Why Do We Judge the Person We were Before?

Not so long ago I took a long walk down the memory lane. I was sitting on the balcony overlooking the river Thames and flipping the pages of my photo album. It helped me to recall all the ups and downs of the past few years but instead of being excited about changes brought into my life I went astray and started to feel hurt and angry with myself about the things I did wrong… Until I ended up frustrated with myself even more and I forgot all the good things I have in my life for which I should be grateful to the previous version of myself. I have no idea what came down on me. I was so angry I could have thrown the photo album in the river. But this would hardly solve anything… My memories will remain with me forever. But what about this judgemental attitude? Can I change that? Why do we judge the person we were before?

If you judge people, you have no time to love them…  ― Mother Teresa

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Why Do We Judge the Person We Were Before?

It is one thing to say – act the best that you can and forget about other people’s opinions. But how can we not strive to be good and loved and seek approval? I used to be so paranoid and overwhelmed with thinking about what that person thought of me and how I was perceived. Would that person approve or dismiss me? No one likes to be dismissed and feel less of themselves as a result. I felt the fear of being judged and most importantly that those judgements were true. So I was pushing and pushing myself forward constantly wondering about what others would think of me and silently hating myself for not being perfect.

When hatred judges, the verdict is just guilty…Toba Beta

I had good and bad reasons to be upset or angry with myself. And all of those things that I wished I could share with someone, simply wouldn’t let go and let me breathe easily. I guess, we can hide things from others, wear a mask so no one could see us being miserable, sad or with another feeling inappropriate for public display. But if we try to hide anything from ourselves – we would fail to do that. That is why it’s so important to maintain trust and good friendship with your inner you… But every time I see myself in the photos back when I was out of shape, I feel a burning anger in me that I was so stupid for letting that happen. Every time I see photos of me with friends long gone now, I judge myself for not telling them how I loved them and valued our friendship more often. Every time I see people experiencing new adventures  – I judge myself for not doing that due to my stupid holdbacks, fears and other reasons not to leave my comfort zone. And it suddenly hit me. Simple but liberating thought completely knocked the wind out of me: All I need to do is to stop judging the person I used to be.

And then another thought came to light. When I was a kid did I judge myself for not being able to ride a bike? Was I afraid of somebody judging me at that moment? Was I defensive or did I even care about it? Did I judge myself that my first steps on Earth weren’t perfect? Did I judge myself for not being a fan of the green pea soup my grandma so lovingly tried to shove down my throat 😉 ?! No. It took some time and patience to learn to do all those different things. And I’m not the person I was before. I came a long way and I have to respect myself at least for that. We have to be patient with ourselves because we will make mistakes and make things that are not perfect, but it is part of the learning process.

We all came hee to learn, share our knowledge and move on without stepping aside and wasting our time on sorrows and meaningless time spent in searching for what you did wrong and how to punish yourself for it. I wish I knew that earlier. But everything happens for a reason. The truth is we are the same people we were, but the only thing different is that we are now in a different part of our life journey and we have the experience that we didn’t have before to make right decisions in certain situations.

I still have a brief tendency to run quickly down the memory lane. And I will always do that. But now I will make sure I remember all the good things instead of torturing my mind with sorrows. Lessons are here to be learned and to take the knowledge from it in order to be wiser, not bitter and judgemental. Ok, we might have been struggling more than we needed to. We might have been victims of poor choices and decisions. But being in the present moment we have to stop judging people we used to be as those people are still a part of us and we have no reasons to be ashamed of places and different points in our past. We all did our best to get from there to here. Release yourself from the shame of the past to be free here in the present and the future.

Maybe I had to learn this lesson only to share my thoughts here with you. Who knows? If you feel the same way or completely opposite – share your thoughts here in the comments or you are more than welcome to post a guest article.

By Lesya Li
Photo by Irene Palyha
Lesya Li

Lesya Li

Founder, Head of Content at HavingTime
Lesya Li is a founder of HavingTime – a digitally native story magazine for people that need to share inspiration and be inspired.
Lesya Li
Lesya Li