I listened to a program by Caroline Myss on Self Esteem recently. One of the many things she talked about was how our judgments of others can be because of our own low self esteem. That got me thinking about how judgmental we can be, and the real reasons for our judgments of other people.
Most, if not all, people have low self esteem issues around some aspect of their lives. Body image and level of success are two of the biggest ones that I see most often, with body image being number one by far. We think we are too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, too dark skinned, too pale, the list goes on and on. Judging ourselves that way is bad enough because we are all beautiful and perfect in our own way.
A lot of time we project our own low self esteem by being judgmental of others too. My family likes to watch Dancing With the Stars. It’s easy to sit at home watching the show and say things like “I cannot believe she is wearing that” or “What makes him think he can dance? He doesn’t stand a chance in this competition!” What are we really saying when we judge the stars like that? A lot of times, if we really think about it, we will find that what we really mean is “I wish I had the nerve to do that.”
I’ve only watched the show for a few seasons. I watched it the first time because I’m a NASCAR fan and Michael Waltrip, one of the drivers and team owners in the Sprint Cup series was a competitor on the show. Because he was popular he was able to stay on the show far longer than anyone thought. He wasn’t exactly the best dancer. Gary Busey was on DWTS last fall, and no he wasn’t the most gifted dancer either. It was very easy to be judgmental of their performances and question why they agreed to do the show.
Once you get past judging their performances though you can learn something important about yourself. They were stepping well outside of their comfort zones to do something they have never done before, and had the nerve to do it on a very popular network television show. How many of us have the nerve to do that? I would guess not many. So when we judge them are we actually being critical of them, or of our selves for not being brave enough to try something new? Once I came to that realization I wished I was a celebrity so that I could get invited to do the show and see if I have the nerve to show up every week.
How much of the body shaming that you see and hear about all the time now actually stems from the shamer’s own low self esteem? If a young lady feels amazing wearing a beautiful dress and it shows on her face, her smile can light up the room. It doesn’t matter how she looks. It is about how she feels. A lot of times we are afraid to take that chance to feel amazing and instead we choose to criticize them for taking it instead. Besides, it isn’t my place to judge her appearance when I can enjoy her happiness.
A lot of people have been giving Carrie Fisher a lot of grief over her appearance in the new Star Wars movie. I think a lot of that actually comes from the fact that we haven’t seen Princess Leia on the big screen in 32 years. All of us who saw her in Star Wars when we were in our teens or younger (I was 8) are getting older and seeing our favorite characters on the screen again looking 32 years older brings out all of our self esteem issues about getting old ourselves. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the original cast again and sharing that experience with my kids.
My Own Experience
In the area of success, I have seen the same thing directed at me in the past. I took the typical path by going to school and college then getting a well-paying job. I reached a point where I got fed up with that rat race and decided to do something else. I went to massage school, got into network marketing and eventually quit my job. There were some people who cared about me and tried to talk me out of that path. People with college educations and good jobs don’t become massage therapists and network marketers and quit their jobs. It just isn’t the “responsible” thing to do.
In most cases I know the criticism came from the fact that they had often thought of doing their own thing but didn’t have the strength to go against the grain and do their own thing the way I had done. When they see someone who does, it stirs up their self esteem issues and they can get critical. Sometimes they eventually get over it and joining them.
The next time you notice yourself being judgmental of others, take a moment to look inside and find where it is coming from. You will probably find an area of your own self esteem that you can work on. Then thank that person for helping you grow.
You can find the Caroline Myss program on Self Esteem that inspired this post here.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Let’s start a conversation in the comments below.
Disclaimer and Disclosure
I am not a psychologist or any other kind of mental health practitioner. These are just my opinions and observations. I am an affiliate marketer, so I may earn a commission if you choose to order products through any of the links on this website.