Are you judging your up? That is, have you ever minimized your gifts, wins, resilience, or merely being? Has the pursuit of accomplishing your goals ever led to heightened self-criticism of your efforts? If so, you have judged your ups, and I share three reasons to stop it pronto in this post.
First, I shall share a little background. Tawanda, a woman at my local gym, is a walking fitness inspiration, giving words of wisdom, encouragement with the authority of a take no prisoners general.
Her statuesque beauty is as if God fashioned her from the choicest clay and carved her toned muscles from the choicest ebony.
I think Tawanda could unify the nations because women of different ages and ethnicities talk with amazement of her physique, beauty, and regimen. Seriously, her workouts make beast mode look like one round of hopscotch. Tawanda for president, anyone?
One day, I saw Tawanda, and as usual, we greeted each other.
This time she had a different response. When I asked her, “How are you?” Tawanda looked up in the air. Then, she looked at me and responded with slight exasperation, “I’m up.”
I sensed the inner battle within her to keep going and to find something positive on this day.
I related to trying to find those silver linings and counting our blessings.
As I reflected on our exchange, I thought about Tawanda’s response:
Sometimes, you have those days, weeks, months, or even years where you feel like you are fighting with troubles trying to bring you down.
When you search for something or several reasons to rejoice in life, you find your ups in life. The ups deserve recognition and gratitude no matter what dreamy or dreary events happen.
Again, are you judging your up?
Instead of finding joy in being up, have you ever criticized it or condemn it because you perceived your up was not good enough? I ask these questions because sometimes we can be our worse critics. Moreover, in a society overrun with commercialism and social media-fueled comparison igniting the drive to do more and be more, sometimes we do not pause to evaluate our internalization of this moving goal post casting gloom over our ups.
Here are three reasons to replace our judgment with grace for our ups.
1) When you judge your up, you judge others.
I think there is a correlation between self-judgment and our judgment of others. Recently, I felt ticked off at my husband about an issue. Correction: I felt tee-icked. In the name of buttressing forward progression, I aired my grievance.
However, a pivotal juncture transpired during our discussion. As if I had flipped a switch and instantly gained a new perspective, I had a moment of much lucidity concerning the occurrence. I had judged my husband’s up. Because I was judging my up in some aspect of my life, I used the lens to view both of us. My contrite heart moved me to apologize, for having a justified issue lost importance. I no longer cared about the accuracy of my observations, either. Although my husband took my concerns to heart, I dropped the problem because I did not want to create a measuring stick for his ups. When I perceived the same matter through a lens of embracing ups, my vision expanded to recognizing a myriad of ups in my husband’s growth journey. With this grace, more gratitude occupied my mind and heart, including the standard rooms for improvement.
A couple of mornings later, I awoke to reflect on the abundant goodness in my husband. I noticed all of the little things, or little ups, in his life, the previous grievance paled in comparison to the vastness of whom he is-a beautiful gift of a human in this world. As my heart stirred with love and compassion, I went to him. As he paused from reading to listen to me, I hugged him and shared my heart and the striking aspects I perceived in him. I reaffirmed my love for him with his journey, not in spite of it.
Likewise, your joy and peace do not derive from exceeding expectations or accomplishing your self-imposed benchmarks for being a grand human being. When you let go of knocking your ups, you better appreciate yourself and people in ways you never have before.
2) When you have grace for your up, you reclaim your power.
When you are in a place of judgment, you lose sight of all of the strengths, gifts, and opportunities present in your life.
By releasing the push to measure up, you increase the flow of gratitude for being up. You are not racing against people. Your life is your journey, so your unique race is not one to be compared to anyone else. You impede your unique power when you judge your ups according to expectations of family, friends, community, and overall society. Also, if you keep looking at everyone else around you, you increase the likelihood of deviating from the track. On the other hand, by allowing grace for your up, you can stand more confidently and run with constant intensity because you are fulfilled without the need for competition. When adversity appears, you have greater resilience by honoring the goodness in your life without comparison. By bolstering grace for yourself, you restore your power. Thus, you prevent it from susceptibility to changing circumstances, your past, or outside influences.
3) Recognizing your ups makes the journey sweeter.
When you focus on your ups you, you live in more joy and freedom. Your journey becomes much sweeter. The Biblical account of the imprisonment of Paul and Silas furnishes a useful example. Instead of complaining about this obstacle to their ministry, questioning their purpose, doubting God, or, one of my favorites, ugly crying, they chose to sing praises and pray. During their time of jubilation, the prison doors came open. You would think they would do a quick “raise the roof” gesture, say “Thank Gawd,” and then escape like the wind. Oh, no. Instead of seizing the moment as a divine intervention, they did the unfathomable; Paul and Silas chose to remain in jail to prevent their jailor and his family from punishment. Talk about making someone a believer. Not only did the newly converted jailor and his family live, but also Paul and Silas gained freedom shortly after that.
Undoubtedly, Paul and Silas were free mentally and spiritually before their physical independence. They did not allow the being imprisoned to erode the exuberant joy and thanksgiving pouring out of their hearts. When you recognize your ups, bitter waters taste sweet. Your life has a richer meaning because gratitude helps keep you in the flow of God.
Next time you trivialize aspects of your life, consider identifying as many taken for granted aspects of your life as you can. Chances are, you will discover a treasure worth celebrating pointing directly to you.