HOW TO HANDLE BEING JUDGED

7/8/2019

(APPROX. READ TIME:  8 mins)

Recently I decided to expand my professional reach. I decided to write more blog posts, post more pictures on Instagram, be more active on Facebook and generally sink deeper into the spiritual space I am claiming. It’s like when you go to the beach you might walk up and down the sand trying to find just the right spot. Once you find your spot, you set up. Towels down. Cooler situated. Flips flopped off.  

Then one day, just as I started to become more visible on social media, a woman wrote a negative remark on one of my Instagram posts. The post was about communicating with spirits.  The comment was “Y’all culture vulture-ing again.” This woman was of African descent and it appeared she believed that spirit communication was stolen from her culture.

I would be lying if I said I don’t appreciate being liked (I do! I want emoji hearts, lots of them, and GIFS where people are blowing kisses – just fyi.), so it stung when I saw this comment. As soon as it popped up in my account a wave of fear slammed into me.  Clearly, it didn’t matter what she said or how factually incorrect I believed she was; I knew why she was saying this, so I let the sand that she kicked in my face affect me.

A fearful thought surfaced like an overprotective parent leaping out of the dunes (am I taking this analogy too far?) warning, See! When you expose yourself, you also open yourself up to harm! Be careful!

I wanted to hide, run away, collect my stuff and go home. 

My instinct was to go back to playing small. I spent many years behind the scenes supporting artists in the fashion industry, and from behind a computer I had the illusion of safety, and my gut reaction was to return to a supporting role, instead of being in the limelight.

Then something dawned on me.

Letting haters on social media

rock my core would be a

choice. Letting anyone hurt

me would be like saying, they know

ME better than I know myself

Think of the moon. Lately, many of us have become borderline obsessed with that big rock (living in CA  is like living in an observatory, if you don’t know what the moon is doing you are basically in a coma). I must say, there is good reason for the hype! Not only does the moon influence our energy and cycles, but it is also symbolic of who we are.  When referring to the moon phases we are referring to what the light is doing; however the moon also has a lesser known dark side. The dark side of the moon is quite literally in the shadow and it’s safe to say that the moon would not be whole without its shadow side. Just like that big, beauteous rock; we are multidimensional beings with a light side and a dark side.   

MY DARK SIDE

My shadow is the the part of me that wants to win.  My shadow doesn’t want others to cut me in line at the coffee shop or for people to sneak in front of me boarding a plane.  My shadow is the part of me that is keeping an internal tally of who’s doing what around the house. My shadow keeps a ledger. My shadow compares my “warrior two” pose to others in yoga class.  My shadow judges. My shadow needs things to be fair. My shadow thinks I need to stretch the truth to look better in the eyes of others. It’s not big lies but little white lies to save face, but it’s lying nonetheless, like when I tell someone I’m five blocks away but really I’m still on the highway. My shadow tells me I couldn’t have possibly done anything to invite someone who is mad at me. My shadow is passive aggressive and likes to put the onus on others for knowing my needs.  

Here’s the thing though… My shadow operates unconsciously and when evaluated consciously, I wouldn’t chose the same course of action. My higher self does not endorse her tendencies. Like a hawk looming above, I only notice her when she swoops in to carry me out of what she perceives as harm’s way.  My shadow is fearful and thinks I am separate from everyone.

LIGHT BEINGS

Believe me, if you are anything like me, (which is most people who are reading this!) you have convinced yourself that you are a Light Being and you don’t really have a shadow. Many of us don’t want to admit that we are judgmental, that we tell “untruths”, that we blame others and that we aren’t always generous.  We beam light and insist on doing the opposite of anything that could be considered selfish our judgmental. We’ll happily stand on a soapbox preaching peace, love and equality.

We people-please to the extent that we abandon our own needs and wants completely in the process. 

Light Beings enslave themselves to the desires of others, so that God(dess) forbid anyone meets their “mean” side. The darkness of a Light Being’s shadow is always present though, like that hawk looming above.  The irony is that it is the shadow that feeds the insatiable desire to be a “good person” because then we win.  The shadow says you need to be better than someone else in order to feel good about yourself, which manifests even as judgement of judgemental people. 

The shadow says, I am right and you are wrong

Don’t worry Light Beings, we all have a shadow and admitting you have one is a powerful thing! It can be a pivotal action to truly loving yourself.

SHADOW ENTHUSIASTS

But, first let’s talk about another common expression of being human… Shadow Enthusiasts. Shadow Enthusiasts are loud and proud of their shadow. If you ever saw The Real World season one, this is Puck.  (Remember him? Or insert more relevant reality show star.)  Shadow Enthusiasts are not ashamed to show others that they put themselves first and are outwardly judgmental of others.  More often than not these are the self proclaimed jerks, so in keeping with their character they rarely show their touchy-feely side. They often feel too vulnerable to be seen as loving since it compromises their “dark image” so they are only tender-hearted in secret.  Check out this article which details 10 Amazingly Good Acts Performed by Bad People to illustrate this point.  

Whether you are a Light Being or Shadow Enthusiast, it’s important to be aware that when you resent any of your thoughts or actions, you dig deeper into the self-sabotaging, self-hate hole you want to get out of.  Unlike what we were taught, the path to a felt sense of wholeness is not to stack up personal accomplishments or chase some misguided understanding of perfection; instead the path is much more simple.  

Feeling whole is about going within

and recognizing that you are not

going without; it’s about holding

with reverence all expressions

of who you are, specifically the

ones you have disavowed!

What are you not willing to admit about yourself? Do you lie… alittle? Do you cheat and steal? Sometimes? Are you mean? Are you really judgmental? Are you willing to forgive yourself, and even laugh lovingly at these missteps? Are you willing to give yourself room to make these mistakes again? Are you willing to see yourself and ACCEPT yourself as all the things you judge?

Ever since I started to get close to the parts of me I had been hiding from myself the more I started to accept myself as everything and with that, I have felt less compelled to defend or even identify with “Tahra”.  While, naturally, as an embodied being, I still have moments where I feel separate, however the deep inquiry that I have done to know myself has offered me a consistent perspective that it would be a choice to let others hurt me.  I have found that when we allow for multiple truths and accept ourselves as every expression of humanity, in some proportion, we let go of the need to control the narrative of who we are, as the individual.  When we see ourselves clearly we no longer identify as our personal stories, and instead we see ourselves as every story.

And believe it or not, I see myself now as also the woman who was calling me out on Instagram. Yeah, I have acted fearful, defensive and protective too (plenty of times)! I forgive her and myself. 

The next time you feel vulnerable to the judgment of others, I offer this mantra, which I too will be chanting, in a bikini, on the beach, as I lay confidently in the space I have declared as my own:

THE TRUTH IS, WHEN I KNOW MYSELF –  I AM WHOLE – WHEN I AM WHOLE, MY CORE CAN NOT BE ROCKED

Rock on, beautiful people. xx

(Photo cred: pexels.com)

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  • Jackie Fein

    Tahra – this is wonderful! I will reread to soak it all in. I am so grateful you chose to shine and let your spiritual healing and teachings be more of a constant. xx Jackie

    • admin_tahra

      Jackie! Your support is so wonderful. Thank you, beauty!

  • Claude

    Tahra, always connected to the truth of being you!Thank you for compassionately painting the picture of all of us through your lived experience!
    with much love

    Claude

    • admin_tahra

      Thank you Claude. So appreciate the feedback! ❤️

  • Mekea Duffy

    A good reminder to embrace all facets of who we are and embrace those areas that feel vulnerable. It’s an emancipating exercise to practice coming our of our hiding spots. Thank you for these thoughtful words and expression.