Be curious. Always be curious.
I’m not a perfect human, in fact, nobody is.
However, one thing I work towards daily is to be curious and to release judgment. I aim to always be curious. It's not always easy, in fact, being curious toward yourself can be the hardest (a lot of time self-judgment is the hardest to be curious with), but to help release judgment, focusing on curiosity is the cure.
“Curiosity is the cure for judgment.”
My parents were divorced when I was very young. I’ve never been angry at them for getting divorced. I trust and know that they chose what was best for them and our family. I know that is was a hard decision to make. Growing up I was asked many times if I was upset with my parents; I always thought it was a weird question - even as a child. Now, as I’m older, I know that while people were trying to be curious, it could also be looked at as a very judgmental question. My sister and I felt judged a lot, but never by our parents.
One thing I’ve always loved about my family is that they’re very caring and accepting people. They’ve never pressured me to do anything in my life. Almost to a fault, but I’ve had a pretty strong internal drive and done a lot on my own.
No matter what it was, even if they probably didn’t agree, they never told me what to do or what not to do. They knew their opinion was not my own and allowed me to grow and learn on my own. They were always there to be supportive of my decisions in whatever way they could.
Personal Opinions vs. Judgment
While individuals may have their own opinions about certain situations, it's not your right to inflict your opinion on what others do in their life. If it doesn't affect you personally or harm them physically or emotionally, honor your opinion, but also get curious about theirs choices or life versus judging them.
I’m not the most "settled" woman. Meaning, I like to do a lot of things and don’t really like to settle. That could mean sitting in one place, staying at a job too long (my longest job I was at was about 5 years), or following what society “tells me I should do.” This does NOT mean I'm not committed. In fact, I AM VERY committed and loyal to those that I love and respect (and those that I work with and work for).
I know this and have (mostly) accepted that this is ME. It doesn’t mean there's anything wrong with me. I say “mostly” because I still have trying times when I feel I should be at a certain place in my life at 38 (like married with children or working a regular 8-5 job with benefits and a 401k), but I’ve done a lot of “out of the box” things in my life by following my intuition and not really giving a shit what other people think. I've also done a lot of "in the box" things in life, too. What I've learned is that MY life wasn’t given to me for other people to live. It was given to ME FOR ME to live.
I know God loves and accepts me for everything that I do, God does not judge me for being me.
Other people’s values are not my values.
Other people’s priorities are not my priorities.
They may be similar in some ways, but the uniqueness of our life choices, values and priorities are what make us who we are.
Who am I to judge someone else’s journey?
Who am I to judge someone else for their values?
Who am I to judge someone else for their chosen priorities?
Who am I to judge others for living their life on their own terms?
Who am I to compare my life and personal journey to someone else’s journey?
We can get curious, but the judgment is not ours to have or put towards someone else.
My decisions are not hurting or affecting anyone else in a negative way. (That is NOT my intention.) I'm aware of that and care deeply about others. But I've learned that other people's opinions don't define me as a person and shouldn't affect how I live my life.
That stated, I'm also human and still feel judged at times and sometimes still inflict a lot of self-judgment on myself.
If you feel the judgment coming up, take a step back and get curious:
...for your children
...for your friends
…(especially) for your family
Ask questions from a curious place, get to know or understand where they might be coming from, but please don't inflict your opinion on them without getting curious first. You can ask to share your opinion, but only after you have gotten genuinely curious.
How can you be supportive and not judgmental?
When I told my parents we were pregnant with out first baby, they were excited and filled with love for us. They never judged me for not being married yet, they know I can and always have made the best choices for myself and my life. (We actually lost our first baby due to a miscarriage - and they were supportive during that time, too.)
When I wanted to leave my job and be a volunteer English teacher in Chile, they supported my choices.
When I left my job the second time to move across the country to Washington and start my business, they supported my decision.
When I left my career in HR the third time to go full time in my business, they supported my decision from afar. (I never asked for permission, I have always just told them what I am doing.)
When I decided to go to Yoga Teacher Training in Bali and travel for a couple of months at the age of 37, they thought that was pretty neat - in fact, my dad was probably more excited for me than anyone I told.
FYI - This is all emotional support, not financial support. 🙂
They never judged me through any of these life transitions.
Most importantly, I never felt judged.
Life is YOUR Journey
I haven’t had the easiest life, in fact on the outside looking in you may think I’ve lived a pretty simple and easy life. It’s not true. I have many stories of defeat, darkness, loneliness and extreme struggle.
I've learned a lot from my own personal struggles - and while I am open to sharing some of them, some of them I'm not open to sharing with anyone at this point.
Truth is, we've all had our own struggles and triumphs in life - life is a journey. It's never constant, never the same, always changing and shifting to help us learn and grow.
Knowing this, why do so many people judge others for how they live their lives?
You know what? I’m blessed to be alive and I’ve learned a lot on my own personal journey; that has helped shape the person I am.
The tougher situations in life have also taught me to get more curious about others and their own personal situations, and less judgmental of others from any and all walks of life.
Travel (and coaching people from around the world) has been a huge part of that learning process for me. It does NOT mean you have to travel to learn more about yourself, but for my personal journey, it has taught me a lot and also helped me build up my own personal confidence.
The more I’ve followed and abided by others’ expectations, the less confident I felt on my own personal journey and at time, the more personal self-judgement came up.
I do my best to pass this curiosity along to others, especially my clients and coaching students. I never want them to feel judged while connecting with me and always want them to feel welcomed and supported.
Many come to me as they don’t feel as welcomed or supported into flowing into their chosen direction in life. They feel outcasted at times, misunderstood, alone and many times by those closest to them.
Personally, I love being a cheerleader for others, as I know what it feels like to both have support and not be supported on my own personal journey.
Support is important for yourself and for others.
Life’s always a little brighter when you have positive support and guidance. However, at the same time, if no one is there to support you, you still have to be your own biggest cheerleader and support structure.
From there, it’s important to be open to and search to find a circle of others that are more than willing to support you, too. It’s honestly not always who we think it will be, but if you’re passionate about what you're doing and owning your own personal journey in this world, you will find those people.
Some of the things I’ve learned in my own personal journey as well as my coaching experience I’ve shared here in How to be a Caring Coach. (This is also helpful to be a more caring friend, partner, family member, etc.) It all starts by listening and getting curious.
Self-judgment is the biggest predictor in external judgment towards others. I’ve learned this both personally and being on the receiving end of this, too.
Often people with the most self-judgment and guilt are the quickest to judge other people. So, if this is you, learn to also be curious with yourself. Have compassion towards yourself. Honor the greatness within and be open to seeing things from a new and fresh perspective - at any age and in any situation.
Curiosity is the cure for judgment.
What are some situations where you can learn to be more curious and release judgment?
Please share! I would love to here from you either here on the blog or feel free to contact me here.