How to Not Feel Judged

This last weekend was my 20th high school reunion.  I hadn’t been back since our 10th.

Nothing like a High School Reunion to Flare Up the Insecurities

What started off months ago as excitement at seeing my high school friends, many with whom I had gone to school with since first grade, turned into fear as the date got closer.

I knew it was fear because I recognize that anytime I have a voice whispering a variation of  “You’re too different from them… they won’t accept you” that my own insecurity is starting to put up walls of protection.  And the only time I’d need protection is if some part of me thought I was in danger.

high school reunion

What we all wanted was just to feel “enough”… and I’m so blessed that we all gave that gift to each other! (Just a portion of our graduating class from 20 year ago!)

Which of course I wasn’t in danger.  But trying to convince the voice of a little insecure high school girl, who kept whispering that my marriage was too different, that my religious path looked too different, or that my lifestyle was too different, was like asking a baby to stop crying. Somewhat futile despite the best soothing.

You undoubtedly know the feeling. Sometimes it’s walking into a cocktail party and assuming that everyone else knows someone, except us.  Or attending a ConnectingCircle where you hope to make new friends, but guessing  ahead of time that you probably won’t have anything in common with anyone.  Or talking to someone and guessing that whatever we are (single, a mom, retired, a Christian, an immigrant) isn’t what the other person wishes we were, leaving the conversation feeling very much like an outsider.

Fear Divides Us

And I knew that I wasn’t the only one showing up at our reunion feeling the fear.  In fact, I guessed that there would be many who wouldn’t even come, where fear was undoubtedly at the root of their reason.  With statements like “Everyone else still acts like they did back in high school,” “I’m just too different,” “We don’t have anything in common anymore,” and “I didn’t even like them back then, I surely won’t like them now,” you can see that every excuse validates the voice of fear: “I’m too different.” And the unacknowledged fear beneath that statement is that we’ll be judged, or rejected in some way.

I often quote Rabbi Harold Kushner who says that our greatest human fear is the fear of rejection.  He makes a case that it is the fear of being rejected, or not being “enough,” that is at the root of every other fear we hold.

If that is true, and I think it is, then we know that our default lens is often to presume we’re being rejected, or somehow not measuring up.

If that’s just true in day-to-day life, then the stakes definitely go up at reunions. There aren’t many places in life where we “go back” to the same place and group of people.  That going back is like a mirror where we can see where we used to be, and where we are now. It’s impossible to not see all the other paths we could have taken, how our choices have played out; and to then compare our current life either to those who graduated with us, or against our own hopes of where we pictured ourselves someday being.  Much like a door frame where our parents measured our growth with pencil marks, this ritual of going back can leave us feeling measured, evaluated, and insecure for any part of life that isn’t “perfect.”

I can feel sensitive about being judged for moving away and leaving our town; and someone else can feel fearful that I’d think less of them for staying.  Someone can come and feel nervous about being too accomplished and successful; and someone else can come feeling bad about not having finished college.  The person who is always being judged for having the “perfect” life is feeling just as insecure as the person who feels the weight of a bankruptcy, weight gain, or divorce.

What fear does is divides.  Fear whispers that we’re not good enough.  Fear insists that there is a separation between you and me.  Fear focuses on the .1% that may appear different, rather than the 99.9% that is the same.  Fear forgets that we’re connected. Fear builds up walls that tempt us to think someone is inside, and someone is outside.

How To Not Feel Judged…

Of course to bring our walls down means we have to feel safe.  And while most us think we need them to act loving before we can feel safe, I found it much more empowering to create my own safety.

Here are the two things I did differently this time, that resulted in me not feeling judged:

1)    First, I changed my story.

When I listen to most of us articulate our fears about what others might think of us, we say: “I feel judged for x.”

Even if we don’t use that word, we express those sentiments. You’ll know you feel judged by the fact that you start defending yourself.  Only someone who feels attacked has to defend.  In defense mode we have two options: devalue them and/or inflate us.  We tell ourselves whatever we have to to try to feel better about our lives.

The problem with feeling judged is that it leaves us as the victims, implying there is someone doing something to us.  The story of judgment always has a perpetrator that we must defend ourselves against.

This time, every time I was tempted to take on the story of “feeling judged” I replaced it with “I feel insecure about x.” I owned it!

That shift in language changed everything!  Now, instead of being a victim that needs to defend myself against someone doing something (that most often is only imagined!); I am simply recognizing that I feel the fear.  Now, I am in charge and I can ask myself, “Why do I feel insecure about this part of my life? Is it because I’m not happy with this myself? Or, am I not at peace with it in some way? What information can I take from this that will help me live my life more in alignment? Is there anything I can do to make myself feel better right now? How do I want to respond?”

Owning it as insecurity, rather than projecting judgment on others kept me loving to them with the clarity that they aren’t the problem and empowered me with the information and empathy I needed to look inside and grow myself.

2)    The second thing I did was create a mantra that I said though out the whole weekend:

“Focus on loving people, not trying to impress them.”

So this time… I listened with empathy to that little high school girl inside of me that just wanted to be accepted.  I heard it, validated the hunger, assured that little girl that others felt the same way, and decided that my own odds of feeling accepted would increase if I came in ready to give that to others.

I decided that I’d rather leave people feeling good about themselves rather than worrying about them feeling good about me.  That means I chose to affirm them, share the very imperfect parts of my life with honesty, and listen deeply– all things that can’t be done with a heart of fear.  Walls don’t lend themselves to connection and love.

And truthfully, people like people who like them so odds increase that if they feel good–as opposed to insecure– talking to you, they’ll like you! Acceptance has a way of breeding acceptance.  Which is what we all want anyway… so why not just get straight to the point?  :)

You probably don’t have a high school reunion coming up… but I’ll leave you with this prayer:

May you know your worth, feeling deeply how valuable you are.  May you remember that while your default mode is to feel rejected, that you can choose acceptance instead.  May you continue to grow in accepting yourself and giving that gift to all whom you meet.  We are all accepted, all good enough, all created with love….we just forget sometimes. Let’s remember…


Posted in Group Friendships, Jealousy & Competition, Judging Others, Life Stages, Personal Growth/Spirituality, Popularity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

20 Friendship Moments I CRAVE

I was talking on the phone last month to Melody Biringer who was telling me all about her latest vision:  Urban Campout- (think awesomeness combining life coaching + marshmallows + small groups of new friends + learning) and how much fun she’s having leading her peeps (she’s also the founder of the Crave Company and Urban Campfire–with events coming up in D.C., Denver, and Seattle!) to put their vision (#100ThingsICRAVE) onto Pinterest.   She said, “You’ll love it!  Just start with 20 photos of things or people you crave!”

Ms. Melody Biringer who is inspiring us all to know what we crave!  #100ThingsICRAVE

Ms. Melody Biringer who is inspiring us all to know what we crave! #100ThingsICRAVE

Those of you who follow my blog will know that I am wee-bit word heavy (Massive understatement! Ha! This girl cannot seem to write 300-5oo word posts no matter how many professionals tell her that’s advised!) so I thought it would be a fun change of pace to post more photos this time around! I took her up on her challenge.

And I loved it!

Which should come as no surprise since we know the power of vision boards: our brains actually start looking for resources to support what we see and say is important.

For me, I decided to turn my CRAVE board into things I have and love and want to keep making time for: friendship moments!

Friendship: 20 Friendship Moments that I CRAVE

20.  Introducing my friends to each other!  This photo is from my birthday party where I invited friends from different parts of my life to meet each other!

That's me in the white tank--the little black lines read surrounded by some of the women I'm lucky enough to call friends.  Call me a grateful birthday girl!

19.  Masterminding with other amazing business women where we support each other as CEO’s of our dreams.



18. Meeting up for get-away weekends with my long-distance girlfriends once a year!



17. Rallying for causes together! (This is a group of us “rising up against violence to women” for V-Day a year ago.)



16. Meeting women at my book signings and speaking events! I’m convinced that because I attract women who value their friendships that my events are filled with some of the best women in the world.Chicago group


15.  Traveling with new friends! I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about group travel, but now I am a-believer in every way!


14. Playing dress-up! We’re never too old for pretend play.  :)  It reminds me of high-school where we used to get ready for banquets and dances together!

women playing dress up in saris

13.  Having friends visit me in San Francisco!



12. Getting emails from members showing me the friends they’ve made through our website!!!

4 new friends

11.  Going on retreats together!  Really, any retreat, but this one was spirituality + painting.  Oooh!

Shasta Nelson, Christine Arylo


10. Acting silly together. (In case it’s not obvious, we’re imitating the cow. Ha!) And this picture is with a friend who I talk to on the phone every week but only see about every 2 years– so even sweeter!



9. Enjoying the friendship of sisters.  We may not have always gotten along, and if we weren’t related we probably wouldn’t have chosen each other as friends– but I thank God for these two women every day that I have them as sisters, and as friends.

Shastas sisters


8.  Double-Dating!!!  I’m always talking about how much I love women, but I love me the guys, too!  Let’s meet for dinner!



7. Having history.  These women are some of my longest-friendships here in SF.  We may not go back decades, but consistency over 7-9 years ain’t nothing to sneeze at!



6.  Meeting new friends!  I know so many people that I have to be super careful to prioritize my time to the women I know best, but I still love meeting new friends– I’m always thrilled with seeing how beautiful and bright others are shining their lights!


5.  Going on walks!!!!!  Love, love, love talking and walking… good for the heart and the body!

walking by Golden Gate Bridge


4. Having friends in other cities. has helped me meet women in all the cities where I travel– now every time I go to NYC on business, I have friends to meet for dinner!


3. Sharing hearts, dreams, and desires.  If we’re going to spend time together, let’s go all the way!  I love the deep and honest sharing… add in journaling and painting on windows and you’ve got fabulousness.


2.  Sneaking my hubby into my BFF spot.  I am a big fan of having girlfriends, not just family, but I’ve never said your rockstar hubby can’t also be your BFF.  :)


1.   Eating around the dining room table! There is absolutely nothing I love more than gathering friends around a table… something about it seems almost rare and sacred.  Nothing beats eating like family.

friends eating dinner around the table


Let’s be friends on Pinterest.  I’ve posted these all to Pinterest.  Are you on there?  Have a friendship board you want to share with us? We’d love to see it!

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The Power of Women in Circle: Ideas for Women’s Groups

I have sat in 5 circles of women and 2 circles of couples in the last 7 days, with two more coming up this weekend, which is a bit more connection than I typically allow for in my schedule, but my heart is feeling such gratitude and fullness today.

I want to share a few of them with you because I want you to see how they got started, how different they each are, and how meaningful they are in so many different forms.  So many of you crave having more Circles in your life, and I want you to see what is possible for you to create.

Being in Circle Invites Support

Last Friday I was sitting around a table at a restaurant because I said yes to an invitation from someone I didn’t know who was hosting what she was calling 12@12, 12 women she admires coming together for lunch at 12 pm for us to meet each other and find ways to support one another. She had made the reservations and initiated the gathering, and we all reaped the benefits.

Business mastermind womens group

I loved sitting with a dozen women for lunch where we each just showed up to network, connect, and support.

When we went around the circle to introduce ourselves we had to answer three questions: What do we do? What is our super power? And, what is one challenge we’re facing right now? Just from hearing those shares, one woman has reached out with an offer to introduce me to a friend of hers who is in charge of finding speakers for an event, I offered to make a donation from GirlFriendCircles to the non-profit that one of them is starting in order to bring art to children. Being in Circle invites support.  When women hear how they can help each other– they do.

Being in Circle Invites Accountability

On Monday, I hosted six friends in my home for an afternoon of journaling and sharing, ending with dinner and celebrating.

womens circle for journaling and reflecting

Setting aside an afternoon to journal and share about what we had experienced and accomplished in the last few months, and to look ahead with anticipation and joy at what is coming…

This group came about because the day before New Years I had invited a handful of friends (who didn’t know each other at all before that date) to come launch 2014 by setting aside the time to reflect, honor, and set intention in the midst of community.  As everyone was hugging each other good-bye that evening, everyone kept saying, “Can we do this again? Sooner than next New Years?” So I scheduled this one to celebrate the end of the first quarter.

It’s one thing to pause and make sure I’m honoring my growth in recent months and getting clear about what I want the upcoming months to hold, and it’s quite another hearing the honesty of others and getting clearer as I hear myself talk out loud. It was easy planning– invitations were sent, everyone brought something to share for our dinner, and I just had some journaling prompts (such as “What am I tolerating in my life? and What is bringing me the most energy these days?”) to give us some loose structure. Being in Circle holds the space to do things like journaling and reflecting that we value but don’t always do on our own.

Being in Circle Invites Brainstorming, Feedback, and Ideas

Yesterday morning, I participated in two beautiful Circles that were both virtual. One was my entrepreneur mastermind circle (apply at Savor the Success to be matched into one!) where 4 of us spend an hour every other week on video chat getting the collective wisdom and expertise to help us grow our business.  I am hoping to partner with a few brands that might sponsor GirlFriendCircles and these women spent 10 minutes giving me every idea they had for what that can look like as I take my next step on a road that is unfamiliar to me.  Being in Circle with these women makes me a better business owner.

The other Circle happens early every Thursday morning via the phone.  There are seven of us who affectionately call ourselves The Rebel Queens. Queens because we are all thought-leaders, speakers, and authors who feel called to bring our messages of love into this world, each in our own domain and expertise; Rebels because that means we’ll speak against norms, ruffle some feathers, and invite people out of their comfort zones. We know the power of having space where we can be vulnerable, witnessed, and supported by other women who are big, bright, and imperfect.  We’ll each have days and areas where we will feel insecure; and days and areas where we can celebrate the success of each other. We each take time to share our hearts and receive the prayers and reflections of the group. This group was started by a couple of them who were friends deciding they wanted to have more structure to their support and connection, so they decided to start a small group and invited a few others in who they felt would be resonate. Being in Circle with these women helps me practice shining my best self in confidence that my shining gives permission to others to do the same.

Being in Circle Invites Fun

This Sunday is my 10/10 retreat day!  There are ten of us women who meet on the last Monday of every month. I started this group 3 years ago with two other friends.  We knew the power of networking but didn’t like the idea of mingling at networking events as much as we liked the idea of a group of women committing to supporting each other regularly.  So we compiled a list of names of women we knew, or knew of, and sent them an invitation asking if they wanted to commit to attending at least 8 of the 10 monthly meetings that were scheduled.

Womens Retreat Day mastermind group

While the bulk of our time together is after work hours and about work– several times a year our group spends the day having fun together!

Three years ago we planned one day-long retreat in addition to the evening meetings.  It was so much fun that last year we decided to up it to twice a year.  And, this year, you won’t be surprised that we scheduled three of them!  We always keep them easy, meeting at someone’s home, adding some yoga or a walk, good food, and lots of laughter and sharing that bonds us way beyond a typical mastermind monthly session.


Being in Circle Invites Intimacy

Many of the groups I described above started as Left-Side Circles, meaning that I was either meeting with complete strangers where we became Contact Friends, or committing to the group for the purpose of bonding over what we had in common (i.e. entrepreneurs, speakers) which made us Common Friends.  The groups where we have the most consistency (either by meeting weekly, or because we’ve been meeting for several years) now are also growing in intimacy.  May of the women I met in these Circles have been invited into my other Circles as we continue to grow our friendships in multiple ways.

best friends, girls groups

The three of us are Committed Friends, showing up with as much vulnerability as possible!

But one of my Circles started with my closest friends.  Three of us made a commitment to get 2 dates on the calendar every month, if we can.  We schedule a few months out and plan life around those sacred Circles where three of us, who have now known each other for nearly 7 years, come together and instantly go deep. We have the power of history; the memory of where we’ve each been, what we’ve each survived and struggled with; and have seen glimpses of who we’re each becoming that we can continue to hold up in front of each other.

Choose Your Circles

Being in these Circles never “just happens.”  Your calendar will never just automatically pop up an alert that says “Women’s Circle” without you putting it there.  Intention is necessary. Admitting what you want is important. Extending invitations is part of creating a Circle.

If you crave being in Circle with other women, I hope one of these stories inspires you… I wish upon you the opportunity to receive the power of the Circle.

p.s. TIP: If you’re a member of, our web site to meet new friends, then be sure to post a ClassifedCircle with the type of Circle you want to belong to and see who else wants to join you!  :)

Posted in Career & Work, Circles of Connectedness, Consistency, Group Friendships, Practical Ideas | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

5 Tips To Help Moms Move Toward More Friendships

Oh to all my sweet and loving and amazing momma’s out there, I want to write a little note of encouragement to you.

Mommy Guilt & Friendship

When you come up to me after I finish speaking, you often look at me with this panic in your eyes that says, “I don’t think I can make time for my friendships even though I know it’s important to do.”

picture of two friends and bows before fros

Two of my closest friends celebrating the upcoming arrival of the newest baby to our group!

And the guilt that flashes across your face is almost more than I can bear.  I hate guilt. (I should clarify that, as I actually love guilt when it informs us that we are doing something out of alignment; but I am not a fan of the vast amounts of false-guilt that we’re drowning ourselves in.)

So this is my deal with you:  If you feel a twinge of desire for more connection in your life then you want to listen to that and I’m going to say 5 things to you that I hope will help you move into alignment with what you want.  If, on the other hand, your voice of wisdom says that you are healthy and happy without anymore connection, then I give you permission to feel no more guilt that you “should” be doing anything more on the friend-front.  Seriously.  Either say it’s important and do something about it, or say it’s not important and let it go.  But no more guilt, okay?  :)

5 Tips To Help Moms Move Toward More Friendships

  1. Repeat after me: Having kids is not an excuse to not make time for friends.  I’m thrilled to have step-kids, but I know that doesn’t qualify me as having earned the stripes in the mom-department to say this without incurring wrath, but I have to speak the truth: Having kids is not an excuse to not have friends; it’s the reason why you do need friends! Making time for friends actually protects your body from stress!  Friendships don’t prevent stressful things from happening, but science shows us how they limit the damage that stress has on our bodies, acting as a buffer so we don’t feel the impact as much.  And kids, for all their joys, are also a lot of stress.  Moms, almost more than anyone else, need friendships in their lives that give them the benefits of healthy relationships (i.e. happiness, longevity, stress reduction, increased immunity) without the added stress of those relationships being dependent upon them in the way that spouses,  children, and employees are.  Friends are some of the few relationships in your life that you don’t have to schedule doctors appointments for, figure out what to feed them, or lay awake at night worrying about.
  2. Model the friendships you hope for your kids to experience.  Several years ago I used to lead workshops where one of the assignments was to write down all the memories you had of your mom’s friendships: who did she hang out with? did she go on weekends away with friends? do you remember her talking on the phone and laughing? did she go out for girls nights? did she invite all her girlfriends over to the house?
    onesie that says I hope my friends love me as much as my moms friends love her

    We all decorated onesie’s for the upcoming arrival– this is one that I made. I hope she sees pictures of herself in it one day!

    And do you know, that about 70% of the grown women in my workshops ended up saying they didn’t really have memories of their moms engaging in meaningful friendships?  70%!?!?!  I’m going to give those moms the benefit of the doubt and assume that more than 30% of them had good friends, but what I wish I could go back and say to the other 70% is this, “Maybe you had good friends but you thought you were doing your kids a favor by only hanging out with your friends while they were in school or at times where they didn’t notice? But unfortunately that means that they have no memories of you making time for friends… for their sake I wish they got to see you prioritizing friendships in your life.” Moms, if you feel guilty going out with friends on the weekends or evenings, I’d like to remind you that what you’re doing is helping them know that someday they don’t need to feel guilty when they need more connection, too!

  3. Think through the childcare options and benefits.  Every situation is different and I know this area of childcare is a big deal and not easily solved.  But I love the approach my friend Daneen has taken to this subject by seeing a weekly girls night out as special Daddy & Daughter night where they get to create their own rituals and memories together.  Many of my mom friends assure me that the more regularly they go out, the easier it is on everyone– spouse and kids, included.  If it’s a rare event then Daddy might feel more like he’s the “baby-sitter,” but if it’s “every Tuesday night” then everyone gets into the rhythm of the routine.  Other friends of mine divvy up the week, making sure that each parent has one night off a week that they are required to take– even if they’re just sitting in a cafe reading or working out at the gym.  Two of my friends are single moms– one makes a deal with her mom to do her bookkeeping in exchange for one night out a week; the other sets aside money for a baby-sitter and calls it her investment in sanity.  I won’t pretend that I can fix this for you, but I do invite you to prioritize getting out and then figuring out how to make it happen.
  4. Talk to your children in ways they understand it.  I adore all you parents who talk to your kids about their friendships, and I hope that you’ll also talk about yours with them!  When you’re going out in the evening you can say, “Just like you got to play with your friends at preschool today, Mommy needs to
    "I'd rather hang out with my mom's girlfriends!" was made by Karen and includes a picture of our group of friends!  We hope this little baby feels loved!

    “I’d rather hang out with my mom’s girlfriends!” was made by Karen and includes a picture of our group of friends! We hope this little baby feels loved!

    go play with her friends now!”  When you’re going away for a weekend you can say, “Oh I am going to miss you so much, and I am also super excited to have a slumber party with my friends.  I can’t wait to tell my friends about how good you did in dance class this week!”  When talking about your day at the dinner table you can say, “I talked to Debra, one of my best friends today, and she was so excited to hear about your science project.”  Let your kids see you doing friendship in ways that light you up, where they feel thought of and loved in those relationships, and where they have no doubt that you have a circle of people who love you outside the house, too!

  5. Foster friendships with non-moms, too!  Frequently, women feel that they can only be friends with other moms “who understand.”  But a few weeks ago, Daneen (while her hubby and daughter were enjoying their weekly evening together alone) said to us, “I love hanging out here with my non-mom friends– it’s such a joy to talk about things other than kids and it’s actually a bit of relief to not feel like we’re judging each other, competing, or comparing our parenting styles and kids.”  (Making friends with non-moms might also mean easier scheduling!)  Research bears out that we bond with all kinds of women who don’t have the big things in common with us that we think they need to! It’s not either/or, but both/and!

The vast majority of my closest friends have kids of all ages.  And I applaud them regularly for how impressive they are in keeping up their friendships with me and other women in their lives.  They inspire me!

Daneen is one of them, for sure.  I think she only took a month off after having a baby before getting back into weekly girls nights out of the house and trusting that her husband could figure out how to put her baby to sleep with a bottle of breast milk when mommy wasn’t there to nurse her to bed. Did it feel weird or hard, at first? I’m sure it did!

I also think of Sher who spends at least an hour on the phone with me every week with three kids running around her.  There’s always something go on and someone who wants her attention. But as much as she can, she simply says, “I’m on the phone with Shasta, I’ll be with you when I get off” or “Hang on one minute Shasta, I’ll be right back.” And we keep on talking.

And then I have to give mad props to my “SoCal Girls Group” who gets together every year for a weekend away despite two of them birthing two kids each in the last few years, one of them mothering three kids, and the other who showed up for girls weekend one year the day after she found out she lost her pregnancy, and the following year showed up only a month before she was due.  I keep thinking they all have valid excuses for missing a year– but not a one of them has yet.

My friends wow me with their commitment to their friendships so I know it’s possible if it matters to you.  Remember our deal?  Be inspired by these stories if you feel the desire for more relationships in your life; but if you don’t, then release any guilt.

You are a good mom, you’re kids are lucky to have you. xoxo

Posted in Moms, Practical Ideas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Log In My Own Eye (a.k.a. I’m Still Judgmental!)

Last week I was on one of those long, glorious walks with my husband along the Bay; the sun was shining, and our conversation was rich as we were both sharing what we were each choosing to celebrate about the day of work we had just completed.  And then…

My Thoughts of Judgment

And then, this guy walking his iguana on a leash passed us, all the while talking to his pet the way new parents talk to babies.  As heads turned and people pointed, I purposely

iguana on a leash

Just because I’m not the type to take an Iguana on a walk doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with it, right? :)

looked out over the ocean; ignoring the guy who I was sure was only out there for the attention that pet-walking an iguana can do for you. I internally rolled my eyes and didn’t miss a beat of the conversation with my hubby.

A little further along and I saw a couple of guys just proudly standing by their cars.  It struck me that they were only there to show off their cars… like they somehow felt cooler just watching people look-over their cars with admiration.  Instantaneously, I felt both judgment that anyone would care that much about a car, and pity that their identity was that tied into a possession.  I’m pretty sure I looked back out at the ocean. I was not going to be one more gawker who gave them their jollies.

Neither interaction was really in my consciousness; they were just a few of the many thoughts we all see flow down our streams of thought.  Had it only been one of them I doubt I would have even realized I had thought it. But choosing to look away from humanity twice got my attention.

I immediately began to process with Greg.  “Wow.  We’re out here in the most beautiful weather, getting fresh air and exercise, and I find myself judging people as we walk by them!  What’s that about?”  I was determined to observe it in myself and bring it into my consciousness.

Picture of Trikkes, 3-wheel bicyce things

Who would ride these things (aka Trikkes), I wondered? (Truthfully? Now I want to try! Ha!)

Then a couple came toward us on what I now think were things called Trikkes.  (I just learned that by googling “weird stand-up bike thing.”)  They were standing on 3-wheel machines that they were guiding to go back and forth, think like a slalom course, by leaning one way and then the other.  They definitely had to take up a lot of sidewalk to navigate through the  crowds. You, unfortunately, now know where this is going.  Why don’t they just ride bikes? Only people who want attention would use those!

Understanding Why I Judge

And while I felt an impulse of guilt that I was judging again. The value of having so many examples all at once helped me see the pattern: I was judging people who I deemed as wanting attention.

We then spent the next hour talking about 1) Why I had even assumed that those people had attention as their motive? 2) Whether that was even a bad thing if that was, in fact, their only motive! 3) That don’t all humans crave attention, so why would I hold that against someone? 4) Where in my life I seek attention and whether I must think that my way of seeking attention is somehow superior to their method? 5) And that, if that was their call for attention, why was I so set against giving it to them?

It wasn’t lost on me, at all, that I love attention.  That was a little painful to admit because I apparently hold some strong beliefs that we’re not supposed to seek it, that we must pretend it doesn’t matter to us, and that we can’t admit we like it.  But I do.  I do like attention.  And my guess is that while we all want it from different people and perhaps in different ways, we all want to know we’re noticed for whatever is important to us.

My processing has gone on all week… I’ve been watching myself like a hawk as I interact with people and process their behaviors.  Why should someone wanting attention bother me?  And can I be more honest with what I see as the shadow-side of me, perhaps looking at where I want attention and why I think I need to act all “false-humble” about it?  I’ve been blown away with some of my thoughts.

My Judgment Says More About Me Than It Does About Them

What wows me is how easy it would have been to not notice this tendency in myself.   Or, to notice it, as I may have done before, but not really ever taken the time to really see why it bothers me and what that says about me.  Because it’s not really strangers on the road that can disrupt my peace; it’s what they symbolize to me that I’m reacting to.  And I’m reacting to them because there’s something in me that wants to react differently.

The Christian Scriptures have often-quoted verses in Matthew 7 that basically say: “Why worry about the speck in your friend’s eye, when you have a log in your own?”

I hate to think how long I’ve been living with judgment in this area…. assuming that there was something wrong with those people.  When really there was something far bigger in me.

Because the truth is, when I sit with it, as I have this week, I want to admire people who don’t look mainstream and who choose their own unique path in life.  That man with the iguana, taking pictures with kids and walking slow with his short-four-legged friend, probably brought more smiles and felt more joy that day than I did!  And those guys with cars?  Good for them for taking pride in something. And I should just be thrilled that they are hanging out together, being with their friends!  And now I’m way impressed with that couple who was willing to go to those lengths to not just exercise, but to be adventurous, fun, and daring.

I am choosing to consciously be fan of people who do things differently.

Now, as I go on my walk, I’m looking at people and whispering, “Good for you!  The world needs your spark! I love that you’re willing to express yourself!”

And I’m hoping that what I practice giving to others will benefit me too… for one day, I may need to give that same love to myself when I choose to do something different.

Who could have ever guessed that I actually had that much to learn about me from an iguna-walker, boys with muscle cars, and Trikke-riders? Ha!


Other posts on judgment:

The Judgment of Weight

Are We Competitors? Or Can We Be Friends?

How Annoying People Can Grow Me





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