LifeSTRUCK

The Truth About Judgment

Lately, I’ve experienced a lot of superficial judgment, especially while meeting new people. I felt so overwhelmed by these feelings a few weeks ago, that I had to vent it out via my Instagram account (yes, it was a bit of a rant, but we all need to rave sometimes). However, I’m really glad I did. When I asked how others deal with judgment, I quickly encountered words of wisdom shared by my followers and stories of similar experiences had amongst the community. For some it’s rooted in appearance, it’s an unfortunate matter of ageism, sexism and racism. Others have been assessed based solely on hearsay and gossip. Regardless of how you experience negative judgment, it’s imperative to recognize it and determine how to address it. Only then can you keep it in its place and learn how to positively deal with it.

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In my personal experience, I am usually scrutinized based on my appearance and disposition. Now before you get at me and start rolling your eyes, this is not my attempt to gain sympathy. I am very lucky overall, I have a wonderful life and I’m definitely not complaining. But judgment is something I find myself battling more frequently, as my social media presence and blog readership continue to grow. But regardless of whether I’ve got my blogger hat on or am working as part of my day job, unfortunately judgment can sometimes materialize and in the form of arrogance and smugness.

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Yes, I am petite, positive, blonde, bubbly, and generally enthusiastic about life. However, this does not mean that I am stupid or less worthy. It doesn’t mean I’m naive, or a doormat you can walk all over. Of course not! It’s completely ridiculous and sounds silly to even make the connection as I type it here. But in reality, this has been my experience. I can sense the condescending tone with which I am spoken to, I am given unsolicited guidance and advice, and pet names such as ‘sweetie’ and ‘cutie’ start to fly my way. I’m not angry about it, as this behaviour does not stem from a hateful place. But it’s a frustrating hurdle to overcome just the same.

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Why do we do this to one another? Why do we judge one another so distinctly when we’re only looking at the facade? Maybe it’s human nature to make instinctive decisions about our surroundings and those we encounter. Blame it on survival instinct. It’s innate and often unconscious. I suppose that on some level it unites us as we are all guilty of it. I’m no anthropologist, but I’m guessing these skills had more of a purpose back when we were still smashing things open with rocks and using boulders for protection. It was a matter of life or death, and therefore necessary to determine whether or not someone or something should be deemed as threatening. But now that we’re no longer cave dwellers, why do we let our instincts function as the ultimate evaluator? Why do we so easily jump to conclusions about other people?

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This isn’t a matter of caring what other people think; it’s a matter of truth. I am intelligent, educated and I work hard. I am driven and I am ambitious. But would you know all of that just by looking at me? Probably not. This is not a case of gloating or bragging, it’s a matter of acknowledging self-worth. Don’t assume appearance captures the whole person. We all have abilities and skills, we all have strengths and talents. What are yours? What’s your truth? Find it. You need it.

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So what is the best way to deal with judgment? How can it be turned into a positive? I think these questions are important to ask as really, it’s not going away. People will judge. But I think it’s safe to say that no one wants to live their lives surrounded by negativity, feeling as though they’re being sized up. One would think that in order to effectively deal with negative judgment, you have to stop it at the source. Put up your dukes and face it head on. Give them a taste of their own medicine. Send that snarky comment and sarcastic tone promptly back their way! Right? On the contrary, I believe that it starts and ends with you. Acknowledge that power. You have the capacity to choose whether or not you will foster negativity, or influence it. The negativity can end with you, and that is remarkably significant. No, you can’t determine how another person will treat you, or stop them from misinterpreting the truth, but you can decide how to react to it.

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When I am confronted with superficial judgment, I call upon this power. But I am human; sometimes it takes everything in me to combat these negative feelings in a positive way. I would be lying if I told you that I don’t care, that I easily ignore it, and that it doesn’t affect me. It takes work and it takes practice, but I’m working on it! It’s easy to feel defeated when someone isn’t taking you seriously, when they’ve already made their mind up about you, or when you’re not given a chance from the start. It’s an awful feeling to be judged by someone when they don’t know you as a person, when they don’t have all the facts. But I am learning that in that moment, all I can do is rely on truth.

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I’m learning to ask myself, what is truth? What is my truth and what do I know? I know that I have the power to change the climate, to choose positivity, and react accordingly. I know that I have the potential to do great things; I know that I am multifaceted and capable. My truth reminds me of my self-worth, of my power and capacity. All of a sudden that superficial judgment presents itself as just that, superficial. Surface level, one-dimensional and lacking all substance.

Rooting myself in the truth allows me to take a moment, step back and remember that this isn’t personal. Without knowing me, it can’t be. It’s an unfortunate innate reaction, it’s basic instinct. The judgment I’m experiencing is perfunctory and empty; I remind myself to see the situation for what it’s worth. Doing so allows me identify shallow thinking before it breaks me. I can put the judgment in its place in my mind: choose shallow thinking if you prefer, but without giving me a chance, it’s you who are putting yourself at a disadvantage. You are disarmed, and you’ll be blown away when you realize your error in judgment. I know my truth. Let’s choose to begin in a positive place, instead of a jealous, competitive or negative one. Whatever the reason, when negativity comes your way, see it an opportunity to push past first impressions and form a deeper relationship.

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They say ‘you are your own worst critic’ – and some days I think I could be the poster child for this. Although we are often hardest on ourselves, the ability to deal with negative judgment, regardless of the source, lives within you. It’s one thing to recognize how you are perceived by others; it is another to accept this evaluation without considering whether or not it is rooted in truth. Instead, know who you are and concern yourself with fostering self-love, the power is there. It’s totally cheesy, but finding your truth provides the ability to carry yourself confidently and rise about the judgment.

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I would love to hear your thoughts about judgment, what you have experienced and how you deal with it below. Thanks to my awesome Instagram followers and specifically those listed below for their supportive and thoughtful comments on the topic via my Instagram post:

find.me.in.fairytales, serxyrerxy, disastersofathirtysomething, laurakaminer, Sou2ma5, 88jlo88, jessa_bara, crystalartoutfitters, soapboxpoet, fulloflifegal, mycupoftweed, misty.sunday, sezen_smilee, cheesecakery_bakery, yrfindlay, robwhelanweddings and to Amanda-Marie, Katherine Wieser, and Amanda Gryzwacz for their comments on my Facebook Page.

Soon enough, we’ll find a magical way to float effortlessly above adversity, but until then, root yourself in your truth.

Anna

Wearing:
Dress by Lila Rose, found at Winners.
Urban Planet ribbon tie heels.
Fuschia belt from H&M.
Silver chain necklace from Bebe, Daniel Wellington Classic Petite Sterling Watch can be found here.
Vintage jacket and purse.

Disclosure: Photography by the amazing Ashlee of Red Lemon Art & Photography, taken in and around the Elm Cafe, a local business working to enrich our community. All opinions and comments are my own of course.

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12 Comments

  • Reply Chelsea June 3, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Wow, seriously this post completely touched my heart. I definitely feel judged A LOT especially with having a blog. I live in a small town in northern WI and trust me- NO one blogs, and definitely no one understands blogging for profit. Although sometimes I honestly think a lot of the judgement is in my head…it’s like, I FEAR the reactions. Blogging has made me so much more fearful, but also so much stronger by putting myself out there! Love ya, Anna!

    • Reply STRUCKBLOG June 8, 2017 at 9:39 am

      Wow I can relate to so much of what you said there Chelsea, I know it’s odd how blogging both opens you up, but makes you feel vulnerable at the same time. I guess that’s not surprising, since you’re talking about things not everyone would say a word about, let alone write about and blast all over the internet. I do the exact same thing, I’ve caught myself sliding down the slippery slope of becoming more critical of myself. Reflecting on this though makes me stop and check myself, and instead practice some self-love. I love me, this is what I think and feel, you may not agree, but I’m not thinking about those people. I’ll share it for those who will relate to it, and as a result, won’t feel alone. I sometimes fear reactions too, and I think that’s normal, but it’s never stopped me, and I know you’ve done the same and shared the real you. Love ya right back!

  • Reply Caylee May 25, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    Anna.
    Thank you for another beautiful post that really is Rooted in Honesty. I can relate to so many things in this post and have come to the same conclusion of paying more attention to My truth rather than the one others create for me. When judgement is thrust upon us I feel it is only natural, as you said to react. It’s almost like reprogramming ourselves so that we are able to breeze through hurtful judgement yet stand up for uncalled for mistreatment. It’s such a battle! You are a beautiful, inspiring, true and golden spirit. Thank you for sharing not only your thoughts but insecurities as well. I love your writing- each and every word. :)

    • Reply STRUCKBLOG June 8, 2017 at 9:30 am

      Aw Caylee! It means so much to me to hear this as it can be hard to open up and be real in such a public space, but connecting with wonderful and thoughtful people such as yourself is why I do it. It is something that I think we’ll always be working on, learning to tame that gut reaction that may not always be the best course of action. You’re right, it’s about breezing through negativity, to get to the other side. Thank you for your ongoing support and reflection, straight to my heart!

  • Reply Danielle Folkerts May 24, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    Thansk for the great read Anna, I needed to hear it! I’ve had a bit of a rough go on social media the last couple weeks, just getting some unnecessary “feedback”, and I let it bug me, even knowing it’s not a big deal. But it’s a hard balance!
    It makes me more aware than anything to just be kind. Be kind, because you have no idea what someone else is going through.

    • Reply STRUCKBLOG June 8, 2017 at 9:27 am

      Aw Danielle, thanks for being here and reading this post. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a rough go. I have been there, social media can be so hard that way because although it connects us, it also represents us on what can be a very superficial level. Someone glances at your photos, and immediately makes judgments about you. Don’t let those words impact you too deeply, as they’re not rooted in truth. You’re also right, it is a reminder to be kind, as kindness opens people up, and allows us to actually get to know one another on a level that goes beyond the surface. Thanks for this great comment, xo.

  • Reply Laura May 20, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Great job in speaking your truth Anna. In the end it really is the relationship with ourselves that counts and if we can count on a couple trusted people who really get us on top of this, we are blessed. I feel this way about you.

    There can be harsh judgements made about a person based on exterior variables. This can be hard to navigate. What I find worse and as you’ve mentioned is the gossip mill from those who not so ironically preech solidarity among women in our local and digital community. This can be alarming and disorienting. The real damage comes from the immediate reactions and waves of a small community.

    The answer: always meet with positivity. Know your truth, live your beautiful values and all will be at peace. At least you will be! Time almost always sorts these things out.

    So grateful to know you! 😘

    • Reply STRUCKBLOG May 23, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      Oh my goodness what a beautiful comment to make Laura! It’s true, it’s about the things that matter – your relationship with you, your values, and love. That love has to include self love, but like with most things, relationships are about quality not quantity. Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind, right? I am blessed to know that you are one of those who matter! All we can do is meet negativity with positivity, kindness and truth. Do you, with a smile on your face, the rest will fall into place (I didn’t mean to rhyme there, but it’s pretty good so I’ll leave it haha!). <3

  • Reply Rosalyn May 20, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    Thank you for writing such an in depth yet honest post! Loved every word of it as I’ve experienced this myself 😘

    • Reply STRUCKBLOG May 23, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      I think it’s happened to all of us, but we all have different ways of dealing with it. I’m glad you could relate. Thanks for visiting and having a read!

  • Reply Taryn Gibb May 20, 2017 at 11:38 am

    I admire your strength when it comes to dealing with the judgement, I know we’re all both victims of and guilty at times of passing judgement on people. This is one of the reasons I started my blog, I was told one day that I couldn’t do certain things, because I’m a woman, playing dangerously close to a mans world of DIY and Home Improvement. I channeled this negativity and allowed myself to prove to myself and these Nay-sayers that they are wrong, and I can do it.

    Keep your head held high, you’re a brilliant, beautiful woman and capable of inspiring the world.

    PS. love those kicks!

    Taryn.

    • Reply STRUCKBLOG May 23, 2017 at 2:59 pm

      Aw thank you Taryn! I’m not surprised that you experienced that kind of judgment considering the industry you work in. I’m sure the same thing would happen to me. But that’s what I mean about spinning it into a positive. It’s unfortunate that you have to prove yourself, your worth and you skills before garnering respect, but I love how you have used it as motivation instead. Fuel for the fire as they say!

      Thank you for those kind words. I hope to inspire whoever I can, and I hope everyone remembers to give their fellow human a chance before making false judgments. xo!

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