I used to judge people, on a high scale. I had an automatic judgemental thought system. And I was scared to death of people judging me. That is the ugly truth. I had a way of thinking about people, my surroundings and myself that was utterly toxic. It broke me down on several occasions and kept me from moving forward in my life. I would think thoughts like “oh my god, how can that person wear those ugly shoes” or “do they really think that is an achievement”. I would bash strangers in my mind on a daily basis. I don’t think this is necessary to say, but I applied these thoughts to myself as well. I talked myself down every single day. My focus was often, in any given situation or regarding any person, the flaws or negative accept of it/them – including myself. Looking back at this now, I can truly appreciate how toxic this was and how grateful I am that I snapped myself out of it.
It all started a normal day, on my everyday bus ride from work. I was sitting in my usual spot, thinking my usual thoughts when I gave myself a mental bitchslap. I was in the middle of criticising a strangers outfit when I asked myself “why Rebecca? Why are you going on and on about this persons outfit? What is this giving you?”, and I sat there for the rest of that bus ride trying to find the answer to that question. I realized that I was intoxicating my entire life with this way of thinking (or not thinking, actually). That it was the root and cause to so much pain I had afflicted upon myself.
I had recently lost a group of toxic people, that I back then considered to be my friends, from my life and I hadn’t really been fed with any daily direct judgement for quite some time. Which I think is how I arrived at grabbing myself at this in this given day. The change of environment and the stillness made me aware of my own shortcomings and the bad influence i had received and given. I decided that day that I was going to stop judging people. I fought myself for a couple of months, in all truth, to turn my thought pattern around. I would tell myself “who are you to criticise? That person might love those shoes! And what does it even matter if I don’t? I’m not the one wearing them” and so on. You get the picture. I applied this to every single judgement that crossed my mind. Big or small. And eventually these thoughts just stopped coming, because they weren’t fed.
The beautiful side effect, that I hadn’t counted for, was that I stopped thinking about other people’s opinions of me too. I didn’t catch on to this until later, because it took some time to process, but what a beautiful thing! It was the most liberating feeling! I don’t walk around measuring other people and I don’t think about the fact that others might do that to me. And to be honest, I don’t care if anyone does, because I know the only person they are intoxicating with this are themselves. Speaking from experience and all that jazz.
The first and most liberating step you can take, today, to stop worrying about what other people think of you is to stop judging other people. Beautiful things start to happen when you do and you get more than you bargained for.
That is my best life hack tip.