Ram Dass said “If you think you’re enlightened, go and spend a week with your family.”
To me these are indeed words of wisdom. I was raised in a family in which judgements and shame were handed down to me with such certainty, I believed them. Simply being me was not good enough so I tried to be perfect in their hardened eyes, but that was an unreachable goal with no finish line. It took me a long time to realise the extent to which their constant criticism was more destructive than constructive, and also so much more about them than it was about me.
As humans are we perfect? Everyone is and everyone also isn’t, so why do we feel the need to point the latter out? It only encourages us to hide our real selves with all of the fear, and all of the shame, behind a mask or many, such as that of perfectionism. I unconsciously must have worn every mask possible. I started out as the cute, family mascot. However, in some families lightening the mood is a hard role to keep up, and you are not taken seriously, so you are not listened to. I gave that up and played the soft spoken lost child, totally ungrounded and lonely, but I had a cat, a terrapin and other four-legged friends. As I’ve mentioned, I handed over my power to play being “perfect” but I have also stood firmly in the spotlight of shame to star as the unhinged, tattooed, gay, vegan, over sentimental, foolish… family scapegoat. By choosing to perform these parts, I was sentencing myself to a lonely life without real intimacy. We abandon our true selves, to play exhausting roles, all in the hope we’ll stay safe; that we will get a reprieve. The irony is that in doing so we lose connection and real love, and the opportunity for healing to occur. We stay small and deny life.
Why judge anyone ever? What do we want to achieve by this? Does it help us to feel seconds of separateness and superiority, before our crazy mind flickers to the next thought? The plant or animal kingdom do not waste their life force energy on judging. Let’s not judge ourselves for judging, we all do it, but could we do so from a compassionate place of self love? Who do you judge? What is it you judge in others? Is it the very same you are either judging or repressing in yourself? Could you accept it? Could you love it? Could you cradle it like a newborn, and welcome it into your wholeness? Why would we ever choose judgement over love?
What would happen if you were so truly you that you never judged yourself, never judged anyone again? Authenticity wipes out the judgers. When it speaks loudly and clearly, they run out of your life. Or, with loving power, you find you have the courage to walk out of theirs. Egos judge love as too simple, but when you accept the vast expansiveness of this universe with its myriad perspectives, your heart laughs at the blinkered black and white, good and bad judgements thrown around with such apparent authoritativeness. How would you feel if no-one ever judged you again? And if they did, it glided swiftly right through your wide open heart and out of the other side. This is the freedom love brings.
Have you experienced similar dynamics in your family? What emotions do you feel around family members?