Do We Judge Others’ Because We Dislike Ourselves?
October 15, 2018 (posting November 7, 2018)
I work with a lot of people who have dissonance between what they want out of their lifestyle, career, relationship, or health, and what they have become or are expected/pressured to be. Then, they project outward or judge others.
I use Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT tapping) and homeopathy to help each person discharge emotions and have the power to step into the life they want–without feeling judged. I have been observing in different cultures and situations how people subtly judge, and wanted to write a bit about it today.
I went to an event outside of Dublin called “Hammered Hiking.” It was advertised as a walk to a local pub, a 4-hour challenging hike through the hills, a brief stop at another pub, then a walk back to the meeting location. It sounded like a lovely way to meet some people in a casual atmosphere. What surprised me was the number of people in the group who did not drink. It came up in casual conversation as someone passed around a small flask, and three of the 10 of us did not drink at all. We got into an amazing and eye-opening conversation about judgements and social expectations of others. The question all the “non-drinkers” have been asked/hassled about/judged around: Why don’t you drink?
You Don’t Drink Alcohol?
It’s a question I have heard myself. When I traveled to California and was on a detox, people were astounded I would go there and not have any wine. “What? We are near Napa! You can’t go home without having a glass of wine with me!” I also was asked by a couple of people if I was pregnant. Because WHY would I CHOOSE not to drink? The women I was with were astounded to see that I danced, laughed, and engaged as much or even more than if I had been drinking. I know people who will carry around drinks at parties and pretend they are drinking in order to deflect the social pressure. There can be a strong undercurrent of judgement as well. I.e. If you don’t drink, you must have a Problem with drinking. (If someone is respecting themselves and the others around them by honoring their choice of sobriety, we should be applauding them, not judging them!!)
Others look for a Reason beyond just the fact that one doesn’t want to drink that day/week/month/ever. My clients and friends report having to make excuses (I have to drive, I’m not feeling well, I’m on a detox, it interacts with my medication, I’m trying to lose weight, etc.) for it to be socially acceptable not to drink. One friend of mine in Minneapolis quipped, “if I say I’m not drinking alcohol, people wonder why and judge me. If I say I’m straight-edge, I’m a cool part of the culture.”
One person in the hiking group said “I feel split from myself when I am drinking. I don’t like that feeling.” Another woman just doesn’t like the taste of alcohol. Both of them reported being pressured to drink over and over. As if the people they were with were not comfortable unless everyone is drinking. One said, “I don’t pressure others not to drink because I’m not. Why do they feel they should pressure me to drink?”
Here’s What You Should Eat
I hear the same thing said about food judgments. I know a woman who has an extremely high metabolism who has a hard time gaining weight. People say things such as: “Really, you are just going to eat a salad?” “You’re so skinny-why don’t you eat a sandwich!” With the increased allergies in our society, the people with serious food allergies versus just intolerances are not always taken seriously. “Oh, you’re one of THOSE gluten-free people.”
Maybe We Can Try Being Supportive First
Why do we judge and make these negative sounding comments towards people for their choices instead of being supportive? Are we trying to feel better about our own habits and choices? I know in Minnesota we have a mentality where we have to offer food or drinks of any sort over and over again to feel hospitable. “Are you sure you don’t want anything?” I have friends who don’t like chocolate. They get comments like, “who doesn’t like CHOCOLATE! That’s _(insert word of choice).”
Being A Judge is Tiring
I really think that we don’t realize we are making comments that are negative and tiring to others. Perhaps we think we are being playful. Regardless, the words we say have an impact on others. My challenge for myself and for you this week is to watch how you engage with people about their choices. Are the words you are using implying judgement or support?
If you are ready to make changes in your life and let go of the emotional and social ties around it, send me a message and we will set up a complimentary 30-minute talk to explore how I can help you. I provide a safe, non-judgmental space for you to share and heal. I look forward to our conversation.
P.S. Comment below to share other ways you observe judgement in everyday conversation.
This really hits home for me. I don’t drink because of religious beliefs. I don’t believe in partaking of anything that will impair me in any way or has the potential to be addictive. I always feel like I’m the oddball when every women’s gathering involves wine. (“Who doesn’t like wine?!? – Me, for one!) It’s important to respect everyone’s right to choose for themselves and not pressure them.
Thank you for that feedback! Yes, it is interesting the pressure we put on others to drink. I have noticed it more and more over the years as I watch people’s behaviors and interactions at events for my own research on touch.
I’m a non-drinker and I totally understand the feeling of judgement. I’ve usually responded with “yeah I’m crazy enough without it”. I don’t like how it makes me feel. But reflecting on your blog post above, I realise that I really shouldn’t have to justify why I don’t drink. Even if I know I can see their mind whirling away trying to find the right label for me such as; pregnant, recovering alcoholic, allergic, boring etc.
Many, many years ago I used to attend business functions with a glass of wine/champagne in my hands just to stop people from offering me a drink. Finally, I learned to carry a bottle of water or ask the bartender for a glass of cranberry juice just to have THAT in my hand to avoid people offering me a drink.
I didn’t want to tell people that I break out in hives all over my body after drinking (very allergic to alcohol, even some cold medicines that have some alcohol in it or some perfumes cause me to break out in hives)- besides the fact that I don’t care for the taste of drinks with spirits in them.
Thankfully, I got to the point where I can just say “No thank you!” and move on. Maybe it’s because I’ve worked on myself so much and now don’t care what people think or maybe it’s because of the group of people I hang out with is more compassionate. Whatever the reason, it’s nice to be true to who I am and also nice to be attracting people that love and accept me just the way I am.
Great blog post!!!
I guess most of my friends don’t drink much, because I can’t remember the last time this has happened to me. I know the first time it happened…When I went to college. I visited different fraternities and never drank. It was part of my test to see who wanted to get to know me for me and who would allow me to be myself. After more than a semester, I found a group of friends that made me feel “safe” (as safe as you can at a fraternity), and I allowed myself to have wine. It’s a good point, though, that many people don’t realize they are pressuring others by the words that they use. Thanks for the reminder!
Interesting conversation, Dawn. Most of my friends are non drinkers and the issue hasn’t come up in years. Whether it’s alcohol or food issues, I believe the bigger issue is the reason people would feel the need to question or pressure another person’s choices. Accepting people for who they are and where they are is what I try to practice.
Great point Nancy, and something I also strive for.
Self-healing is a great way to move through it! I’m so glad you have found resolution AND that you help others do the same!
Thank you! Respect is so important, and hopefully others will learn to be more gracious around their words.
I’ve gone through bouts of choosing not to drink and it was eye-opening how many comments I heard about it. I love that you tackled this subject.. and also addressed it beyond alcohol. I’ve heard it about food, exercise, and weight loss. So many areas. I’ve found people are often uncomfortable when others engage in behavior that is different beyond what they think is the norm and don’t know how to cope. I’ve also felt like maybe they want to do something different but don’t know how. It’s made me have a bit more grace.