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Something happened last week that marked a change in my life. It wasn’t a soul crushing or earth shattering occurrence. Yet, I can still clearly look back & see where the proverbial line in the sand was drawn: Everyone is judging you.
Depending on who you ask, I might be crazy. But I urge you to hear me out anyway. It’s no secret that it is human nature to be judgmental creatures. We instantly devise a story in our mind for every little thing that happens before us.
That man who licked his lips as you walked by? He’s a pig, of course. Only one thing on his mind.
That mother who clutched her child closer to her? It’s because I have dark skin, right? I knew I should have made a bigger effort with my appearance today; I look like a bum.
Your two friends giggling in the corner who abruptly stop when you walk up? They were talking about me again; they probably don’t even want me here.
And those are just the first few examples that come to mind! Insecurity breeds more insecurity. But, in reality, that man had dry mouth, the mother was worried you would think her child was in your way, & your friends just naturally switched the course of their conversation to welcome YOU.
But, everyone is judging you.
And, I get it. Maybe they are. But, the point is, nine times out of ten, we’re the ones projecting our own insecurities onto everyone else. Whether they are founded on truths of our past or not, we are still the ones doing the judging. We aren’t even giving them a chance to be accommodating, much less welcoming!
So, rewind back to last week with me again. It’s that pivotal moment. That proverbial line in the sand.
Everyone is judging you.
I feel like that all the dang time! Reasonably, I know it’s garbage. And, we just talked about the flaw in that line of thinking. Yet, here we are.
I have made no secrets about the fact that I have bipolar disorder. I am always careful to say “I have bipolar disorder,” NOT “I am bipolar.”
Do you see the difference?
The first statement gives ME the control, while the latter gives the diagnosis the control. It’s the nature of the beast. You can attempt to argue semantics with me all you want. But I know the truth.
There is a HUGE mental shift that takes place when you are intentional with your words.
Your thoughts tend to take shape around the words you choose to use. And the thoughts you allow in your head affect all kinds of beliefs.
And that brings us right back to: Everyone is judging you.
Last week, I realized (as tends to happen with bipolar disorder) I was slipping into a hypomania episode.
(It’s a period of time when my brain is super active & I have a hard time calming it down. I can’t sleep, I feel restless, & I have urges to do things that give me a dopamine rush of sorts. I mean, that’s a WAY over-simplified explanation! But, the point is, it’s not always all crazy-sexy-weird like the movies make it out to be.)
Anyway, since it’s not my first rodeo, I realized what was happening. I had gotten all wound up with a new project I am working on. I tried staying up late to get some things done & I forgot my number one rule of self care — especially with bipolar disorder: protect my sleep!
That hypomania episode was probably triggered as a result. Who knows? It’s not an exact science. The point is, in the past, I would have done one of two things:
1). Throw all caution to the wind.
I would have given in to whatever weird impulse I had. I might have boozed it up or tried to “channel” that energy into some mildly constructive activity. But, any of that would have just “fed the beast,” so to speak. It would have just exacerbated the situation & that hypomanic episode could have turned into a manic episode & lasted much longer.
2). Beat up on myself.
I would have gone into a serious pity party for one & sobbed about all the ways it is unfair to feel the way I do. Every past indiscretion would have been brought back to the surface of my mind for me to relive. And I would have gone over, in detail, every failure I could possibly conjure to mind. A serious depression surely would have followed.
The first scenario was full of judgement toward myself for not being more productive & seizing every moment. There was a lot of underlying worry about what others thought of me & needing to somehow make up for it.
Judgement still riddled the second scenario, perhaps more obviously. It was almost worse since it wasn’t the present being scrutinized, but also everything that ever was.
How is that a way to live?!
Yet, last week, when this hypomanic episode began, neither of these scenarios played out. I cannot remember a time when I could honestly say that.
I know that what I am describing might seem extreme to many people. But, if you can take that kind of judgement I normally feel for myself in that situation & identify it in a scenario in your own life, then you’ll seriously want to pay attention to what I have to say next.
If you judge you so harshly, everyone else always will too.
Remember the man, the mother, & the two friends from the beginning of this article? If you recall, their judgement of you was all in YOUR perception. Everyone is judging you.
The more insecure we are, the more we will THINK others are judging us.
The more judgmental we are toward OURSELVES, the more it will SEEM others are judging us too.
But the good news is that the reverse is also true!
Be intentional with your words, they shape your thoughts, which then influence your beliefs.
Whether you mean for it to happen or not, your words have THAT much power!
“I have bipolar.”
Something as simple as that, over a period of time, helped me, last week, to recognize a hypomanic episode coming on. I paused, took a breath, & shoved aside those nasty thoughts. (Yes! they were still there! I am human! BUT they were NOT given the time of day. THAT’S the point.)
Then, I prayed.
I thanked God for this amazing life & for making me in His image. I thanked Him for all of my uniqueness & flaws. And I asked Him for the strength to see it all as a blessing. I asked Him to give me a sense of calm only He can & to help me use my experiences in a way that would bring Him glory somehow.
Honestly? Then, I binged watched Netflix.
No joke! My brain was overactive. I didn’t want to contribute to that, but I didn’t want to let my mind wander into the depths of despair either. So, I felt compelled to watch a show on Netflix. That’s what I did. I was physically exhausted, but somehow went without sleep for way longer than I have since I was in my twenties.
I shed a few tears, but I have been ridiculously calm. And, as I write this, that connection between our judgement of self & our perceived judgement by others lingers with me.
Could it be that everyone is judging you because you judge yourself?
What if you became more forgiving of yourself? Would you feel so totally FREE all of a sudden — & not just from your own confines?
Something to think about…
Want to continue this conversation?
I’d love to! Email me at [email protected] or shoot me a private message. You can also join me & a bunch of other women over in the Calculated Chaos Community where we are all about empowerment, confidence-boosts, & judgement-free sharing & commiseration. We’d LOVE to have you!