Did you ever see the play or the movie Les Miserables? It’s a deep story about redemption and loss and all the grand themes, but one of the most critical is the battle between judgment and grace.
If I say love and hate, we get the polarity immediately. But for as often as we fall into judgment, we don’t typically think about its polar opposite: grace.
In Les Mis, the decades-long pursuit of Valjean by Javert captures its powerful essence. Javert is judgment. He sings of it. It’s the “star” to him, the thing that makes sense. Valjean is grace… the man who’s life forever changed by the act of grace given by a priest.
Grace leads to love and redemption: Valjean dies in his family’s arms.
Where does judgment lead? Javert jumps alone off a bridge, his life devoid of meaning after he is shown grace.
Ok, this is a long way into this theme, and a bit overdramatic but if we’re going to calm the eff down during this off-the-charts stress moment, we need to break from the norm.
In my last post I wrote about the way judgment can be isolating. But it can also be a tuning fork to tell us we’re afraid. In short, we can look at our judgment, learn from it and move a bit closer to grace.
We can give ourselves and those we love a break! We need it, right? Here’s how:
Step out of judgment-land
Let’s take a little look-see at what judgment is all about: When we judge people, it’s because we think we’re right, and they’re wrong.
Being right is really about trying to stay safe. Trying to stay safe comes from a place of fear. And, here’s the clincher: Fear is always a lie. Dun dun DUN.
The other piece is that if we’re judging others, we’re also judging ourselves. And that makes us disconnected from ourselves. It makes us feel unworthy of feeling good. And that’s a lie. Everyone is born with an inherent goodness.
Basically, when we judge others or judge ourselves, we’re letting fear win. Even though we have a lot to be fearful of, fear keeps us in a deluded state; blocked off from our inner wisdom, and overreacting to everything, kind of like Chicken Little. I mean, would you ever ask Chicken Little for advice? No.
Your judgments are actually really great indicators of something that you want for yourself. The people who drive you the most crazy are typically doing something that you’ve told yourself is not OK. And oftentimes the reason we think it’s not OK is because it’s something you think you can’t have.
What if we just let all that energy, negative self-talk, anger and resentment … go?
Just let it go.
Free to be me, free not to be them
Let’s start with the foundation: We want to be healthy despite all this craziness. We want those we love to feel healthy. We want our relationships to be healthy. (And let’s face it, they probably are a bit strained, no matter how much we may—or may not—be trying to make them great!).
It’s ok. For today, for one day, we’re going get real with ourselves so we can move out of Judgment-Land and toward a bit of that wonderful grace.
It starts right here: You don’t get to say how the people you love handle their stress. (Click to tweet!)
We all have our own way of coping, and yes, some coping mechanisms are healthier than others. We can share what we need to cope, but anyone else’s coping mechanism is not our business.
Remember that when you’re judging people it’s probably because they’re doing something that you’d secretly like to do but you’ve told yourself it’s a no-no. Look for the clues that are hiding in plain sight about what you’re like more of instead of using your energy to feel better than other people.
You do you. And even if just for today… for one beautiful day, you get to extend grace to them: Just let your people do what makes them feel better.
If you don’t like what they’re doing, make sure you’re taking care of making yourself feel better before you approach them about it.
Let yourself be ok. Let them be ok. It all feels so much more calm, doesn’t it?
Need more help calming the eff down? Check out my 21-day challenge podcasts. Click here and start back at episode 170. Do one a day and visit me online to chat/comment about your progress.
Also, I put the best tips of the 21 day Calm the Eff Down challenge right here. Click to download and put these simple, effective ideas to work for you right now.