“Self- judgment resides where self-acceptance wishes to be.”
This quote from The Five Levels of Attachment by Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. really resonated with me. Self-judgment seems to be an basic human quality, but in todays society of social media and the pursuit of perfection, it has become epidemic. You hear teenagers complaining about how much they hate themselves, their lives or above all else, their appearance. Young moms see themselves as inadequate as a parent and a partner and the mature and elderly are subtedly taught to be ashamed of their age and the changes that accompany it. We must look younger, act younger and lie about our real age to even begin to fit into our youth oriented society and yet the young aren’t happy or content either.
How did we get to this place of self-judgment and dissatisfaction? I believe a good deal has to do with our constant preoccupation and comparison to what we see on social media – the illusion of glamour by the famous, and the airbrushed pictures of how we should look and dress, despite the fact that this is neither real nor realistic. It would appear that everyone ‘out there’ is living a life of adventure, glamour and over the moon success - everyone that is but us.
It is with great relief that in the last few months, I have read several blogs and articles about the myths and exaggeration of life as displayed on social media and what a real day in their life looks like compared to the so called perfect day projected on Facebook or Instagram. Either tired or fed up with the fantasies of friends or strangers (as we follow and compare ourselves to people we don’t even know) these bloggers are getting real.
Martha Beck has written a humorous and honest article in the latest Oprah Magazine entitled, ‘The Grass ain’t Greener” She talks about the FOMO which stands for Fear of Missing Out, a fear most of us can remember since we were small children. But today there seems to be so much we’re missing out on! Everyone else is taking adventurous vacations, or backpacking through a foreign country, or perhaps becoming the most successful entrepreneur of the year. In the meantime we are all just running around in circles trying to find the end of our rainbow because obviously we’re the only ones who haven’t found it.
When I read stories about a real day in the life of a young mom or a middle ager working in a ‘regular’ job, usually written with grace and humor, I want to shout hoorah. It’s time for brutal honesty and to embrace our lives just as they are. There is nothing wrong with ‘real life’ as we know it. Too many of us are racing through life waiting for happiness to be there waiting for us in some imagined future. But now is our future and every moment a treasure. Happiness will be recognized when we understand that we aren’t missing out on anything. It’s all an illusion tied to our self-judgment.
It’s a well known fact that we’re much harder and less forgiving of ourselves than we would be of anyone else. We judge our every thought, action and word. We fear judgment of others which could never be as tough as what we inflict on ourselves. We’ve forgotten that self acceptance is our natural state and it wishes to reside within us and replace the judgment that has stolen it’s rightful place.
Self-judgment also stems from our belief systems which have been internalized during our lives. It’s okay to look at these old belief systems and question each and every one. Some may have some validity in your life, but how many are really the beliefs of others and no longer serve us? Possibly they never did.
I quote Martha Beck’s closing paragraph of her article when she invites us to:
…learn to disbelieve the media hype. Listen for the wiser, deeper, inner voice that tells you to relax, to melt open, to stop. Once you try it, you won’t believe what you’ve been missing.
O Magazine, June 2013.