Sunday, April 11, 2010

Judging.

Someone wrote me a love letter, and I read it today. It was extremely flattering and had me blushing like crazy behind my computer. It was beautiful, and meant a lot coming from the person who wrote it. Thank you so very much!

I saw and read this letter minutes after I finished a conversation that had my blood boiling. That conversation was also about me (sort of) but not nearly as nice!

The Husband I have friends who just had baby. Long story short, we've helped them in every way we could in preparation for the baby.

Apparently, they have been angry at us for a little while (maybe a week or two) because they think we judge them. I won't go into the details of their private life, but the truth is: yes. Yes, we have judged a few decisions they have made. Personally, I have kept my mouth shut on certain things and on others, I responded as delicately as possible. There's no need to debate over things with a new mother.

The fact is, that even though I do judge some things - I know full well that it is not my life. It is not my family. It is not my baby. It is not up to me.

So yes, they have made several decisions that I would not have made. One that I cringed at. Not because I think they are bad parents, or bad people - otherwise I wouldn't be friends with them.

And I understand it's upsetting to have someone judge something you do. I don't like to be judged. But if you are confident in your choices, then it shouldn't matter what I think about them. Because it doesn't. Like I said, it's none of my business. All it is, is a disagreement on how we would do things.

I know, I went on and on about SAHM's and being judged and here I am now - judging. I think partly, it's human nature (I hope - I'm not a total bitch am I?!) but also - what is so wrong with gently disagreeing with someone?!

What gets me, about these friends being upset - is not that they are upset but that they didn't tell us. They festered on it. And I usually take great care to say things as gently as possible. My husband is blunt. I am not. And in this case I was extraordinarily sensitive to the fact that she just had a baby and that the wrong words would come across as hurtful, even if they weren't meant to be. I'm not totally callous and heartless!

Once upon a time - I didn't judge anyone. I just didn't. I could care less what other people were doing. The older I get, the more judgmental I get. I don't know why.

I think it was myspace debate groups. And, I just don't like tip-toeing around people anymore.

Like, I don't understand why people who have children with high functioning autism or ADD will put their kids on a million drugs, or invest the time and effort into behavioral therapy but refuse to look at altering their child's diet. Now, I know. I've never been there. I've never had to live daily life with a child with special needs. I've never had the phone calls from school. But there's proof that a diet modification can alleviate (not cure!) symptoms in many of these kids. So why do people refuse to try it? Why, why, why?

See? Judgmental.

And I've done my share of things to be judged about. I've done some stupid things.

But again, does it really matter what I think? Not at all. I may think certain things, I may judge certain things - but I know at the end of the day, people are just doing what they can to get by. Life ain't always easy and I can't judge anyone for trying - for doing what they think is best (regardless of what I think is best).


So, I don't know. What are your thoughts on 'judging' and is it really even that as much as disagreeing? I have no idea.






PS  - I just found this quote on another blog and it feels quite fitting:


“A conversation is interesting to me when people are being genuine, when they’re more concerned with sharing difficult truths than with showing off… we’re all in the same boat. mysterious flesh-and-blood creatures, radiant and broken – and of course the boat is sinking, but there’s still time to share a story or two as the night comes on.” ~ Sy Safransky. The Sun Magazine




Edit: Ok, this was on my mind all last night and I woke up with it on my mind. As far as my friends that I used as the example, things are getting worked out. But I had planned on writing a post like this even before all that. I was going to add a ton of edits to this this morning - I was going to save this as a draft and come back to it later when it was less personal. I was going to make all sorts of changes and explain it better. But I'm going to leave it, because as imperfect as this post is - it's what was on my mind. I'm going to try not to over-explain myself like usual (but for more info read the comments!) :D
Anyway, before all this my original post was going to be about how I've gotten more judgmental as I've gotten older. I know I have. I don't know why. But the thing is, I rarely judge people. I judge (or have opinions on!!) actions. And unless the action goes against my idea of morals (like, I don't know, rape or something) or there are many, many actions that in turn become who that person is - then it doesn't matter.  Like breastfeeding, birthing, abortion, nutrition, spanking etc . . . etc . . . yes - I have strong opinions on all of those things. Yes I may raise my eyebrows or feel a certain way regarding some of those actions. But that doesn't mean that I judge the whole person based on that action. Does that make sense? And (like mentioned in the comments) is that judgmental at all? Or just difference of opinion?
I'm going to stop over-explaining myself now. I feel like I need to a lot, because apparently people take the things I say in a different way then I mean them on a fairly regular basis. So either people around me are too sensitive, or I suck at expressing myself. Maybe both.

12 comments:

Kelly said...

Personally, I think everyone judges. It's human nature. How you handle those judgements is a whole other story.

As for the ADD thing..it got me thinking. I mean, I completely agree with you. However, how do you know those inviduals haven't TRIED diet changes? We're always so quick to judge a book by it's cover...yet we don't know what goes on in their daily lives. We assume they haven't made other efforts because we don't physically see those efforts. But we don't know what's going on behind closed doors, do we???

I know people make assumptions about my parenting skills. I homeschool my 9 year old and people automatically think I don't "socialize" him. (whatever THAT means). But, they don't see the activities we are involved in, the neighborhood friends he has, etc....

Judgements are a fact of life. But assuming is wrong.

gardenofsimple said...

Well, there's one individual in particular I do know hasn't tried anything ;D But in general, you're right I don't know.
It's the same as being judged grocery shopping. I may stock up on sales at one store (cereal and chips) and that's all the cashier or who ever sees me buy, but they don't know that I grow food, that I do the bulk of my food shopping at the market. I totally get there is more than meets the eye to a lot of things.
Which is why - *honestly* while I may disagree/judge a certain aspect or part of someones life - I don't hold those choices against them. I can't. It's not my life. And unless it's something like neglect/abuse etc . . then aside from the thought passing through my head - it's none of my business.
But that doesn't stop the thought from coming into my head, you know?

gardenofsimple said...

oh, and the add/autism thing was kind of set off by real life people and the HBO special they've been running. I haven't seen the whole thing, but there's one family with 3 autistic boys (I can't even imagine) and it showed her grocery shopping - tons of processed foods, soda etc . . . Now, she had 5 kids - 3 of which were varying degrees of autistic. She's a mom trying to get by, not super martha. I understand it the need for quick foods. But I still couldn't help but cringe.

Kelly said...

I totally get what you meant by the post. That, yes, you do judge. If you're going to be perfectly honest, you had to admit it. That doesn't mean you think you have a right to inject yourself into business that is not your own.

Totally "got" your post. Just wanted to throw my two cents in there about judgement too! LOL

Valkyrie said...

I think people are too quick to call opinions judgments. We all have thoughts and opinions about what other people do, and we don't always agree with the decisions they make. That is not the same as judging a person. Judgment comes when you condemn the person as less than or not as good as you, judgment is when you demean the person as a human being. Disagreeing with some of the choices your friends make, while respecting them as human beings does not make you judgmental.

I think we have gotten overly sensitive to criticism and think we are supposed to always approve, accept, and nod in agreement, or we are being "judgmental."

And yes, it gets worse as you get older, but I really think it's a patience thing. Time speeds up every year, and you just have less time to mess around and be all diplomatic and tactful. The older I get, the blunter I get. And the more impatient. But I would honestly say I am less judgmental now, even though I'm more apt to have an opinion.

It wasn't flattery. It was very sincere. :-)

Valkyrie said...

Tell me you are moderating comments and my comment didn't disappear into the cyber abyss.

Valkyrie said...

That's weird! Now thar it is! hahaahaa I'm just going to keep talking to myself on your blog.

gardenofsimple said...

When I responded one of my comments disappeared too! So I typed it all back out and then later I had two of the same comments! I don't know what's up!

Last night I kept thinking about things I wanted to edit about this post - to add, to over-explain. Then this morning I thought I might just delete it. But whatever, it's here.

I think you're right, maybe it's more opinion than judgment. I don't judge a PERSON until they've done multiple things to change my opinion of them (or judge them I guess). But just because I may judge one or two or however many actions doesn't mean I judge them as a person. But judging sounds so harsh, when really I guess it is more of a difference of opinion, maybe?

I don't know. And I think you're right too. It's patience. I have WAY less patience with some things than I used to. And I have less tolerance for excuses. No one wants to 'own' anything. Gah. I've been cranky!

Sparkless said...

Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion and judging other people is a natural thing. Words can hurt though even when they aren't intended to. I find myself becoming less judgemental as I get older mostly because I've been through more and know that I don't know everything. I was way more judgemental when I was younger. Things were black and white to me. Now everything has turned a muddy grey and I've learned to keep my opinions to myself as they can sometimes be misunderstood.

Sara said...

Lord help me if age makes me more blunt. EEK!

Crystal, you are an amazing person. Valk was on to something. I agree with her. :D

Opinions are okay. :D

Missy AKA Little Messy Missy said...

If you judge people you have no time to love them.- Mother Teresa

One of my favorite quotes.

Butterflie said...

I try not to judge either. I cringed the entire time I lived with someone who fed their one year old Cheetos, Chocolate milk, juicie juice, and anything quick by Gerber. Those were his meals. He'd get the yogurt things from Gerber, follow by part of a bun (usually thrown on the floor) then juice or chocolate milk. I suggested numerous things, water, Vit. D milk. And the response was "He doesn't like it" I say "Has he tried it?" "Well...no. But he doesn't like it." What?!?! I would make meals with veggies in them and ask if he could have some. She would say DON'T GIVE HIM VEGETABLES. So pretty much, he could have the noodles, but no vegetables or meat. And she wondered why he was always sick?

Whew. That said, I hear you 100% on the ADD thing. I grew up with it. I heard terms ADD, ADHD, ODD, OCD, and tons of others long before I was old enough to understand what they meant. I knew that my brother had them, but not why. I also knew that we weren't allowed to eat a lot of foods because of it. All of us kids were limited on a lot of things back in the 80's and early 90's because of the supposed link to ADHD. I don't remember all of them. A lot were anything with dyes in them.

I've watched first hand the debilitating aftermath of ADD/ADHD drugs for children. Both of my siblings were on different meds that stopped around 10. Both of them gained a huge amount of weight in a short amount of time once they ended said medication. It's scary. I know that if I were to face such a diagnosis in my child I would be much more prepared because of all those things. And I would do a lot of research on the drugs.

Now that my novel is done... I too, judge other parents. I wasn't AS bad before I had kids. But now. I'm terrible. So many things set me off into a tangent about kids that didn't before. I hope that things get better for you guys, Crystal! Sorry to hear you are having a hard time.