The verdict is out and the judgment has been made. You feel the sting as the words of judgment are directed toward you. You might feel the hair on your neck begin to rise along with your temperature. Then suddenly the defense attorney within you begins to prepare an equally stinging retaliation. You wrestle with the choice of either reacting or responding to this judgment placed upon you. You look around the room as if to ensure that no one can see the different responses that are welling up within you. However, you are not in a court room; you’re in your living room. Nor are you standing before the Judge of the court; you’re standing in front of your spouse.
People often ask the question, why I believe that relationships have true baring on our health. I cannot believe the hundreds of conversations that I have had discussing this very issue and how indeed, it has a tremendous impact on our health. Not only affecting us physically but with equal impact, emotionally.
We’re in a day and age where judgments come with a price. People find themselves sensitive to criticism and judgment. You hear more and more people say to one another, “don’t judge me”. Retaliation comes quickly in defense of words that may appear to be judgmental. That is fair and well and it surely has its place depending on the circumstance two individuals are inferring to. However, there can be a very healthy place for judgment when it comes to relationships. The hard part is navigating this very sharp instrument; judgment.
A judge must go through years of training before he is able to take a seat in the high court. He holds a position that is crucial to lives placed before him. Just like a physician when discovering a tumor in one of his patients. He will refer the patient to a surgeon within this field to remove the object that if not removed, could bring destruction and even death to his patient. The surgeon will take a scalpel and strategically and precisely remove this gnarly culprit from the body. He does this in hopes that the patient will recover from the pain and move forward to having an enjoyable life and furthered health. The same can be said of the judge. He must use his vast knowledge and diagnose, if you will, the evidence placed before him. As he strikes the gavel to the block, he does this in hopes that the individual will recover from the pain of judgment to move forward towards a productive life that will benefit himself and those around him.
The same should be said in relationships; including those within a marriage. Sometimes the most painful words to hear from your spouse are words of judgment. I want to pose a serious question. What if the judgment is true? Are you willing to be the judge, “let me be the judge of that”, concerning your own behavior and actions?
Recently I was having a conversation with my husband. I was sharing with him that I needed to get a few things accomplished that were on my ‘To Do’ list. Within the conversation my husband made the statement, “you procrastinate too much”. He further went on to add a few more comments in support of his judgment towards me and then kindly offered a few suggestions on how I could square off and have victory over my adversary, ‘procrastination’. I took a deep breath in as he finished his final comments; not quite sure in which way I wanted to respond. As I exhaled I envisioned my inner defense attorney taking a seat, kindly looking up at me and saying, “He’s correct; you do procrastinate”. In this case his judgment over me was correct and I had to spend a few moments being the judge over my own circumstances and that specifically of my bouts with procrastinating. Most who know me see me as a very active, motivated, organized and determined individual. There is truth to this but on occasion I procrastinate. When these moments come they can paralyze me to a place of being unproductive and unmotivated. The words my spouse offered me were words of truth, encouragement and resolve. He wanted what was best for me and was offering words of help. Yet, it was my responsibility to listen to his judgment, knowing that they were not presented to condemn.
Many times when people appear to judge us we feel condemned when in many cases the person is out for our best interest. Again, only you can be the judge of that. In a healthy relationship we can offer words of wisdom to one another because sometimes we can see a bit more clearly standing on the outside looking in. There’s a wonderful quote that I cling to which has helped me many times in my relationships.
“You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye”.
These words were penned thousands of years ago yet still hold true today. If I spend time judging myself; then I might be able to help someone else. You see there are two sides to a coin and two sides in relationships. The sooner we learn how to navigate the intentions of our own words and those of others, the quicker we can build healthy relationships. When our relationships are unhealthy our body literally becomes acidic and equally so can our emotions become as toxic as acid. Insurmountable emotional and physical side effects will begin to emerge. Here are just a few:
There’s good news. When your relationships are healthy your emotions are free, your mood is elevated and your body produces endorphins; the body’s natural, feel good, pain killing hormone. When stressed our immune system is compromised and when happy our immune system is boosted. There is another quote I really enjoy that I believe simply sums up the difference between the two.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones”.
We will never be able to avoid stresses and challenges in relationships, including those of judgment but there are ways for you to begin to make changes towards making those relationships healthy and vital. Remember, your health depends on it.
Here are a few tips to help you be the judge of that…
- Examine-recognize your emotions and begin to ask yourself why you are having them in relationship to your circumstances.
- Speak-express your feelings in an appropriate manner. Don’t avoid the initial onset of emotions, as they will trigger other emotions if left unaddressed. Communicate your thoughts around your emotions. This will help to keep your emotions balanced.
- Laugh- laughter boosts the immune system, decreases stress hormones, increases blood circulations, and relieves tension and stress. It increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies.
- Meditate-have those inner voice conversations. Don’t be afraid to evaluate and judge yourself. Allow your mind and spirit to engage with one another. Your spirit will never lead you wrong as it is the voice of truth and reason.
- Keep a journal-write down your thoughts and feelings. Use this as a resource that you can go back to in order to address emotions that you may have ignored. It is a great tool to have as you can express yourself without doing anyone harm. You can return to the journal to discover new ways of communicating in a positive manner.
- Exercise- physical activities help you to feel better about yourself, improve your mood and give you a better outlook on life and relationships.
- Communicate with those in your life the importance of them becoming ‘safe’ people who you will allow speak in to your life. Practice becoming this person to others; safe people matter. They are out for your best interest.
by Zina Docto
Zina is the founder of “i AM WOMAN”: Educating woman to discover their health and beauty from the inside out: overcome weight issues, sickness and disease.
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