Posted by: Judy | March 20, 2018

Name It

Over on “Grace for my Heart,” Pastor Dave talked about naming the monster. He was referring specifically to narcissism, but I’ve recently noted the value in other aspects of my life.

For example, it helped to learn that I deal with C-PTSD. My counselor would not give a definitive diagnosis because he didn’t want me trapped under a label. However, I read through available symptom lists. Answering yes to pretty much everything is pretty indicative. It helped me distinguish between what was CPTSD and what was “normal.”

In a world that shuns labeling, it’s a challenge to recognize the value of labeling. My sister and I have discussed how naming the problem is sometimes 90% of the problem. Once you know what it is, a plan of action can be formed and taken.

The world has become so paranoid about labeling/judging that it’s attempting to pretend that it’s all bad. If I’m wearing a light skirt and blouse and see that it’s raining outside, I judge that my attire is inappropriate and change clothes. As I go through the grocery store, I read labels and label them good or bad and judge the merits of my purchases. We judge one television program over another as to what we’ll watch, the same with movies, books, games, restaurants… We spend the day labeling and judging.

The problem isn’t so much labeling and judging as absolving and condemning.

Case in point, I love Lord of the Rings, book and movies. My appreciation for both is for different reasons. I have friends who hate the movies and love the books and friends who love the movies and don’t care for the books. The fact we share the same interest doesn’t mean I absolve them of their flaws and think they’re perfect for loving the same thing I do. I acknowledge they don’t like one or the other. One’s a purist and one isn’t. That’s labeling. It doesn’t really mean anything, except I know that with one I talk about the movie and with one I talk about the books, judging what’s most appropriate. I also don’t condemn them for disliking what I like. I simply choose to accept them as they are and adjust as necessary.

We judge how we will spend our time, who we spend our time with, what we eat, how we dress… every moment of every day is a judgment call. Do you spend five more minutes on social media or do you buckle down and do the laundry? It isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer. If I’ve been on my feet all morning, five minutes on social media gives me an opportunity to put my feet up before tackling the laundry.

The irony: By labeling a word or action bad or good, we are, in fact, judging. The hypocrisy is sometimes funny and sometimes sad.

Rule #1: Stop lying, especially to myself.

Instead, I’m endeavoring to learn to judge with care and thoughtful consideration. How I judge others, God judges me. I’ve watched it happen in my life on numerous occasions. I’ve learn to walk with a lighter step. By being willing to look at myself and my judgments, I’ve come to realize that often what I dislike in others is something or a variation of something I dislike in myself. If I’m not willing to label it, how do I change it?

So, label it and judge whether or not you want to keep it or change it. If it’s a keeper, do you want to improve it? If you don’t want to keep it, what do you need to do to let it go?

One last thing, we often judge ourselves much more harshly than others do, unless you’re a narcissist. Be kind to you. Interestingly enough, when I learn to be kind with myself, I’m better at being kind to others.

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