We only judge others for what we judge ourselves.
I was first told these words in college. A professor quoted it like it was common knowledge, and yet it hit me like a ton of bricks. I tossed that quote around in my brain to see if it was actually applicable.
At that particular moment in my life, there were two people getting under my skin. One was in a different class of mine and the other attended my church. Just being in their presence would make my skin crawl. They were like nails on a chalkboard.
I paused and thought of these two people, one male and one female. They actually had a lot in common. They had similar physical builds and their personalities were not too different. What did this tell me about myself?
First of all, they were both loud, boisterous and sought attention.
Ouch. Way to look at myself in the mirror. I had spent many years being told I was too much, too loud, too passionate, too excited, too blunt. Too too too too too all the things. I was regularly being told I should “tone it down” in some area of my life or another. And here were these two people, loud and proud for the whole world to see.
Secondly, they were both overweight. This sentence right here is the sole reason I have yet to write this blog post. I feared people judging me for judging them. I feared potential back lash from my honesty. But when I try to rewrite this and find some other way to describe the second trait, it just sounds like words stumbling all over each other.
The reality of the situation was that I had been deeply insecure about my weight since elementary school. I was the largest kid in my class from third through sixth grade. I had insults thrown at me in middle school centered around my weight. And lucky for me, puberty took care of a lot of the weight loss. But it still left me a size 10/12 through high school when all my friends toggled between 0 and 00.
I felt so insecure about my body that I literally told myself the most ridiculous stories in my head about why everything I wanted that I couldn’t have was because of my weight. I blamed the lack of a boyfriend, a D on a biology test, certain people not liking me and so much more on my physical appearance. In retrospect, obviously none if it had absolutely anything to do with the size jeans I owned, but my adolescent brain wasn’t mature enough to see that truth.
So sitting there at 20 years old, judging this girl who sat across the room from me in my communications class, I realized my frustration had nothing to do with her, and everything to do with me. She was mirroring back at me my deepest insecurities.
It was a heavy dose of humble pie.
To this day I am so grateful for those lessons. I wish I could say I have never judged another human since, but we both know that would be straight up lying. At least now I run it through a filter of compassion. I ask myself “what does it say about me that I would look down on him/her?”
In reality, this is probably why in my writing, you will find a trend of the word grace appearing over and over and over again. The more grace we give ourselves, the more compassion we can share with others. The more we acknowledge our own insecurities and find a way to love ourselves through them, or even because of them, the easier it becomes to love others’ imperfections.
After all, we only judge others for what we judge ourselves.
Grace and peace my friends,
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