No. 150

Letting Go of Judgments

Yesterday morning, I was working out with my trainer, Helen, at the gym. We were in front of the large mirrored wall and I was doing squats with a kettle bell. Around me there were guys working out and lifting weights.

The scene totally struck me.

Ten years ago, I would have been incredibly intimidated to be in the free weight area, sweating and turning pink with all the cardio and lifting work I was doing. In fact once I had even gone home and cried after a trainer made me spend the whole session in the free weight area then proceeded to tell me that now was the time for me to “get in shape” and “stop being lazy”. Okay, clearly all of the crying wasn’t just because of where I had to work out. It was because I felt judged, by that trainer and by the people around me.

In my 20s, I felt the weight of judgments all the time. Did that guy think I was attractive? Does that woman think I’m fat? What does he think of me? How does she see me? I constantly was looking at myself through the eyes of other people and wondering. And even if they weren’t actually judging me, I was judging myself. I was trying to force myself into this concept of perfection that I (or society in my head) had created. It was exhausting and I felt small.

It took me years, but I learned to let go of all of that.

It wasn’t a single thing that changed my perspective. It was archery — being around men, jokingly flirting with them all, and having a good time. It was my business — discovering that I could be completely in control of my life, my time, and (most importantly) my self-worth. It was friends — the amazing women who are in my life, each who has helped me expand into myself, love myself, and trust myself.

As I did my squats and pushups and deadlifts at the gym yesterday, I had myself in mind. My thoughts were on how strong I felt and how much healthier I was becoming, not on what the guy next to me thought of me or if other gym members thought I was overweight or chubby or whatever.

That was an amazing feeling: to be focused on who I am, on who I want to become. And to know I’ve given up so many of the judgments that were once in my head.

It’s all a process. The self-judging still creeps in at times, but it’s gotten so much better. I feel like I’m living my life now, rather than shaping my life because I’m worried about what others think.

We can all relate, can’t we?

About brandi

Brandi is a digital strategist, website developer, and founder of Alchemy+Aim, a company that helps entrepreneurs and business owners elevate their online presence and enhance their digital experience. Her academic background in theatre, philosophy and physics was the perfect foundation for launching her business, where she’s worked with Brené Brown, Laverne Cox, Judy Smith, and other notable thought leaders since 2013. She is an advocate for using technology in ways that humanize, connect and serve people as well as for asking deeper philosophical questions and teaching others to think more broadly about impact when they create, particularly in STEAM fields.

One thought on “Letting Go of Judgments

  1. I have almost made it to the free weight section of my gym!! I’ve made it to the not caring what people think of me whilst I’m working out…now I just need to make it to the most weights! Actually I was running outside today and wearing these horrible pants…like laundry day pants…and normally I would feel really self conscious and maybe even not go. But I thought “who am I trying to impress here? I just want to improve myself!” And it was honestly the best feeling in the world!

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Credits

Jane Reaction

(logo and original branding) is a graphic design and art director who works with with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, creating cohesive and interesting brands and websites.

Carrie Coleman

(photography) is a wedding photographer, whose goal is to capture the visual expression of a couple's love through timeless, organic images. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.