Sunday, January 17, 2016

Learning To Be Less Judgmental

I have no hesitation in admitting that being judgmental is one of my negative qualities. I know in the past it has cost me a couple of friendships and in general, it just isn't a nice thing to be. Dr. Wayne Dyer had a few quotes about judging others, one of which was, "When you judge another, you do not define them; you define yourself." 

I tried very hard during the past couple of years to curb the urge to judge or say smack about someone behind their back; I'd be successful for a while and could keep my opinion to myself and then would slip back into it. But this past Christmas, a conversation with my niece really did open my eyes and enabled me to stop it. (I'm pretty sure none of my family members read this blog; they don't even read my other one but if at some point it seems they are, I may have to delete this post just in case.)

My niece is ten years younger than I am and I will admit that there was a period I was envious of her. She has always seemed to have a boyfriend starting from when she was in high school, to when she was living in different parts of country, and during 2015 she announced at least three times on Facebook that she was "in a relationship." However, each of these and any subsequent evidence of a romance like photos, etc. would eventually get deleted. So, I knew deep down that something was off...but without knowing any of the facts I assumed she was to blame for the relationship failures. I thought that she was pressuring the guys right away for a commitment, or that maybe her 7 year-old son was acting up around them and they were deciding they didn't like the possibility of eventually becoming a stepdad. But, none of this was the case at all. 

I spent the most time Christmas Day talking with her than any other family member. What I found out is that at least three of her past boyfriends cheated on her, including the father of her son, who is not only still dating the woman he betrayed her with, but has recently began dating a second woman. A guy she lived with in Florida years ago (whose name was Don) earned the nickname "Don Juan Marco" because he was sleeping with several girls on Marco Island while he was living with my niece. 

Another guy that she lived with up here a couple of years ago also cheated on her...after she gave him thousands of dollars to help fix up his house she was sharing with him at the time. She never got the money back. 

There's no obvious reason for any of these guys to cheat on my niece. She's 6 feet tall and gorgeous; she was once approached by a scout from a modeling agency when she lived in Florida but didn't pursue it because they wanted her to lose 20 pounds which would have made her dangerously underweight. She's very sweet and treats guys extremely well; buying them gifts and spending lots of time with them. It's not like she's not giving them attention or not having sex with them. She also doesn't introduce her son to a boyfriend unless they've been dating for a while. 

The latest guy that she was on-again, off-again with (and now currently off) has two young children with an ex-girlfriend he did not marry, but who is making his life (and started to make my niece's life) hell. My niece told me that his ex-girlfriend cheated on him and left him and the two kids, but refuses to move on despite having a new boyfriend. She damaged his car and my niece is worried that her car will get vandalized as well, although that's the least of the friction she was experiencing with him in this relationship. He told her a strange story about getting mugged by a guy at his gym that took $300 cash from him right before Christmas and neither she nor my brother believe the story. 

She's been going to a special surgical training school since September that only accepts something like 16 students annually (where she watches all kinds of operations and medical procedures taking place; something I know I could never do), so she's going to concentrate on finishing it this year and getting a job in he medical field. 

We had a long talk and it included the law of attraction. I gently explained to her that there could be something she's feeling or putting out there that's attracting the wrong men back to her. She agreed with me and said part of it was that she lives in my brother's basement instead of her own place and she doesn't feel so worthy these days on account of her living situation and not having a career. She said she does have this fantasy of someone swooping in and providing her with financial support. I reminded her that she's obviously working towards that goal and she won't always be living with my brother; there will come a day she'll have enough saved to buy her own home. 

She's done things in the past that I and other family members shook our heads at -- such as getting a huge tattoo on her back and spending money on other things that some might think is wasteful. But after my talk with her on Christmas Day, I really didn't care about any of that any more. It isn't any of my business what people choose to spend their money on -- and being out of work myself but still going out, I have no right to say anything. 

I reminded her, too, that's there's nothing wrong with being single -- and it's far better to be alone for the right reasons than to be with someone for the wrong ones. She totally agreed with me. 

Usually when you're judging you don't often know the whole story, and all of the facts. Of course I know that now, and have been getting really better at minding my own business.

1 comment:

  1. I believe you're mainly right, Pam, about trying not to judge and then interfere in the lives of relatives. Yet, it is still very tempting to do so, human nature being what it is when we see people we know (even partially) doing things to hurt themselves, and then think that giving them advice will help. Sometimes it does, but it can also cause resentment to develop, which can then touch off a family feud.
    My side of the family tree is impoverished while my mom's youngest sister is rich and has two sons (my cousins) who were able to go to college and become what they wanted in life. I am somewhat envious of them, but my aunt has done many things to my mom since their father died that were hurtful and which revolved around money and selfishness. So now there hasn't been any civil communication between us and them for several years. And these were people I knew well when I was growing up.
    I used to want to be involved, and was involved, but I'm not going to put myself in a position where I end up getting hurt anymore. I have attempted to sound out some sort of reconciliation, but it hasn't worked. The damage was done long ago. We have to accept the fact and move on with our lives. And there really are people out there who are incapable of admitting they have wronged someone. They think that hiding in their religion makes them justified in being a hypocrite.


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