I found myself, in that waiting room, wishing I were wearing a badge or, as that same doctor put it, had walked into the room and announced it. People may not get, just by looking at him, that Teddy will not behave as they expect, but if you tell them before they have a chance to disapprove, then they have the opportunity to exercise compassion rather than judgement. This is one of the fundamental lessons for me.

I appreciate, of course, that there are many different people in our world with many different challenges, many of which I don’t have the first clue about. But who becomes passionate about a cause? Someone who has experienced it, is living it, whose life has changed because of some association with it.

Through my relationship with Teddy, I have come to realise that his biggest challenge is not autism. His biggest challenge is the lack of awareness, through no fault of their own, of the society in which he lives, about autism. Were people to have a clue (and it is hard to express how grateful I am when I meet someone who does) about what it means to be autistic, Teddy’s immediate environment would, overnight, become a more accepting and hospitable one. And, by extension,  families with autism would no longer feel that they live on the edge, on the outside looking in.


Beware the Honey Trap…

I am disappointed in myself.

I know that’s not the Practice. I know that if you fall off the horse, you get back on, and don’t berate yourself for falling. Instead, you learn the lesson about the fall, and sit a little tighter, or to a slightly different angle, or readjust the saddle, or… You get the point.

Nonetheless, I am disappointed in myself.

I allowed myself to be dragged into a powerplay, from which I know there is never a happy extraction.

I believe the kind of situation in which I was, once again, embroiled is called a ‘Honey Trap’. The sort of thing where, whilst repeatedly punching you in the face (metaphorically, you understand), you are told “But I love you!”

You can explain a situation from a thousand different angles, from a thousand different perspectives. The problem is not that you don’t understand that you are being punched in the face. You can wax positively lyrical about the ways in which you are being punched in the face, and indeed therein lies the problem: if I explain it this way, they will surely understand… There is great temptation to keep trying. But the problem  lies in the fact that the person punching has absolutely no awareness whatsoever that they are bloodying your face. I choose face-punching as a metaphor quite deliberately, because it is that obvious to you. It is so obvious to you that you are almost entirely unable to understand how the person punching cannot see what they are doing.

And, of course, the problem lies also in the hope that if you can just get them to see, then they might stop.

I could go on, but there is little point in going into detail. After all, this is not a lesson about victim consciousness. I no longer feel a victim of this behaviour. I no longer feel the need to ‘tell my story’, or to have people feel sorry for me. I am not interested in pity, or victimhood. What I am interested in is steering a course through adversity that causes the least emotional and spiritual damage to me (and my family, and indeed my aggressor), whilst maintaining my own integrity and equilibrium.

And, you see, that is where this kind of situation drags you off kilter. My equilibrium was not kept intact. I took my eye off the ball. I allowed myself to be bent out of shape. I lost my cool, half-burned the children’s tea, gave them a fraction of the attention they deserve, spent almost 48 hours being sucked back in. It leeches your life. And, in the simplest of terms:

It is not worth it.

Because, at some great cost – of time, energy, emotional stability and presence – I have learned over many years that there can be no other outcome than an escalation of frustration and a very unsatisfactory parting of the ways, that leaves you feeling less than, and a little poisoned.

The way it works is this:

1) The hook.
Maybe a little message, perhaps of ‘love’, perhaps of guilt, something designed to draw you in.

2) The conversation.
During which you can plainly see that nothing has changed since the last time you communicated.
By now, your warning alarm is going off like crazy in the back of your mind. It is, most likely, shouting “Run away!”

3) The position.
Which usually means ‘I want to keep punching you in the face whilst telling you I love you’.

4) The argument.
In which, in the gentlest terms possible, you try to explain that being punched in the face doesn’t work for you.
This escalates, as the aggressor continues to insist on their right to keep punching. But they love you.
And your frustration grows, as you try to explain that love is not punching in the face.
And they fail to see it.
And you become angry.
And ask repeatedly for it to stop, and to be left in peace.

5) The kicker.
The tables are turned, and suddenly the aggressor is the victim. “I see I have made you furious, when I just wanted to tell you I love you”.
Followed, even after your repeated requests to be left in peace, by “Let’s just leave it there.”

And you sit, stunned and dazed, flummoxed and furious, with nowhere to go with it all, having to process the poison and try to regain your equilibrium.

So, you see, I am disappointed in myself. This pattern is not new to me. It is dyed in the wool, tried and tested, and has worked for years. But, until this last experience, I had begun to master sticking to the solution.

Because there is a solution:

Don’t engage.

It is enormously difficult at first. It feels rude, cold, uncaring. But it isn’t. It is a healthy boundary, and self-protection. When you have experienced the same situation, more times than you can count, and the outcome has never been different, in spite of the many different approaches and angles you have brought to it, then it is sheer madness to expect it ever to change.

Walk away.

Register the sadness that arises in you out of the situation. Recognise that your wishing it could be different is simply a denial of reality.

And then, with a few deep breaths, focus on being here now: cook the supper properly, cuddle your children and hear about their day, tuck them up with a kiss and focus on what you do have, what you can do, the person you can control.

And let the rest go.


Self-Protection and Healthy Boundaries

I apologise for the radio silence on the meditation challenge. Life events have overtaken the priority to document. But it is ongoing and mostly very successful 😉

I have just had another very powerful lesson. Or wake-up call, if you will.

It always amazes (and, after the event, sometimes a long time after the event, amuses) me, the way the universe throws at you precisely the lesson you need.

The lesson today is healthy boundaries.

I have endured yet another  round of bullying by email. This one has been sustained for three days so far. Now, if this were someone with whom I had a mere passing acquaintance, I would not have allowed it to drag out for as long as it has or to affect me as emotionally as it has. I would simply have walked away. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, on any subject, including me. However, I do not have to endure those opinions being foisted upon me. As I have said before, and more than once, if the person next to you keeps punching you in the face… walk away! (Of course, there will then be plenty of conjecture and judgement about your motivations for walking away, but this, again, is opinion. It need affect you no more than the original attempt at  abuse).

Okay, that’s clear, then? Receive abuse – walk away.

Simple.

But what if the abuser is someone you love? Someone who for a long time was close to you, whose opinion you used to hold in high regard, whose love for you was an important part of your own life? This is where the real test lies. And this is not a coincidence either. In the same way that it is very easy to be a person of integrity if you never move from your armchair, it is easy to walk away from someone who holds no personal importance to you. An abusive acquaintance is easy to shake off. An abusive loved one can have you hanging on far longer than you should, allowing yourself to be subjected to far more than you should – it feels too much like giving up, and anyway, shouldn’t love conquer all? – with the ultimate danger of being emotionally, spiritually and physically exhausted and damaged. Your spirit requires protection, and your human being clings to an unreality. The human part of you finds it enormously difficult to detach from the dream. Because hoping that systematic abuse will change with words is pie-in-the-sky. An inability to accept reality can only bring suffering. We all know it deep down.

(And on top of that, as an important aside, where dehumanisation occurs, there can be no hope.)

There are several lessons I have been gifted over the past few years, and when I use the word gifted, I mean it sincerely. The process of learning has been inordinately difficult, and painful, but the lesson itself has set me free. Every time.

These are they (and regular readers of this blog will already be familiar with them):

1. What you think of me is none of my business.

Opinion.

It means nothing.

Nothing at all.

Whether the opinion is good or bad. After all, isn’t it a little ridiculous to attach importance to bad opinion and disbelieve good opinion? Or vice versa? It is not important what others think of you. What is important is what you know of yourself. If that is firmly rooted in truth and reality, then all other opinion is utterly irrelevant.

2. Nobody can protect you but yourself.

Your boundaries are important. They must be strong enough to keep the negativity out, but porous enough to let the love in. It is important to examine them carefully:

Are your boundaries so weak that you will let anyone who chooses walk all over you? Then you need to redraw them. And self-love is the only way. If you love and respect yourself enough, you will disallow the abuse. A useful exercise here is to ask yourself how you would feel if someone were behaving this way towards a child, perhaps your own child. You would not allow it to happen, would you? So why would you let it happen to you? You – your precious spirit, your gentle inner core – are just as in need of looking after as anyone else. Don’t just say it, believe it. Feel it.

Are your boundaries so strong that you will not let anyone or anything in? You do not let negativity into your life, but you do not let love in either? Then you need to tackle your fear. Why are you afraid to let anyone in? Only you can answer that, but until you do, you will continue to feel lonely, afraid and joyless.  It is not easy. It takes faith. And the first requirement is faith in yourself and your ability to protect yourself if the walls are more permeable.

Healthy boundaries can help end unhappiness and suffering.

Sometimes, asserting a healthy boundary can be terribly simple. It can take a conversation, during which you (calmly and without evaluation) explain that you are uncomfortable with a situation or behaviour. It is not acceptable to you. With luck, you will be heard, the relationship adjusted and the healthier for it.

“I don’t like it that you keep punching me in the face.”
“Oh god! Sorry! I didn’t think. I’ll stop.”

Everybody happy.

But sometimes, it isn’t that simple. You can put the puppy back on the mat a thousand times, but to no avail. This kind of exchange usually ends something like this:

“I don’t like it that you keep punching me in the face.”
*punch*
“But I’m doing it because I love you.”
*punch*

I have quoted Wayne Dyer before, and he is by no means the only person to have voiced this belief, to which I adhere strongly and with personal experience to support it. If you cannot say no *within* a relationship, you may have to say no *to* the relationship. It is not failure. It is putting yourself before the abuse. Put like that, it’s a no-brainer, isn’t it?

Sometimes, with deep regret and sadness, the only option is to walk away.


Peace, love and light…

I’ve had a few more signposts of late. I haven’t so much spotted them as had them march up to me and stare into my face until I could no longer fail to acknowledge their existence…

It started with a quote, a Tweet from someone I follow, one of many that flow through my life. Some pass right through tipping their hats without stopping, some fail to even register and some snag on a twig in my consciousness and refuse to wriggle free again… This was one of the latter. I don’t remember to whom it was attributed, but a few seconds of internet research soon reveals that it’s much-quoted and very popular.

But I’d never heard or noticed it before.

You aren’t obliged to attend every fight to which you’re invited.

It would be hard to over-emphasise the impact of such a few words. I’ve been a fighter all my life, as though my very existence depended upon my ability to defend myself against attack, and every attack needed defending. Without exception. I’ve never been one for vengeance, but defence…? Hell, yes! “Let it go?” Never. Never.

Next I was listening, as I so often do in the few, rare peaceful moments in my life, to Dr Wayne Dyer reading his book (mentioned before, I know!): Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life. Plodding slowly through the verses, I’ve reached the 60s now. Indeed, this one was the 60th. And these are the words that pulled me up mid-laundry:

Remember, it’s impossible to pick a fight with someone who refuses to fight! So your refusal to enter into battle is your most potent weapon against evil. You can change an angry person’s attempt to inflict harm by refusing to lower yourself to the level of their abusive thinking. From an enraged motorist’s curse, to the harsh words of a disgruntled clerk or upset family member, these outbursts are easily shifted when you stay centred inwardly. Become immune to such harmful thinking and action by knowing that none of this is about you…

This, of course, ties in pretty neatly with the idea: “What you think of me is none of my business”.  Again, such a simple concept but so powerful when  you let it sink in, that the weight lifting from your shoulders, the anguish invested in someone else’s thinking leaving your sphere of concern, is pretty much palpable.

Then, in the 62nd verse, with my hands in the sink 🙂 I found I had stopped again. This time I was pulled up by the following words:

Take Lao-tzu up on his advice for dealing with those who appear to be wicked people by mentally separating the individuals from their toxic behaviour. Remember that they […] simply believe that ego should control life. […] picture them as innocent children who are overstimulated by ego’s temporary stronghold.

Nietzsche said “There is no such thing as conscious evil”. I tend to agree. Just lost souls who are terrified of being wrong, who have invested everything, including their own integrity, in being right. But if we do manage to see them as overstimulated, ego-invested children, doesn’t that bring a new perspective of hope? Every new moment, every new day brings a new possibility for humility, the dissipation of anger, the understanding that it is not about me, because without us, there is no ‘me’…!

Children learn. They grow. They throw their toys out of the pram. They test boundaries. And healthy boundaries are vitally important.

Don’t accept toxicity in your life, but don’t condemn the carrier.

Never give up hope, sure, but remember: everything happens for a reason. And this is all a part of the journey.  🙂


Opinion: The Equality of Love and Hate

Today, a simple quote. I have found it enormously useful – vital in fact – and am offering it here to remind you that, ultimately, no matter what anyone says or does, you know who you are. And no one can take that from you, nor change it. I believe, too, that this is one of the most powerful tools we can give our children. And it boils down to personal integrity.

It is crucial that we remain independent of both the positive and negative opinions of other people, regardless of whether they love or despise us. If we make their assessments more important than our own, we’ll be greatly afflicted” ~ Wayne Dyer: Change your Thoughts, Change your Life

There are two reasons I have found this so profound:

1) From the simplest perspective as I have already said: remember that you know who you are and no amount of badmouthing or rumour-spreading or malice can change that; and
2) The opposite perspective pulls you up, doesn’t it? It’s rather a surprising thought, that we could be greatly afflicted by positive opinion? But it is equally dangerous to our integrity. The message is: don’t believe the hype. If you are in the apparently enviable position of being adored and respected, don’t stray! Still remember that only you can know what is in your heart.

In either case: you know yourself.

Or, more simply:

Know yourself.


Life Lessons

Today is a day of rites of passage in our house.

All four of the older boys have a big day ahead. Each one takes the next step on the road to independence and autonomy.

Bertie is having his induction morning at primary school and has gone off in his uniform, chest puffed out with pride, walking tall and telling everyone with whom he comes into contact “I’m going to BIG school today!”

I hope ‘big school’ is ready for him 🙂

The next two up are making the transition to the next class, Wilf to the penultimate and Arthur to the oldest. It’s all very exciting for them.

And Humph has gone on the bus to High School.

On the bus.

On his own.

He struggled to eat his breakfast, his stomach was so knotty. He made sure his hair was brushed. He filled his water bottle (and left it behind). We stood at a safe distance and observed the empty bus-stop. As soon as other children approached, he headed off to join them. He has a rather self-consciously staccato walk; a kind of jerky, forward-leaning, head-down lope. Every so often, he turned to check that I was still there, still watching to make sure he went off safely. And gave me a little wave. And my heart constricted in my chest. He only knew one other girl there, but she was with her older siblings, so he stood alone, apart. I was so glad his two best friends had got on the bus at the stop before his: he’d be fine once he was on board.

Earlier, in the kitchen, I pulled him towards me for a hug. He stood apart from me, already having made the break in his head, I think, and leant stiffly in for a cuddle. I put my hands on his back, eased him gently towards me, breathed softly with him and told him it was okay; that it was the next step on the road to adulthood, that it was exciting, and that he’d be fine. I recognised that awful/wonderful cocktail of terror and excitement churning away at his innards. You can’t pity him because it’s exciting, you can’t be too excited for him because it’s terrifying, you just have to… observe it, name it and say it’s all as it should be.

The next hurdle of which I am aware is to get on the right bus home!

-0-

Yesterday, I sat with Wilfy’s class for an afternoon of painting tee-shirts. I had done the same with Humph and Artie that morning, so I was pretty au fait with what we were all doing.

“Is this right?” a little blonde girl at my table asked.

“I don’t think you can do it wrong,” I replied. “Whatever you choose to do will be right.”

Sitting next to me, this obviously struck a familiar chord with my Wilf. In inimitable fashion, he pronounced:

“My mum’s a Buddha!” I smiled and corrected him “A Buddhist.”

“My mum’s a Buddhist.”

A little boy at the next table piped up:

“What’s a Buddhist?”

I was, by now, feeling a little nervous about explaining this to children whose parents may not approve, although I felt sure the school would have no problem. I sat attempting to coordinate my thoughts into a coherent and appropriately simple response when the little girl next to me joined in:

“It means she’s a different faith,” she explained. “Like me.”

Little nods of comprehension all round. No further detail required.

I had just been saved by a six-year old. And experienced religious tolerance and acceptance from a group of very young children.

Isn’t that a powerful lesson?


I Choose… NOT!

We were driving into town, my lovely Jem and I, and as is so often the case, our conversation was anything but ‘lite’. 😉

We were talking (again) about victim consciousness.

Whenever you talk about a spiritual perspective, or personal growth, or self-awareness, there seems to be this expectation that you are somehow holier, than other people… worthier… you know? Like you’ve sprouted saintly wings or something.

Victim consciousness involves not allowing other people or circumstances to dictate your moods, actions or reactions, right? So. Someone is ‘horrible’ to you: they blank you, they shout at you, they call you a name. You, in your self-aware state of non-victim consciousness, recognise that the problem is not yours, that they are operating out of some compulsion to make you the problem, and you let it wash off you. Right?

Well, yes. Okay. That’s the idea.

But we are all of us human. It is likely however that if someone, for no good reason, decides to call you names, or to blame you for something for which you cannot take responsibility, it’s probably going to hurt. So what do you do? Well, what you don’t do, if you are outside the sphere of victim consciousness, is wallow in it and feel sorry for yourself. What you don’t do is let it in.

But more crucially, perhaps, is the not necessarily oft-voiced truth that you don’t need to expose yourself to it either. If you come up against somebody who is persistently, relentlessly negative, you don’t need to keep associating with them. Why would you?

We often hear the adage: “Do as you would be done by,” but what about “Be done by as you would do”? You don’t need to put up with other people’s agendas and dysfunctions as a result of choosing not to judge.

Jem found a rather fabulous way of expressing it this morning:

“Even Gandhi would move seats if the guy next to him kept hitting him in the head!”

Well, you would… wouldn’t you?

🙂


On Judgement

Today I am struggling a little, I’ll admit.

The world I inhabit consists mainly of two camps: those who believe, as do I, in the old adage ‘Live and let live’; and those who feel the need to judge. I grew up with the latter and, these days, surround myself with the former.

I do not for a second deny anyone the right to their own ideas and opinions, although I should add that I often find the ability to research a matter entirely objectively sorely lacking – it’s a challenge for any of us! – but I do object to having opinions and judgments foisted upon me, unbidden and unresearched. I do my utmost, in this life, to give people the ‘benefit’ of my advice only when pressed to do so, and even then I am loath to assume that I know better than they what their situation is or what they ‘should’ do (more on the word should another day). One risks offending or wounding with such actions. If we all trusted one another to make autonomous decisions, even if they turned out to be lessons hard learned, the world would be a less complicated place, I suspect. I am of course aware that I am sounding defensive, but I am trying not to be, trying to make sense of something that I don’t really understand. As I said, I am struggling a little.

We are all of us travellers on this journey. Some of us are further up the road than others. Some of us were provided with less detailed maps or a faulty compass. But we are all, fundamentally, on the same path, whether we are walking it or have set up camp on the verge. And none of us can decide who is right or who is wrong – to try to do such a thing is to deny another’s subjective reality. What is right for one may not suit another, of course.  My point is that not one of us can know what another has been through to get to where they are, what their true motivations are, what their journey to this point has entailed, what is in their heart. Not one of us has the same experience as another.

So not one of us has the right to judge.

But in making that statement, am I judging? If you judge me, do I judge you back? I don’t think so. But I will give you a wide berth, since I don’t believe that living in judgement is a constructive way to live. If that is your way, then that is your journey and I respect your right to travel it to its conclusion, but it is a journey without me in it.

(I know, I know… “And this…”) 🙂