Tuesday, January 21


I haven't updated a lot lately because I've been preparing for a really big test.  Last Friday my classmates and I took the CPCE.  We commonly call the test comps (though I think the black death would be a more fitting name.) Let me tell you... that test was DIFFICULT.  It wasn't really even the questions that stumped me.  Its just the whole process.  I spent four years in undergraduate learning the basics of psychology.  Then I spent three years learning the ins and outs of mental health treatment with adolescents.  After that I've spent the last three years working on a master's degree that  tells the people around me that I know what I'm doing when it comes to counseling.  It tells people I've dedicated my professional life to work and that I worked hard learning how to help people.  I couldn't really put my finger on why comps had me so rattled until earlier today... well yesterday I suppose. I've always been a really good test taker, so it wasn't test anxiety. It was the judgement part that really got to me.  I had to demonstrate that I was a good counselor in such a specific way.  I know that I have a passion for counseling.  I know that God led me to a career in counseling.  I really don't think that I would be happy or effective doing anything else for the rest of my career.  For me (and my colleagues based on conversations I've had) counseling is such a personal thing. It really becomes more than your job.  Its a part of who I am.  The 160 questions on comps asked about theories and names and dates.  There was no space on that scantron sheet to demonstrate my heart for counseling... which in my opinion is the most important part.  My desire to help others isn't east to see on a test like that.  That just really bothered me.  They judge our skills without being able to see the most important part.

So what made me realize that?  Today in supervision at the hospital we were talking about MLK and being members of a minority.  As anyone who keeps up with my blog (all two of you) knows I am really passionate about being body positive and making sure that people aren't marginalized because of their physical characteristics. I've really come to love my plus sized body.  Even so, tons of people aren't ok with plus sized people.  Its a real thing to shame fat people.  I have just as much right to feel good about myself as anyone else does.  Usually I just look past that and do my own thing, but this incident was a little different.  Someone I really admire made comments that left me feeling quite judged. I decided to bring it up today even though I was sure the offense wasn't intentional.  The situation isn't exactly resolved, but the awareness makes me feel a little bit better. 

When I was talking about the situation I felt a familiar feeling from last week creep up again.  Thats when I realized that in both situations (the confrontation and the comps exam) I was really bothered by being judged.  Just like the test didn't reflect my knowledge in my opinion, I think my outside and others perceptions aren't always reflective of me.  People (including me) jump to conclusions and judge people.  These two incidents have really given me heightened awareness about passing judgement. I think its something that we can all get a better handle on. It legitimately hurt me when I thought that I have been the cause of that judged feeling in other people.  I didn't like feeling it myself, but even more so I didn't like thinking that i may have CAUSED that feeling at some point. 

So how to we do better at withholding judgement?  I have come up with a little list of things to keep track of, think about, and do to be the least judgmental I can be.  I read a bit and compiled them from various ideas and discussions I've had. Anyway, this is just my plan.  What are your ideas?  Here are a few of mine...

  • 1. Build your own confidence. We've all heard this since elementary school.  The kids who bully just feel insecure about themselves.  Cliche, but true to an extent.  Its easier not to judge others when you feel good about yourself.
  • 2. Cut yourself a break. We are our worst critic. When you are overly critical of yourself, you tend to be overly critical of others. When I treat myself with compassion that kindness to spills over to everyone else.
  • 3. Be open-minded. It's important to live according to your values and beliefs. Just remember to grant others that same courtesy. You don't have to agree with people's choices, but you must be willing to live and let live if you want to be less judgmental.
  • 4. Face your fears. It is human nature to fret over the unknown. That being said, prejudice thrives on the unwillingness to learn. Get out of your comfort zone and see what happens. 
  • 5. Avoid gossip. If you want to be less judgmental, then clamoring for the latest dirt won't support that goal. Skip the tabloids and all the other sources of gossip.  Learn from people firsthand instead. 
  • 6. Celebrate diversity. Differences encourage progress. Find common ground with those who are different from you.  Then use that as a springboard to learn about the aspects that you DONT have in common.  You might learn something new. 

  • So, those are a few things that I will be working on over the next little bit! Thanks for reading.  Feel free to share your experiences with judging or being judged.

  • xoxo.