This is my second post in a series sponsored by Similac as part of their Sisterhood of Motherhood program. Similac is committed to creating an environment to support all parents and build tolerance in the parenting community and I am proud to be part of that. You can check out a little intro to their message HERE if you’re interested.
In my life I have experienced judgement. Sometimes it was imagined and self-inflicted like the time I sat in the corner paralyzed by fear before the 3rd grade talent show. Sometimes it was brought by others, like the time when I was 9 and was told by a lady I was going to Hell due to my religious beliefs. I’ve been told I am too nice. I’ve been told I cover my flaws with good behavior. I’ve been told I can’t do things. I’ve been told I made the wrong choice. I’ve been told a lot of crappy things throughout my 36 years, but in the end it was me who chose whether to give those opinions credit or power.
Sometimes it’s really hard to let go of the hurtful things people can say to you. Sometimes it’s really hard not to feel bad about your own situation when you see someone else’s life or circumstances. Sometimes the doubt sets in. This happens to everyone.
Recently the whole vaccine debate on Facebook had me tied up in knots. Every day when I would check to see what was happening my friends on both sides of the argument were posting very assertive and convincing statements and articles but every single post just had me reeling. None of the posts addressed what I was scared of. None of the posts actually helped me with the problem I was facing. My kids have been vaccinated. I believe vaccines are important. I am not leaving California. I’m going to have to vaccinate Phoebe, but the last time I did she had 4 seizures in one day. She went unconscious and stopped breathing in my arms 4 times in a 12 hour period. So here I was on Facebook seeing mud-slinging posts from both sides not even addressing what the other side is actually concerned about and posting articles that to me have no credibility whatsoever. You know, because everything you read on the internet is filled with truthful facts.
Ugh, now I have myself worked up again. I don’t want a vaccine debate here. I don’t even want your advice. I’ve worked out what I am going to do. I am just bringing up this recent vaccine example to demonstrate the power social media, other people’s opinions and false information can have on someone.
I decided to stop reading all articles about vaccinations. I stopped reading all comment threads. I stopped going on Facebook. I threw myself into my work. I was just not going to get into it anymore. I was not going to give the debate power. It was not a game I was going to play. I was going to sort out what I would do to keep my girl Phoebe healthy and my emotions in balance. I still have very strong views about the vaccine issue, I was just not going to give this fight that was happening on social media any more attention. It was eating away at my soul.
It’s been the same for every other time in my life that I overcame judgement. I had to decide that I wasn’t going to give that judgement power.
Now of course it’s important to differentiate judgement from actual sound advice. I think it would be silly to assume we are always right about all things and cannot take a tip from someone else. So there has to be a balance of course.
But if something is really just negative and makes you feel crappy, maybe that’s all it is. Maybe it’s just someone trying to make you feel crappy. Maybe you don’t need to give it power. Maybe you should just keep on doing what is right in your heart.
Over the years I’ve lost friendships and relationships that I simply had to let go of because continuing to give that relationship power was not resulting in anything good.
I’ve learned that my time is much better invested in people and activities that have a high return rate as far as joy, work accomplished and overall survival. Why be on a team with people who don’t want you to win?
So what do I say to the lady who told me I was going to Hell because of my religion?
“Well lady, I’m sorry you feel telling a 9 year old girl she’s going to Hell is a good use of your time, I’m off to hang with people who give proper advice to 9 year olds, like play soccer and don’t worry about that boy you have a crush on, he’ll come around eventually.”
Oh, and how about that person who told me I cover up my flaws with good behavior?
“Um, I’m sorry I was trying to perform well when I was a young teenager and your advice really helped solidify the fact that when I did good things I was actually being bad and when I did bad things that was bad, so basically I was just bad. Got it. Bye.”
So what do you say we try to stop giving power to things that just want to suck all the good out of us and tell us how bad we are? Wouldn’t you rather direct that energy into something else?
Similac would love to know how you are going to stop the judgement on their Facebook page. You can share your own thoughts over there. They put a wonderful video together featuring many of my blogger friends about judgement in parenting. You should check it out. It’s really quite lovely. Here is the link to the video called Real Parents, Real Judgement.