When I went through piles of papers on my desk the other day, I found a quote I'd written down earlier this year from the TV show ”Mr Selfridge." The show takes place in London in the early 1900s, and tells the story of the founder of Selfridge’s and his staff. In one episode, Mr. Selfridge convinces one of his employees to come back to work after she'd decided to leave due to an incident with her alcoholic father. The employee is concerned about what other staff members will think about it all when she gets some sage advice from Mr. Selfridge:
Don't apologize, don't explain. As a tactic it has always worked for me.
The quote reappeared in my life with excellent timing, since I’ve been thinking a lot about self-confidence lately. I’ve been thinking about how great it would be to be fully liberated from the fear of saying or doing something that might upset someone else. It would be awesome not to feel that I have to explain myself in an attempt to make people understand and not judge me. Mr. Selfridge's words were a perfect reminder not to care so much about the opinions of others. (I certainly need a reminder of that every now and then!) It’s not my problem if somebody might think I’m weird, stupid, or bad in some way. Everybody doesn’t have to like me, or what I do. It’s enough that I like me, that I know my own reasons, and that I don't judge myself for being who I am and doing what I do.
Fears, big or small, are always very revealing. You wouldn't really care what anybody thinks of you if you didn’t already doubt yourself. Of course you shouldn’t beat yourself up for feeling fear or self-doubt, that would be very counterproductive. However, self-doubt is an invitation to accept and love yourself more. If you fully accept yourself - the good, the bad, and the ugly - you don’t need others' validation. If you understand you, then there’s no need to demand the understanding of other people.
This all holds true in the opposite direction, too. Don’t judge other people. It’s simply just not your job. (Yes, that’s something I need to be reminded of every now and then, too…) Just like you have your reasons, trust that other people act like they do because they, as well, have their reasons.
Do A Little Soul Searching …
1. Can you think of any situation in your life where you feel an unnecessary need to explain yourself? What would happen if you just let it be?
2. Can you think of a person or situation towards which to practice non-judgement?
3. Do any other thoughts, or insights appear as you contemplate non-judgement of yourself and others?