“We judge people in areas where we’re vulnerable to shame, especially picking folks who are doing worse than we’re doing… We’re hard on each other because we’re using each other as a launching pad out of our own perceived deficiency.” Brene Brown
When I first read Brene Brown’s work on shame and judgement I wanted to test out her theory. Was it really true that my judgement of others was a way of deflecting my own harsh judgements on myself? Wow! I started noticing these quick judgements I was making on other people and asking myself if I felt this way about my own parenting, appearance, relationships, gossip, etc…?
This little test taught me a lot about how I felt about myself personally. I didn’t like it at all.
Shame is never a belief or feeling we want to sit with. That is because shame is associated with pain. If we deflect by looking for others who are in worse shape then us it lifts the weight off. It provides temporary relief.
Maybe forgiveness needs to start personally. As you move through your day notice the quick judgements that come to mind as you interact with others. Write them down or make a mental note. Then ask yourself: How does my judgement on that person relate to how I feel about myself?
How can I forgive and learn to love myself?
- Acknowledge the pain that waits below the surface. How do you feel about your appearance? Faith? Relationships? Finances? Education? Home?
- Work towards understanding yourself and how those beliefs shape your choices.
- Find support with a trusted peer or counselor.
- Find a Bible study or look up verses about God’s love for you and meditate on those things.
- Write the positive opposite. I.e. “I’m so fat and ugly” to “I’m beautiful and loved”
- Pray, confess those judgements about yourself and others, accept grace and love.
As you get to know yourself, understand your weaknesses, and learn to love yourself you will begin to see your interactions with others change. If you are happy with yourself then you will have no reason to inflict pain or harsh judgments on others. This can take time and hard work. But stay alert, question yourself, and continue to learn about yourself. Read books and seek support from those you trust that can provide insight and awareness.
An important final note. God’s love for us is so huge and surpasses our own understanding of what love is. We will always be making mistakes. We will always be learning. Trust that through this process your love for God will grow bigger as you realize your need for him. In turn as you come to know your value and worth in God’s eyes you will see others through His eyes.
It’s a journey not the destination that counts. The longest trip in the world is from our heads to our hearts. Start with knowledge and push it closer and closer to your heart through daily, consistent action.