Last week, I experienced a bit of disappointment over an outsider’s judgment. Several years ago, I came to terms with the fact that some people will understand what we have been through, and others simply will not. I brought myself to the place where I didn’t really care what anyone else felt or thought about my situation. I forgave myself for choosing dysfunction and worked through the host of other issues associated with that choice. Then, I moved forward.
Part of my momentum had to do with the fact that I chose to take other’s beliefs and thoughts out of the equation. There is a fairly accurate saying about opinions, what they are like, and how everyone has one. So I came to realize that as long as I clung to what those who were not “in the know” might think, I could not do what was necessary to thrive. However, because we do not operate in a vacuum, from time to time, regardless of our resolve, the opinions or judgments of others may influence our feelings.
Ultimately, I suppose, whether or not we allow another person to make us feel bad is our choice, but the truth is that there will probably be moments, when perhaps we feel vulnerable or exposed, that another’s words or actions may simply leave us feeling lousy. When negative feelings strike, they may hit hard because what we encountered was so personal. Naturally, we have all encountered judgment at one time or another, but there is something about this that is different to me. We may find the closed minded, often ridiculous, opinions of others highly offensive.
What just happened?
For some reason, my recent brush with judgment got the best of me. For a few days after the occurrence, I felt as though I was functioning on automatic pilot, doing what had to be done, but still stunned, almost like a little bird who resumes flying after hitting a glass window. The incident began innocently enough, I think, with a quick question regarding something I had written about psychopathy. As I answered, I felt as though I was viewed as being “flawed” for allowing myself to have had such an experience.
Were my feelings accurate? Who knows for certain. Perhaps they were. Maybe they were not. However, I am able to interpret what is happening around me appropriately, so I say they were. Initially, I was disappointed in the individual for being unenlightened. I was also unhappy with myself for allowing someone’s ignorance on the subject to influence me. Either way, I walked away from the interaction feeling unhappy and a little frustrated.
Within a few days, I brought myself back around to the “good place.” I reminded myself that we are all different and that not everyone is able to understand psychopathy as we would like. I thought back to my earlier days, prior to my experience with an individual with psychopathic traits. Would I have passed judgment if I heard only bits and pieces of a story like mine? Unfortunately, I may have. Why is that? Well, I am positive that my imagination could not have conjured up the facts that became my reality. It’s not something most can relate to.
Creating good from bad
The more I thought about this, the more I realized that my feelings were probably not unique. I figured that if I occasionally struggle with such feelings, others may, as well. As a result, I created a short list of ways that can help remedy such feelings when they arise, or even prevent them from occurring.
Be kind to yourself. Make every effort not to engage in negative thoughts.
Do something nice for yourself. Promote wellness by doing things that make you feel good or that you enjoy.
Talk to a trusted friend or therapist. Try not isolate yourself, but talk to those who understand.
Simply expect to encounter some individuals, from time to time, who believe that your involvement was your choice, thus your fault. Some cannot comprehend the degree to which these individuals lie, con, and manipulate.
Accept that there will be some individuals who will not ever understand your position. Protect yourself from their views.
Try to learn something valuable from the experience. Determine what you learned and create a plan for future situations. If you walk away from a negative with a positive, then the encounter was not all bad.
Try not to dwell. Allow yourself to feel, but then release the negative feelings.
Hopefully, these help.