It is exhausting. Keeping tabs on people, making sure they are behaving themselves and not doing something that they shouldn’t be.
I’m not talking about parenting. I’m talking about monitoring the behaviour of your friends and family. Because if you aren’t there looking over their shoulder to keep them on the straight and narrow, then who will?
It may sound ridiculous, but it is easy enough to find ourselves in that space, even if it is just for a little while. We watch other people’s lives as spectators, seeing where and how they fall short, and not living up to what they hoped for. When they don’t reach their dreams or achieve their goals, failing in the process, we secretly (or not so secretly) judge them from the safety of the sidelines.
Judging other people’s behaviour can feel good in the moment, but it is exhausting. Partly because you have to keep track of them, but also you need to ensure that you don’t act in the same way so that when you judge, you can feel ‘morally superior’.
I’m encouraging you to give yourself a break from that. Take some time away from it, because here is what I have discovered…
We judge because we are afraid. The mistakes that we fear making are the areas in which we are the most judgemental of others. This leads to inaction and stagnation.
So, lay off other people and face your fear. Try that thing you have been afraid to say out loud. It is such a better use of time and energy, and it may just lead to something amazing.
People make mistakes. All of us do. It’s a fact of life. How we respond to those mistakes will either allow us to create something great out of them or it will define us.
Many people give their money generously to a vast amount of charities. When people give, they have an expectation that the money will be used wisely to create a positive impact in a certain area of the world.
Sometimes those expectations are not met and the positive impact is not created, in fact it can actually cause a negative result. I have seen this often with international development. When organisations work in developing countries to fight against poverty a program that they implement with the intention of doing good can backfire and create harm. I’ve heard of projects where the experts convinced local farmers to change their crops, so they could grow more of another type of food which would increase their income. In the end the new crop didn’t produce anywhere near what was predicted, so the farmers were left with less than they would have if they didn’t change, and what they did harvest, nobody wanted to purchase because there was no demand.
That is bad development. But it’s not the end of the story. If we allow it, by being open and honest when things don’t work out, bad development can be the stepping stone to good development then great development and then life transformation.
It’s the same in everyday life. A mistake doesn’t have to be fatal, in fact it can be the greatest thing to ever happen because it brings learning and a fresh perspective.