Me See vs You See
How do you see yourself? I photograph a lot of people and I always assume that how I see them will not be how they see themselves. I will more than likely think they are prettier, thinner, healthier, more colorful, more stylish, more confident looking than they think they are. Now, part of this is the obvious result of them knowing themselves better than I know them. They see the scars, they see the lack of muscle tone, they see the sags or pasty coloring that I don’t see. But even if I do see those things I am still not understanding their place the way the owner of those things understands them. That is to be expected.
You See vs You Judge
The more important question is, how do you see yourself? Is your awareness of some element of your face or body overwhelmed with negative judgment or is it just an acknowledgement? For example, let’s say you (talking to a woman here), notice that your skin is a bit pale lately as summer ends and fall begins. You put on a bit more blush and a brighter shade of lipstick to compensate for the paleness and you are good to go. If you had to go out without the blush and lipstick you would be ok, but you have the time to add it so you do. You feel good and unself-conscious.
Compare that to you not just seeing yourself as a bit pale but as judging yourself as ugly and unacceptable for being pale. You are judging yourself but part of that judgment is projecting a world full of judges you must face when you go out. You worry that others will be seeing not just you being a bit pale, but as being ugly or old looking or lazy for not tanning or using makeup better. You feel lousy and self-conscious.
Who is Paying Attention?
The important thing to remember in all this is that the entirety of almost all judgment that is going on is going on inside your own head. While there might be someone out there who is going to judge you, it’s not likely. The truth is, if someone does see you when you are pale and feeling vulnerable, it is likely they are going to either not notice or if they do, it will be a brief awareness and then a forgetting of it. They likely will not be judging you.
The question then becomes, why do you think they are judging you? Well, most of the time people think others think like them. So perhaps the place to start is in evaluating if you are, not only your own harsh judge, but a harsh judge of others as well. I know some people who would never be judgmental of others, but continue to think they are being judged much harsher than they are. Then again I do know some people who are always thinking others are judging them because they spend much of their time judging others rather mercilessly.
Untying the Judge Knot
Which one are you? If you are the judge, then that is where to start. Be conscious of it and make a decision to stop the judgment when you see yourself doing it. Avoid TV shows and other people who push judgment as a form of entertainment and social bonding. It isn’t. If you aren’t a judge but constantly feel judged then evaluate whether it really is an accurate evaluation of how others are responding to you. Do you have any evidence they are judging you? What is that evidence? Chances are you will find that evidence is in your head, not something actually coming from them. Keep evaluating and look for real evidence of that judgment. Not just some look that can be interpreted a million different ways, but actual proof they are judging you. I bet you find very little.
The best, most realistic way to untie the Judge Knot is to practice judging not. If you do, then judgment, either from yourself or others, real or imagined, will diminish.
Drawing by Marty Coleman
Quote by Nancy Lopez, American Golfer