Of shoe sizes and pinches

Happy New Year!!! It is 2015! Just another 15 years to the realization (part or nought?) of the much mentioned Vision2030 in our lovely country of Kenya. Yeah, I am aware that it is already 3 weeks into the new year. But new it still is… And thus I begin my 2015 ranting.

Did you ever realize that your day tends to follow the pattern of your thoughts as you started out? Or is it just me? On a morning that you might be feeling like crap you may declare “This day is probably going to be pretty crappy”. And what do you get? You guessed it, crap!
Stub your toe as you walk to your shower, switch on the light and there’s no power so cold shower it will be, get to the bus stop just as a bus is pulling out and you have to wait another 30min….the stone gathers a moss of crap through the day and it seems you attract it everywhere you go. On another morning you may wake up on the so-called “right side” of the bed and stretch out with a smile declaring it will be a lovely day! And sure enough everything – ok let’s be real, even on lovely days not everything and everyone is peachy – most things seem to work in your favor. The usually grumpy guard greets you cheerily, the elevator opens just as you get there, your boss gives you a pat on the back. It does turn out to be a lovely day.

Some have called it the law of attraction. The bestselling book “The Secret” talks about it in detail. They say we tend to attract what we focus on or think about. So if you’re positive in essence you attract positive things, positive people, positive vibes. And the same for negativity, negative attracts negative. I believe there’s a lot of truth in that and that in the same way I can determine what kind of day I have by setting my attitude in the morning, I can decide how my year will be by setting attitudes at the beginning of the year; in January. As I start out this year I’m setting my attitude to one of non-judgment and understanding. Why? Read on…

My husband and I are expecting to expand our currently 2 member family in a few days (or weeks, since they come when they come). Like many pregnant women and budding parents do my reading list over the last few months has changed drastically to include a lot of research on pregnancy, birth and all things parenting, which includes blogs and Facebook Pages. Not advisable to start reading in the office because reading one comment or question fast becomes like opening a can of worms, each leads to five more. Anyway, there’s a page I am a member of where anyone is allowed to post a question or share their thoughts and seek advice. Almost every week some of the conversations degenerate into a war zone and insults get thrown around and at the end of it I’m not sure if the person feels helped or judged as an unfit human being let alone unfit parent. Instead of advice and in some cases compassion what advise seekers get is harsh judgement.

The popular saying that you should not judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes is apparently credited to the Cherokee Tribe of Native Americans. And boy is it loaded with meaning. Until you have sat where someone has, been where they have, looked as they do, experienced what they have experienced, can you even begin to imagine what they feel?

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I can think of many times I have judged strangers as poor parents for the way I see their kids behave in public in the one or five minutes that I have watched from my high horse. I’ve even written off women colleagues who were pregnant for being lazy. Until I myself struggled with fatigue and the challenges of being pregnant. And even then, every woman’s experience is different. When you get off your high horse, whether accidentally or on purpose and listen to someone’s story you are riddled with shame that you had the thoughts you had about them and perhaps even verbalized those thoughts to someone else (or God forbid the very person you judged got a mouthful of how awful you thought they were). Suddenly you see them in a new light and things don’t seem as black and white anymore.

So this year I want to judge less and seek to understand more. Be quick to turn my ear and heart towards instead of turning my nose up at. Sounds easy but I know it will take conscious thought and decision every single day, with my family, friends and even strangers. After all, who likes to be judged? You end up feeling worthless, unloved, misunderstood and undervalued. I wouldn’t want someone to feel that because of me. In addition to that judgement says “I’m better than you. I’m perfect, you’re not.” As a recovering perfectionist I know that’s not true; far from it. I am a work in progress, striving to get better every day. What about you? What attitude do you want to carry with you into this year?

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