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Day 75: Judgements and Contradictions

December 28, 2023

People are profoundly weird.

A friend of mine once said this and it stuck with me as both funny and true.

Take me for example. I wrote yesterday about being an over-thinker and about how I quite like thinking deeply about things but I also fear others find me annoying because of it.

I have loved writing this blog because it fed my need to think deeply about the topic of joyful living but every day as I hit “publish”, I worried about making a nuisance of myself, and as a result have only shared links to 24 of my 75 posts on social media.

I imagine people who’ve known me since childhood reading that and rolling their eyes. “Sure, she says she worries about being annoying but if she really wanted to avoid being annoying, why did she publish the thing online in the first place? She could have written it in a journal or something. She so clearly doesn’t care whether or not she’s annoying! She so obviously just wants attention!”

They’re right, of course. It doesn’t make sense.

What does this have to do with joy?

As I wrote yesterday, judgement – whether of ourselves or others – cuts us off from joy, and one thing that is sure to get us judging is when people’s words and actions hold contradiction.

“Well, if they don’t want X, why are they doing Y?”

“Well, if X was so important to them, they should have done Y but they didn’t!”

As a coach, a huge part of my job is to help people make sense of these contradictions and figure out how to move forward towards the things they want without blowing up the path to progress, and the thing that always hits me when we uncover these contradictions is how they’re actually very easy to make sense of once you delve into them deeply enough.

I say all this because I think we’re very hard on ourselves when these contradictions arise and I think we’re hard on other people too, but when we’re quick to judge we miss opportunities to connect, learn and understand – and there are few greater joys than having someone meet you in your messy contradictions and take the time to figure out how to accept them.

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