What do I need to tell you, before you’ll judge me..?
Three and a half months ago a friend of mine made the most courageous, bold and stupidly-timed decision of her life. Had it ended there it might be a simple story of turning a new page and learning from mistakes made, however my friend is suffering for her choices. Not by the choice she made directly, but by the people around her. People that were not a party to the choice, were not involved in the day-to-day life around the choice, and that should, in theory at least, accept she made her decision based on her happiness and long-term emotional health. They have chosen, painfully, to judge and punish her.
My friend, B, significantly altered the path that her life was going down a month after I similarly altered mine. She was unhappy. She either hid it well or we were blinded by our own feelings towards her future. Whichever it truly was the fact is she was unhappy, and was about to embark on a long-run of unhappiness.
She fought hard to create the life she has dreamt of since childhood (a commonly-used phrase I know but in the case of B this is true; her dream-life has looked only one way since childhood). To the outside observer it seemed she was maintaining her dream life. To her she was a puppet of her own show.
I myself was a close, at times ‘inside’, observer of her life at the time but, blinded by the show, my own feelings, and my own mini-dramas at the time, my eyes were closed to seeing or seeking the truth happening with her. I watched and accepted the show in front of me and moved on with my life.
Now she is personally moving forward, happier, with the life-changing choice behind her and the path in front of her a lot less painful-looking, anxiety-ridden, and emotionally lonely. Others, unfortunately, are taking longer to accept her happiness is key in her own life. The alternative being that she is unhappy with her life I am, as time goes on, becoming more baffled by the judgement she’s still living with.
She spent so many years on a pedestal created by others, landing on her feet with dignity and heart after each obstacle. She was golden to many, and loved by lots. To a select few she was placed on the pedestal at a young age and B worked hard to keep up with their expectations it seemed. It is those few that now punish her in a way that has knocked her clean from her tower and cast her into the shadows. A place she has never really landed before.
B is an incredible person. But she’s just a person. She is flawed uniquely, like we all are. She has strength and conviction that some have never witnessed in a person of her age, she also has negative points too, as every single person living and dead does, some big others small – it can be stated ‘each to their own’ on placing them in either category if that’s what ‘floats your boat’ so to speak but it is always important to remember that judgement opens you up to judgement. Judge others and you expect to be judged, because you welcomed it into your life. (A slightly somber-sounding note from the author there; whoops lets bring it back to the happy-track)
The question I can’t help thinking of whenever this particular issue is worded being should she be punished for her negatives because of the expectations of those that chose to promote her positives so vocally?
She didn’t walk up to the pedestal at a young age and claim that she wanted to live on it. She behaved in a way in front of certain people that they liked at that time. Because of this, over time, her pedestal seemed too high to touch. One, again ‘stupidly-timed’, decision to be happy caused a Jenga-effect knocking her from the high-ground she never asked to be on in the first place. And now she is punished. By the people that meant so much if not the most to her.
It draws me to thinking if I allow others to know more of me, on here perhaps and in daily life, how long until I am judged. How long until my honesty is punishable.
B knows she made the right choice. Us around her now know she made the right choice. She chose happiness over unhappiness, plain and simple. As for the people currently judging her I am hoping they eventually see she made the right decision and choose acceptance. Acceptance that her life is her own, that her happiness is her own mission and one that only she has control over. I worry about what will happen if they never do. How long it takes could cause irreparable damage to a relationship they each cherished. To punish a person for choosing to be happy in their own life brought a new twinge of fear to me for any future choices I make in the pursuit of my own happiness.
On the flip-side however I did make my own choice in happiness, and I came out smiling brighter than my face thought possible. I chose my own happiness regardless of what others thought or any explanations I would have to go through after, the fact that it seems now that people are fully behind me and have been all along is a nice surprise but not important to changing my smile. I knew I made the right choice therefore whether they saw it or not was of no concern to me. It wasn’t actually a factor to me until this happened to B. She chose her own happiness and is being judged and punished for the fact that it doesn’t look to others the way it appeared before.
Perhaps the key is not allowing others the opportunity to hurt you with their judgement. One quote I love that this situation reminds me of also happens to be one of my favourites; “What other people think of you is none of your business”. Simple, direct and to the point. Also completely true when it comes to personal happiness, in my opinion. When someone offers you a gift and you refuse to take it, that gift belongs to its original owner – the same applies with negativity; if you don’t accept it, it’s not yours.
I hope how much I want people to be happy comes across on here. Judgement is only as important to you as you allow it to be. In the case of B it had shaken her after a difficult situation that had already stripped her to her core, however she is more powerful and fragile than people may think. Knowing you are doing what makes you personally happy makes the powerful more powerful, and the fragile side of things I guess will always be a work in progress. One thing at a time.