We all sit in judgement of each other, whether we admit to it or not. I'm learning, very slowly, how much better love is than judgement, but criticizing is so much easier. It's easy to be negative and hard to be positive. The path of least resistance is popular because it's so damn simple. Taking the high road requires character and maturity and bravery, and it's very lonely, steep and terrifying.
I want to take the high road. In my mind, I choose it over the low road of gossip, sniping and meanness. I recognize that the cost is high, but it's the only thing that changes me and makes me better. Every time I avoid judging someone, in my head or with my words, I make myself just a little bit kinder and more loving. And it's not simply a surface improvement, but it goes deep and alters something in my character.
I need a lot of character adjustments. By nature, I am a nasty person; superior in some ways and hideously inferior in others, and my low self esteem causes me to lash out at those who are more beautiful, intelligent, nice or anything at all that I perceive to be something I am not. For years I have been working on improving myself, but I either didn't recognize how deep the work had to go, or I became skittish and backed off when things got too personal.
This time around, everything feels personal, and my thick skin has been reduced to open flesh where I feel exposed and vulnerable, as though I can't protect anything. I think it's important for my writing, to really understand this kind of vulnerability, but on a day to day basis it has stripped me of many of my protection devices, and I'm finding that I have a unique opportunity to really grow and change.
I want to keep struggling through this, if it means I'm getting closer to laying some of these old ghosts to rest. I used to be the most critical person anyone had ever met. Think of someone ultra-judgemental, now make them just a little bit worse, and you would have me. I've come a long way since my teens and early twenties, but I still have a good distance to travel, and I think I'm learning right now how hard it is to genuinely love and accept, instead of mock and condemn.
I've taken the easy way for too much of my life. I'm approaching the halfway point now, and I want to chisel away what's left of the hate and the fear, and replace it, deep down, with the kind of love that only God can provide, in me and through me. The cost is high, but like anything, practice makes perfect. Every day, I have more chances to choose love and kindness instead of the road that feels more familiar. I won't beat myself up for the mistakes, but will ask forgiveness and move on to the next opportunity to choose love instead of judgement.