I strongly believe that we are all doing the best we can, each moment, with the energy, resources and situations we are presented with. This is a belief that in some ways I find easier to apply to myself and my own actions and in other ways find more believable when applied to others.
I find it hard to apply to myself when I’m tired and feeling run down and need to rest. I beat myself up about not being productive, for not getting through my to do list and for being lazy. If I over eat, or fall off a diet wagon I feel guilty because I should be doing better than that. The quote is “when you know better, do better”, but sometimes just knowing better doesn’t equal being capable in the moment of doing better, but I will judge myself harshly for it anyway. Much more harshly than I would judge anyone else for the same behaviour.
You’ll know I’m judging myself for whatever it is I’m doing, I’ll be offering you explanations, justifying to you why I’m doing it. I might brazen it out, glare at you daring you to call me out on whatever it is. I might outright just ask you not to judge me, a sure fire sign that a verdict has already been signed sealed and delivered internally – I know better than to be doing this, but I’m doing it anyway.
It’s not just me that does this either – you do it too. When’s the last time you said something along the lines of “please don’t judge me, but I’m going to have a second (or third) slice of cake.” Or have another drink. Or buy something you know you don’t need. Or spend all day watch Greys Anatomy re-runs. If you start the sentence with “please don’t judge me” it’s almost certain you are already judging yourself. You have weighed up your options and decided that doing whatever it is, for whatever reason, is a better option right now than not doing so.
What we could do with are better ways to fulfil our needs rather than feeling guilty when try and meet them in ways that always work, but are maybe not the best for us. Sometimes we find it hard to ask for support in creating these ways because we know better, so “should” be doing better.
I find it easier to apply the belief that we are all doing the best we can to myself when I’m having a disagreement with someone. Even if it’s because I’ve done something that has put them out. I know my intentions were good and I tried my best – they are obviously being unreasonable in their disappointment in me and just not seeing things from my side. When the shoe is on the other foot however and someone else puts me out, it’s probably because they are inept, unreliable or an all-round evil person, if not the devil themselves. There is no other logical explanation.