The Big Judgment Stick

By: Faith Pearce

(4 min read)

These are my words, and I make no apology for them. For so long, I muted part of my voice but not today. If you are easily offended, then don’t read on.

I have been going through a lot of changes. If you read my last blog, “Everything Changes,” you will know my daughter recently left to go to university. This has been one of the most challenging times in my life. 

I have been grieving and not sleeping and generally feeling pretty crappy. One morning I overslept. To me, there was the final straw. When I woke to find out I was already late, it sent me into a panic. There was no way I could catch up or correct it, and I spent the next few hours beating myself up. What the fuck are you doing? You are useless? What is the point? Can’t you get anything right? You’re an idiot. I could skip over this, but to me, this was a critical moment. The self-talk and general self-loathing carried on throughout the rest of the day. I just wanted the ground to swallow me up and disappear. 

By the end of the day, I had stopped beating myself up with the big proverbial stick and took a step back. What really struck me was how judgmental I was of myself. Throughout my life, different influences have shaped me. Parents, mentors, friends, and experiences. But the voice inside my head was mine. I was my own judge and jury, not anyone else. 

Was I that bad? What was I feeling? Frustration, anger, tiredness, and loneliness. Are these feelings really negative, or is this what I have deemed them to be? I feel like from a young age, the message has always been, don’t be sad, be happy, calm down, enjoy the moment, and Be Nice. Intellectually, I realize all these ‘negative’ feelings are normal, and they occur when something doesn’t sit well with me or I have not met my own needs. At what point did I stop listening to my own needs; where did I lose my integrity to myself?

Once I took a breath, I decided it was ok to be pissed off with myself and to recognize that I was also not very happy. It’s ok because nothing is always sunshine and rainbows. Just as others do, I am human. I seek and expect perfection, which is entirely unrealistic. 

It is in these moments that the most significant growth happens. It was time to seek my needs and make a change. How could I do things differently? The conversation became more about how I can be nicer to myself and assess my current needs.

I could have set new lofty expectations of how this would never happen again and raised the bar again, but this is not what I needed. So, I listened.

I first asked what did my body need? The answer was food and rest. If it didn’t inspire me, I wouldn’t eat. If I wanted a cake, I ate a cake. If I wanted eggs, I had eggs. Before, I would have been very judgmental and seen this as self-indulgent. I know how to eat a “healthy, well-balanced diet,” and in my “non-struggle” times, I do. And yes, I enjoy healthy foods, but when I use them as negative reinforcement, then it’s not ok. I tapped into what I wanted to eat then and did it!

I needed rest. If I sat and didnt do anything, again, I had no judgment. I knew my body was exhausted. As long as the basics got done and I had clothes to wear, I told myself, “good job!” Instead of allowing my old voice to speak, “you are lazy and should be doing something.” If the house didn’t get cleaned for a couple of days, the world would not end.

I then dug deeper to determine what self-care meant right now. It is so underrated. My self-care needed to be more than bubble baths and massages.

Life is all about balance. I realized I am no different than the seasons. Each is perfectly balanced to give the earth what it needs. If there is too much sun or if it is too cold, nothing grows. 

Feeling angry, disappointed, or frustrated is perfectly normal. Yet so often, it is deemed negative. We don’t wake up and say, “omg, I have an amazing job, let’s find a new one. If we wake up and it is difficult to move or feel out of breath, we might decide to exercise more and eat healthier. Our discomfort is an alarm or warning which provides the contrast for what we do and don’t want or need. It is the chance to choose differently.

If life were always sunshine and roses, how would we know it was good without having experienced the bad? Love and hate are neither good nor bad. They are equal yet opposites. They provide us with the boundaries to define what we do and don’t want or need and help determine what we will and won’t put up with.

Today, can you stop judging what you feel is good or bad? Think of how vital opposites are. Light cannot exist without darkness. If we stop hiding and suppressing certain feelings, acknowledge them, and listen to what they are telling us, we can be a little kinder to ourselves and put the big judgment stick down. 

Faith Pearce 
                                                                     All Things Wellness, LLC

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