Apr 24, 2014

Not My Circus

I'm listening to Rob Lowe's new book right now.  In one section relating to drug and alcohol use (he is a recovering alcoholic, sober for many years) he states "I do not judge".  He then proceeds to gets really judgey, regarding those who do enjoy their cocktails too frequently or use drugs.  The book is read by Lowe himself, so the extent of his nonjudgmental-judging comes across quite plainly.

I was amused at first, until I realized that he sounded just like me.  Lately I have been struggling so much with judgment.  If someone doesn't do something the way I would- well, bless their heart!  They must be just upside down in their thinking!  I mask it to myself in the guise of concern and wanting to help some misguided soul do things the proper way.

 In reality?  It's me being critical.  Critical of how much money someone spends, or how they spend their free time, or whether they are a picky eater, or whether someone reads. . . why in the world do I give a shit?  I don't worry or fret about things much.  I don't tend to struggle with a longing for expensive things (um, anymore.  Not sure how I beat that one.)  So why do I create negative energy worrying about other's choices?

And when it comes down to it, I don't actually care.  My friends and loved ones make decisions I disagree with constantly, and I don't bat a eye or change my estimation of them.  However, I will get fixated on an issue that I disagree with and brainstorm ways to subtly guide someone to a path that I think is best.  It's ridiculous! (And there is absolutely no subtle way to tell someone they need to volunteer or expand their worldview without sounding self-righteous.  Perhaps because it's an incredibly self-righteous thing to suggest.)

Lord knows I'm not perfect.  People are likely judging me for the stack of unsent thank you notes waiting to be addressed on my desk (tonight!  I am going to get it done tonight!), my inability to remember birthdays or other dates of importance in others' lives, the long-standing unpedicured state of my feet, my tendency to be a hermit and not reach out to friends often enough, the amount of time I spend in yoga pants, that all my clothes come from Target or the toys scattered on my front walkway and the length of my grass. I'm just letting it all hang out in this post, huh?  It's pretty terrifying to admit to the world at large to your most annoying characteristic.

I tend to think pinning quotes on Pinterest is rather silly (here I go, judging again- this time strangers on social media), but this one really spoke to me-

So, every time I get worked up about a choice that is not mine, I will remind myself "Not my monkeys".  Or, in the language I converse in most, toddlerese-

Worry bout yourself!  You said it, honey.  Now I just have to do it.


  1. Boy, this one hit me like a ton of bricks.Guilty on all counts. My first instinct is so often to judge rather than try to understand. Or just mind my own damn business. Goodness knows I'm far from perfect so I have no place to judge. It's definitely something I recognize I need to work on about myself but I'm a long way from where I need to be. I too find pinning or posting quotes on social media annoying (of course!) but I like your polish proverb. I'll try to keep it in mind next time I jump to judge.

  2. Preach! Whenever I feel myself verring into Super Judgy territory, I remember how miserable it feels when others direct their judgment at me. If I'm not bothering them, why do they care? So this person I'm about to judge... why do *I* care? As you said - not my monkeys.

  3. I am so guilty of this. Good to know I'm not alone in the "worry bout yourself" territory!

  4. I just recently starting reading your blog, and even though I could probably be your mom, I think you are just delightful!
    I stopped doing the "judgey" thing a while back and now i'm trying to get husband to stop it! I think that quote is going to be my comeback to husband when he starts doing it... only I am going to say "not your circus, not your monkeys!"

  5. I love this post! Heaven only knows how often I need to remind myself it is not my circus or my monkeys.

  6. My mother's version of circus / monkeys has always been "different r strokes for different folks" -- she probably said this to me daily in high school when I'd come home with some petty gossip that made me momentarily high and mighty. And now that I don't have her across the kitchen table on a daily basis, I have to remind myself that a lot...especially since becoming a parent! I think most of us struggle with judgment -- but having a heaping dose of self-awareness about it goes a long way to letting it all go (cue the Idina)!


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