Am I judging everyone judging me?

We’ve all experienced it at one time or another; we walk into a room and feel every pair of eyes instantly fixed in our direction.

Our first thought is something like: “do I have snot on my face?”

outcast-2-1429025-1280x960After a quick, surreptitious brush across our lip with the back of our hand, we realize that they may just be staring at something that can’t be seen.

But manage to see anyway.

Years ago when I wasn’t the massive mountain of maturity and wisdom that is the current magic of being me, I had this feeling quite a bit.

After the initial metaphoric messing of my pants, I would try to find an inconspicuous seat and somehow direct all of this discrete dissection away from me. Rather than melting into a pool of self-pity, more often than not I would find my temperature rising a bit.

“What on earth is wrong with these people? Why are they staring at me?”

And then the worst part:

“Why are they upset with me? What do they think I’ve done?”

sarcastic-1329829If you were like me back then, it was much easier to quickly turn the situation from what I may or may not have done to what they may or may not have done.

Hah.

Take that.

I could judge with the best of them.

Like I said, before I was this mature mountain.

The reality was, and is, that very seldom is anyone taking the time to exert energy on thinking about things I may or may not have done.

They are running as hard as they can, trying to keep up with all the things they need to do, and just hoping for a quiet moment to zone out.

so-tired-1440121-1280x960Hence, what I interpret as staring, most often, is just someone asleep with their eyes open. It was an unfortunate coincidence that I happened to be in the path of their blank stare.

But the damage of perception has been done.

I have convinced myself that they have judged me.

And I judge them right back.

I guess there are three scenarios that could make up the truth of a situation where we feel we are being judged:

check2  They are indeed judging us.

check2  They aren’t judging us, but we are hurt and offended when we think they are. We wonder what may be wrong with us.

check2  We presume that they are judging us when in most cases they aren’t even thinking about us. We become defensive because our presumption comes from our own judgment of ourselves. We fail to recognize that the real judgment originates in our own heart and not someone else’s.

I wonder if the last one is where we find ourselves worrying the most.

You know exactly what I’m talking about. Think back to when you were a kid; you have just sneaked into the kitchen and taken the cookie you knew you weren’t supposed to take.

And you ate the whole thing.

Here’s what happens when your mom calls your name:

check3  You immediately look down and guiltily brush any remaining crumbs off your shirt.

check3  You hesitate before getting up and answering her.

check3  You quickly tell yourself that you deserved that cookie, that it was only one cookie, and that you were hungry anyway. You commit to eating all your vegetables at dinner without being asked.

check3  When she calls again, your emotions grasp the perception of overbearing anger and disappointment in her voice; your brain fails to hear that there is neither anger nor disappointment.

check3  You kick the wall and punch the door and head down the hall to see what she wants, little hands in fists in your pockets.

check3  You completely miss the mystification on your mother’s face when she only wanted to tell you what a great job you had done on your chores. She wonders what has happened to make you so miserable.

Yep, we’ve all been there.

When we break a rule, it’s so much easier to blame the one who made the rule than to admit that we may be in the wrong.

After a while, we lose the ability to logically see how we are the major source of our own discomfort.

So we choose to be offended that we are being judged and make efforts to distance ourselves from all those “judgey” and self-righteous people.

The truth is that we can’t do much about whether or not someone else is judging us. That’s their choice.

But we have complete control over our own feelings of being judged, of judging others, and most importantly of honestly judging ourselves.

Whether or not I, Grego the Magnificent, am uncomfortable in my own skin regarding being bald, or a little misshapen, or bipolar, or having spent time in the nut house, or admitting my same-sex attraction, or the crazy OCD that screams in my head, or the mean things that have slipped past my lips – it’s pretty much my own problem.

Not theirs.

balance-1172800-1279x867So rather than spending time on trying in vain to make it anyone else’s but mine, I need to just take my problem to the One Judge who is always fair, and just, and most importantly merciful.

After that, it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

Because inside we come to understand that we aren’t so worried about being judged by others; we are more concerned about just doing a little bit better ourselves.

 

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