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The thing about judging others..and how to stop.

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“Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are.”

The thing about judging others is that it says more about you, than it does about them. This quote above was one of those A-HA moments when it first landed in my life via Facebook. It really started me thinking about the default state of judgement, if we stop and witness our thoughts for a few hours they are often filled with instant and fleeting judgements of others, and ourselves!

Since becoming a Mother a whole new world of judgement has opened up around me, and frankly it makes me sad. Parenting is already one of the most challenging roles we will ever be gifted. It is filled with such an intense mix of ups and downs, it is exhausting and at the same time filled with elation. We are hard enough on ourselves without also being subjected to parenting judgement from others, least of all strangers!

I always knew that I would be a Mother, and the type of Mother I would be. I also knew that I would never judge another Mother for the way that she chose to parent. It seems that I am in the minority on this stance.

There is nothing sacred as a parent, nothing out of bounds in terms of scrutiny. I found myself at the extreme end of the spectrum last weekend, with an irate pair of 4 year olds as I dragged them from a movie theatre mid session. After many attempts to politely ask them to cease with the crawling up and down the aisles amidst giggles and yelling I was left with no choice but to vacate the area. The amount of silent staring, disgusted looks and zero words of empathy from the packed theatre forced my hand. I had never felt so alone as a parent.

Prior to the monumental meltdown was the warm up..at the cafe where I mistakenly thought that an innocent baby-cino together was risk free. During what I thought was a fairly average exchange of laughter, the words ‘bum’ and ‘poo’ and other 4 year old boy banter, we were being observed by a lone woman at the next table, and by observed I mean stared down! It became obvious that she came to the busy shopping centre to escape something in her own life, and we were interrupting her alone time. Of course I understand and support alone time, I am all about the importance of self care, especially after this past weekend! However, I draw the line at projecting our own inner state outwardly.

At times it can seem near impossible to escape constant judgement. It does take a lot of self awareness to turn our focus inwards and acknowledge that judging others can sometimes be an unconscious act. Trust me though, when I say that living a life free of judgement is a life of more freedom and more JOY. If we can release the need to form an opinion and come back to a natural state of acceptance, we will free ourselves and others of the awful impact of judgement. Here are some ideas on how to live a life without judgement:

♡ Make a list of the ways in which you judge others, think about how these judgements would feel for you. Do you judge others on what they are wearing, their profession, where they live?

♡ During your day, try to observe the judgements that you inflict on yourself, these are often followed by harsh criticism. Do you judge the lines on your face, the way your hair looks, your body imperfections, the food you prepare, that treat you enjoyed after a hard day?

♡ Remember that we are all doing the best we can, ourselves included. YOU are the best parent for your children, mistakes and all. YOU are trying your hardest and life is not easy, everyone slips up every now and then.

♡ Try smiling at a parent who you notice is having a challenging time, if someone had smiled at me or shared a kind word last weekend it would have made such a huge difference to my experience.

♡ Stop and think before you speak, it only takes a minute of mindfulness to prepare words that are coming from a place of love, acceptance and respect rather than purely from judgement.

I would love to know if you have had an experience like mine, or if you have been able to ease up on  judgement of yourself and others xx

 

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A collection of wisdom from my old blog

FB cover June 2013

Reflecting on the blog that I am leaving behind prompted me to spend some time exploring the years of sharing that I poured wholeheartedly into Soulo Mamma. The inconsistency of my posts (I pledge to be far more frequent here!) I feel is far outweighed by the consistency of my authenticity and commitment to keeping it real.

There are pages and pages of my heart and soul laid bare, always with the same intention..to reach anyone and everyone who needed to know that they are not alone. The majority of those years I navigated the world as a newly single Mum, working several jobs and slowly creating a space from scratch for my precious little boy and I to call home. The tears, and the learnings, were monumental!

The ability to look back on a tragedy, a loss, a challenge of any sort and see through eyes that have healed, a heart that has been broken and patched up—this is the ability to grow and become a person who is shaped by the darkness.

So by taking this time to look back, gather some of the words I have shared, through eyes that have healed..I hope to grow just that little bit more, by opening my heart even further and reaching out. I hope that this collection of excerpts from my old blog make it to where they are needed most:

Self Care

It is OK to take time out from Motherhood, it is in fact more than just OK, it is a good idea. We were strong, amazing women before we were Mothers. Motherhood is of course my greatest role, but just like my other great roles, I take time out. I wouldn’t work for an entire year in any of my roles without taking some leave!

Depression

It’s OK to have days when you’re not OK.

HOPE is the sense of a better tomorrow, knowing that I will be able to put one foot in front of the other. Make it outside of my home, chase the dreams that are still alive. Raise a little person who knows about happiness, who remembers my laughter more often than my tears.

Depression is real, it just is. I am passionate about educating others, removing the stigma and ensuring that one day, nobody on this earth feels that ‘get a life’ is an appropriate response to someone sharing that they are living with depression.

Depression is not a sign of weakness.

Grief and Loss

The choice to regret or rejoice is not an easy one, and personally I think that letting go of something or someone is also a process that we need to explore at our own pace. To rejoice in what we have had during a time of loss is certainly a wonderful way to ensure that we can carry on with our precious memories and hope for the future.

An essential part of the grieving process is belongings, the essence of a person is in the things that they have left behind. Although we tend to dismiss ‘things’ as irrelevant it is these tangible pieces of our grieving that allow us to hold onto our memories and feel the person we are missing.

Forgiveness

She (my Naturopath) told me to try and send nothing but love and light to the people who have caused me pain…because holding onto and churning over my thoughts about the pain would only cause me more pain.

Parenting

Spending time, savouring the moments with our children, this is such an important part of their childhood, the real memory making. Our children will not remember the gifts that we buy them as much as they will remember the way that we made them feel in the moments spent together.

Single parenting is an achingly beautiful, complex and intense experience. As I have shared on several occasions, it was not my intention to parent alone. However it is a situation that I have embraced and now consider one of my very special life purposes.

Children give hospitals the most overwhelming sense of new life, they can clear a room of fear and loneliness with a little smile or giggle. I always make sure that the car is packed with extra bits and pieces for these visits, pencils and paper, activity books, favourite stories and toys. It is often the simple signs of life that can change the hospital experience for everyone.

Foods for Mental Health

The foods that I have found to assist me with my mood and to work alongside my medical treatment are those that provide slow release energy and those that are particularly good for the brain. I find that pasta is a real comfort for me, the carbohydrates seem to give me a sense of being “full” in the body and the mind. I also LOVE fresh salmon and combining this with foods that awaken my senses such as chilli, lemon, rocket and garlic.

Online Dating

Listen to your gut! Intuition is a wonderful thing, if you have a strong grasp on your own values and use your common sense then this will help to navigate your way through the complexities!

The Big Life Lessons

We only truly live if we put ourselves out there, and I mean right out there, in amongst the scary and the uncertain. Playing it safe is OK if you are happy existing, if you want to LIVE then you need to face your fears, fall, fall again and pick yourself up.

Being kind to others will lift you up. Possibly one of the most significant lessons and also one of my favourite personal wellbeing strategies, if you are stuck in your mucky funk, simply spread some kindness to others and it will change things for you, I promise!

Every little act of kindness makes a difference. The plans, projects and passions that we release into the world are shaping the future, for our children and their children. These passions are reaching people in the here and now too, providing hope where it is most needed and shining light into the darkness. Never underestimate your own power, your ability to make a difference.

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Welcome to: the art of joy

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Welcome! This word does not seem like quite enough to convey the warmth, the sincerity and the excitement with which I want to greet every single reader of this first post on my new passion project!

It has been many months of uncertainty combined with the deepest knowing that this must happen. The uncertainty that what I have to say does not matter, that nobody would want to hear from me, that I really had nothing to share that was not already being said.

In part it was Rach from In Spaces Between who convinced me that I did indeed have something meaningful to share (through her amazing blog hearted course!). Of course I knew in my heart that this was the case, there was just that little matter of my inner critic to quieten, usually easier said than done!

Blogging with authenticity, covering the very raw and personal topics that many avoid, this has always been my thing. It was over a year ago that the idea for a new space, a new passion project began to take shape in my mind. Life as a single Mother had given me more than 4 years of the most challenging and empowering chances to grow. My passion for kindness, charity and making a difference is almost at tipping point, and the ideas in my head drive me to overwhelm (in a good way) most days!

I have many hopes for this new space, and a lot of passion to turn those hopes into a great big vision including:

Sharing as many of the big and little lessons of parenting, single parenting and parenting with peace and passion.

Inspiring others to look deep into their dark times, their depression..to find the hidden meaning and the opportunity.

Building a safe, non judgemental community of big hearted humans who crave connecting and making a difference.

Finally creating the charity of my own that I have dreamed about, mapped out and talked about for years!

Growing and nurturing my own and others creative pursuits, in particular our photography.

Giving away as much JOY, hope and light as is humanly possible!

Thank YOU, sincerely.

For taking the time to soak in my words, please know that they are always released into the universe with the purest of intentions.