Recently an ex boyfriend of a successful actress declared in an interview that she used black magic and was violent. The post was put on social media. Surprisingly many men supported her while women commentated that she was a “psycho.”
Working mom and a close friend of mine Soumya Shankar went to her school reunion and met her old girl students there. Most of them were housewives and only one was working but didn’t have any children. While the mothers judged the working woman, my friend judged them all saying, “How can these women just sit at home and look after their husbands and cater to their families all day? Don’t they want to do something more with their life?” And when asked about the woman who was truly successful at her work she said, “Haan but then she’s sacrificed having children. She’ll never know the pleasure of being a mom.”
We are constantly bombarded with images of perfect women in magazines, the film industry, and various different sectors. These women have successfully managed their careers and their home life perfectly while looking like a million bucks. The media has planted the image of what a perfect woman should be in most of our minds. This remains in our subconscious so that when we meet women, our immediate reaction is to judge them according to that image.
How do we judge women?
Even while we don’t compare normal, ordinary women to the glamour industry, women most often gossip about each other. Some of the things they might say could be: She’s become so fat. She does nothing with her life even after studying so much. She’s so aggressive. Her hair cut is terrible. She’s got such negative energy. She doesn’t even know how to cook. What an awful attire she’s wearing. She looks tired, she should do something about those dark circles. She keeps blowing up her husband’s money. Obviously she slept her way to that position. Of course her husband would leave her; who would stay with someone who doesn’t want to give time to her husband? She works so hard that her children will suffer and become these brats. Look at how she dresses, it’s shocking.
Housewife Jyotsna Kirloskar says, “Sometimes I participate in judging women to fit in to a group. If I don’t, I’ll be a loner because everyone talks about each other.” We women have all known to say something about another woman deliberately and sometimes involuntarily. It could also be that there is truly nothing else to talk about. Sometimes it’s just a reaction to someone saying something about us as well.
Where did it come from?
We have seen our mothers, grandmothers, aunts sit around and gossip about family members and other women. Sometimes we do it to build our own self esteem that we’re good enough. Most times we compare ourselves to other women to judge where we stand in life. And we tick mark the things in our invisible list of how to be successful that we have been able to achieve. Loving family, respect, appreciation, healthy body, good children, loyal husband, fat bank balance, powerful designations, etc. If in our head we’ve achieved the things we believe should define a woman or are at least trying to, then we judge other women for not following in those footsteps.
What is the harm anyway?
Gitali Chatterji, Senior Psychologist at Inner Space Counselling believes that when you’re judging somebody you get a temporary sense of happiness by comparing yourself. “It’s actually survival of the fittest. Everyone else is competition, everyone wants to be number one. Hence they judge to put the other person down and themselves higher in this evolutionary perspective. Self-reflection is rare. If you self-reflect and are absolutely honest you can take a step back and analyse is there a personal need that is unmet? And then you can develop that rather than judge.”
Most judgements of others are ego strategies to avoid uncomfortable feelings. (www.tinybuddha.com)
Constant judging could lead to a personality disorder that could lead to emotional distress, anti-social behaviour or anxiety amongst other serious problems. Judging other women will lead to unhappiness, comparison and self-deprecation. Your behaviour, attitude and words will teach younger adults and children to perpetuate stereotypes and continue with the judgements and negativity.
It could also lead to a false sense of pride, arrogance and inflated ego that could crumble later in life leaving you with extreme depression. When we judge, we also compare and subconsciously compete. This fills us with expectations about ourselves and our lives, which when not actualised could lead to great disappointment.
Bestselling Author Chuck Palahniuk says, “We’ve spent so much time judging what other people created that we’ve created very, very little on our own.”
What Can we Do About it?
1. Stop feeling envious or resentful – Understand where it is coming from – loneliness, being scared, anger, and insecurity. If you’re a shy person you might look at a woman and say “She’s so loud!” Or if you see a person with a happy marriage and you’re suffering you might say, “I’m sure he’s cheating on her.” Acknowledge what they have and what you don’t and abstain from judging either. Say to yourself, I refuse to comment. I let go of this thought.
2. Keep yourself occupied – Most times an idle mind is a devil’s workshop. When you are busy trying to learn something new, reading, or have a goal in mind you will stop spending so much energy in judging people and focus on yourself.
3. Consciously Stay Away from Commenting – Many women friends meet to gossip and comment on others. Try to stay away from these connections since you get sucked in to fitting in or speaking ill as well. Or you can try to change the topic to something everyone enjoys and discuss new ideas. Find friends who will inspire you, motivate you, teach you, listen, discuss and move you. Not just those who may gossip when you have free time.
4. Realise it may not be your own thoughts – Access Consciousness states that 99% of the time our thoughts are not ours and they belong to something in the Universe that we can neutralise and send back. Like energy around us, we remove these thoughts, feelings and send them back to where they came from without it settling into our subconscious and become free of judgements. “Consciousness and Oneness includes everything and judges nothing. It’s the ability to be present in your life in every moment without judgement of you or anyone else.” (www.accessconsciousness.com )
Gitali concludes that “Every person’s path of self-discovery is different. There is a need that is not fulfilled within. So even when you do compare and judge, find the thing that’s lacking in you and be inspired rather than put down that person.”