Do You Sometimes Feel That You’re Being Judged?

Feeling judged?

A judgmental person is usually describes someone who judges others, often without good reason – it’s almost always negative. As well as hurting other people’s feelings, even when that isn’t necessarily meant in a harmful way, being judgmental about others people can affect your own self-esteem and happiness.

As you may have found, judgmental people are everywhere! You might even be one of them without even realising it. But, if you’re the one feeling judged, how can you deal with it so that it doesn’t drag you down? Here are a few ideas:

  • Try to look at it as a life lesson. View every interaction with a judgmental person as a bit of a ‘test’ that you’re going to try to pass. You can either respond with negativity, attack them back or choose a positive response. By that I mean, try to turn around what they said and give it a positive spin.
  • Be compassionate. People aren’t born judgmental so something will have happened to them to make them like that. Maybe their family judged them along with everything else and it’s the only way they know. It doesn’t make their behaviour any better but you may be able to find a bit of empathy for them. As the Dalai Lama said “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion”.
  • Most of us find this pretty difficult and assume that someone’s doing or saying something because of us. However, highly judgmental people find fault with everyone (and everything!), especially themselves. They always behave like this, whatever the circumstances. If you protect yourself against the opinions and actions of other people, you won’t suffer unnecessarily.
  • Look beyond what is the obvious and, as I said earlier, most judgmental people are very critical of themselves. Often, what they’re saying about you or someone else is a reflection of how they feel about themselves. Try to remember that when they’re making a judgmental comment about you or someone else.
  • Look upon them as children – if you can do that, you can extend it to not expecting them (children) to know everything and tolerating bad behaviour. Of course, we think that once a person’s an adult they should know better, having worked a lot of things out. However, many adults don’t really “get it” so if you can think of them as a child who’s still learning and growing, it will be easier to be more compassionate.
  • Maybe someone in your family is particularly judgmental of you – obviously that’s difficult but try to put their behaviour into context and try to find some positives in the situation (not easy, I know!) but if you try to focus on other family members who value you, that will help.
  • Remember, you don’t have to believe them. Just because someone judges you, doesn’t mean that what they’re saying is right or true! Most of these judgements are someone else’s opinion – they take pleasure in dragging someone else down but that doesn’t mean that you have to take their ideas on board!
  • Finally, focus your attention on the other people who support and love you. If you can avoid or remove the judgmental person from your life, all well and good. But if it’s a family member or your boss, try to put some distance between you when possible. Surround yourself with people who love you and want what’s best for yo

Please do comment on my blog if you have found it interesting, useful or otherwise. You can see my blogs as soon as they are published (usually on Wednesdays) by pressing the ‘follow’ button and you can share them with your friends. You can also find me on Linked In, Instagram (samebutdifferent) and read my FB posts at Same But Different.

Feeling Anxious About Wearing A Mask?

Hello! This week I thought I’d write a blog about something that’s topical but seems to cause a lot of friction between people who have differing ideas about them – that’s right, I’m talking about masks (and I’m not thinking Halloween here!).

Whether you’ve returned to work in an environment that requires you to wear a mask, you’re in a shop, wearing a mask because of a medical condition, walking down the street or running in the park,  non-verbal communication has become more important than ever before. If you’re feeling lonely or anxious about what’s going on, lack of communication can make things so much worse.

When your expressions are concealed by a mask it’s easy for negative perceptions to be made. So how to communicate effectively and still manage to build up a rapport, whilst keeping yourself and others safe? Here are some ways to improve things:

  • You’ll need to use body language and gestures more than before and maybe you’ve already got into the habit of giving a little wave to people when you meet them for the first time.
  • Try to mirror the behaviour of the person you’re talking to (within reason! – surprisingly, this happens subconsciously to some extent anyway and it helps build rapport between people. Now it’s more important than ever so try practising this at home in front of a mirror so that imitating the body language of the person you’re speaking to comes naturally.
  • Avoid clear masks if you can – they may seem the ideal solution but they tend to fog up and some people find that they make them feel uneasy. However, they’re a good idea if you’re speaking to someone who is deaf.
  • Practice increasing the volume of your voice – no need to shout, but you’re probably aware that masks have a muffling effect so it’s necessary to speak up a bit (obvious but true!).
  • Pause more than usual – that gives people the chance to respond or jump in.
  • Try to make your voice more expressive by conveying emotions like sympathy and excitement – this will show in your eyes which, after all,  Shakespeare said that ‘eyes are the window to the soul’; a phrase which has endured through centuries.

We now know that masks are almost certainly here for the next few months so it will help if you can master the above tips and then, when we can finally show our full faces again, they’ll hopefully help you to communicate in a more positive in the future

Please do comment on my blog if you have found it interesting, useful or otherwise. You can see my blogs as soon as they are published (usually on Wednesdays) by pressing the ‘follow’ button and you can share them with your friends. You can also find me on Linked In, Instagram (samebutdifferent) and read my FB posts at Same But Different.

Exclusivity In Families

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Feeling on the outside

Have you ever got together with someone whose family seem to welcome you but in fact, often exclude you too?

This sometimes happens in very close, happy families where people want to keep to what they know and ideally they only want others to join them if they have the same ideas and ‘world views’. This perpetuates their own ideas and they don’t have to spend too long pondering why someone else hasn’t fitted in to that. It makes life easier if any in-laws think the same as them!

Other families, who aren’t necessarily ‘happy’ in the usual sense, still have ideas about who is acceptable to join their family and who isn’t. They might be a family who is different from others in their community and that might be due to economic, religious or cultural norms. Inviting someone who is different into their family can dilute all their beliefs. 

These attitudes probably originated hundreds of years ago, sometimes due to economics and sometimes to religious views. Rich landowners ideally wanted their children to marry someone who was also rich and would bring financial security, in the form of owning land, into their own family. From a simplistic point of view, if a family belongs to a minority religion, they may feel that it’s better if their children can marry someone with the same religious beliefs to ensure the survival of their religion.

However, those attitudes aren’t as important today, although they still exist in some circles. Most people want their children to be happy and make their own choices but if they’re honest, they also want their adult offspring to make a choice that they too are happy with! It’s very easy to get into the “we’re the Smiths and we do things this way”, forgetting that there are other ways to do things; not necessarily better or worse, just different.

So if you’re part of a close family that always sits together at a table at weddings, parties and get-togethers, maybe try socialising with some of the other people there too.  It might be interesting and help you to meet new friends. 

If you’re feeling on the ‘outside’ of such a group, try to push yourself forward and enjoy their company – who knows, they might eventually realise that ‘different’ can be very positive!

Please do comment on my blog if you have found it interesting, useful or otherwise. You can see my blogs as soon as they are published (usually on Wednesdays) by pressing the ‘follow’ button and you can share them with your friends. You can also find me on Linked In, Instagram (samebutdifferent) and read my FB posts at Same But Different.

Is Your Partner Still Friendly With Their Ex?

Worried about your partner’s relationship with his ex?

This happens to a lot of people – their partner is still friendly with his/her ex. Some people are fine with this but others hate it and see it as a threat. What do you think about it?

It’s natural to assume something is going on if your partner is still friends with their ex (or exes) but try to bear in mind that a lot of people find it a perfectly healthy situation, especially as a lot of breakups are filled with drama so staying friendly can be seen as a bit of an achievement.

However, not all such friendships are healthy, especially if some feelings are unresolved and one person hopes there’s a chance that they’ll get back together.

In general (and this might not apply to you and your partner) it’s okay if:

  • Both of them have clear boundaries – for instance, they don’t keep texting one another every day or expect the other one to change plans for them.
  • They share a lot of mutual friends and there’s a good chance that everyone will meet up and some point.
  • Your partner and their ex actually started out as friends anyway – It’s often easier to go back to being friends then.
  • They have children together – being on friendly terms is better for everyone concerned, but particularly for the children.
  • They work together – it’s better if they’re on friendly terms when they’re working and it might be impossible for them to avoid one another in the working environment, besides which, it’s difficult for other colleagues if there’s an ongoing atmosphere.
  • If they broke up years ago and have redefined their relationship so that they can meet up as two people who get on well but have no desire to get back together.

But what if it’s not like that? For instance, it’s not okay if:

  • Your partner turns to their ex if he/she is having a hard time with you. It’s unhealthy and disloyal because turning to their ex can become a habit – one which you probably don’t want to encourage!
  • Their ex is having a hard time letting go or moving on. That’s not healthy for anyone involved.
  • Your partner and their ex don’t include you – in that case, trust your gut instinct and speak up about it. They may say that it’s alright and call you ‘jealous’ or ‘paranoid’, but if you feel that something’s going on behind your back, it’s putting a strain on your own relationship.
  • If their relationship was unhealthy anyway, staying in touch as friends can prove to be quite toxic for everyone concerned.
  • Their ex isn’t happy about the relationship you now have with him/her. Maybe they’ve said nasty things about you and shown a lack of respect, in which case it’s not healthy for your partner to remain in contact.

So, basically, it’s fine for people to be on friendly terms with their ex, but it’s easy to cross the line, so if something is making you feel uncomfortable, speak up and be honest about your feelings. Communication between you and your partner is the key to your relationship becoming stronger and more committed as time goes on.

Please do comment on my blog if you have found it interesting, useful or otherwise. You can see my blogs as soon as they are published (usually on Wednesdays) by pressing the ‘follow’ button and you can share them with your friends. You can also find me on Linked In, Instagram (samebutdifferent) and read my FB posts at Same But Different.

When You Find Out Your Partner’s Been Unfaithful

Discovering that your partner has been unfaithful is one of the worst feelings you can experience – it’s hard to explain how your heart drops and you feel completely betrayed. There are all sorts of emotions as well as feelings of numbness, disorientation (you’re part of the world but you don’t actually feel as if that’s the case), anger and depression.

You’ll probably have lots of questions too such as ‘why wasn’t I enough?’ and ‘how can you do this to me?’. Although you might have had suspicions that this had happened, actually having it confirmed makes it real. It also makes a difference whether your partner told you him/herself, you found out from someone else or discovered the awful truth in another way.

If, after weeks or months of questioning yourself and your partner (and maybe the other person concerned) you decide to try to stay and make things work, remember that it’s all going to take time to work through what’s happened and you can only do that if both of you learn from the experience.

Here are some things that you can think about and do to get beyond what’s happened and hopefully save your relationship:

  • There aren’t any right or wrong feelings – all the rage, possibly guilt (‘should I have done more to stop this happening?’), agitation, pain, confusion and shock are absolutely normal. Even not feeling much at all – that could be the numbness of shock which will wear off, or the fact that you’ve been half-expecting it for some time.
  • Start a journal – write down all your thoughts and feelings regarding what’s happened.
  • Don’t make any major decisions about ending your relationship right now – this is a time you could used to reflect on what’s happened and how you might deal with it, either by yourself or as a couple.
  • Ask all the questions you want. Talk with your partner about the infidelity but you may have to accept that he or she doesn’t know why it happened. That may seem strange (and infuriating!) but is sometimes the case. However, the other thing is that they may not want to reveal this to you (again, infuriating!).
  • If you have children, they need to know that you’re going to be alright. It’s hard to keep what you’re going through a secret but if they’re old enough to suspect something’s wrong, they don’t need to be weighed down with the details. Whatever you decide, don’t make promises that you can’t keep.
  • Take it one day at a time. Ideally, both you and your partner should be tested for STDs before you have sex again although that may be a while. 
  • Think about what boundaries you need in order for you to stay in the relationship and make them clear to your partner. More importantly, make sure that you stick to them, if only for your own self-respect.
  • Take care of yourself – physical reactions such as sleeplessness, nausea, breathlessness, shaking and either wanting to eat a lot or not at all are normal. Even if you were half-expecting it, you’ve had a shock and your body is reacting to it. Try to make sure you eat well, even if you don’t feel like it, do some exercise, don’t drink too much alcohol and take some time for yourself if at all possible.
  • It’s okay to laugh. Watch some funny films or TV shows. Spend some time with people who make you smile. ‘Life goes on’ is a cliché, but it’s also true – however much your heart is breaking, you still need to function.
  • It’s also okay to cry – it’s natural, for men and women. If you can’t cry yet, you will be able to at some point, probably about something else that doesn’t seem related to what’s happened to you.
  • This is a really hard one – try not to get into the blame game, including blaming the third person involved. It won’t change what’s happened. Also, tempting though it is, think about whether to tell your family or your partner’s family – they might hold a grudge for a long time, even when you’ve worked through it, either alone or with your partner.
  • You may have post-traumatic stress. If you still feel constantly ‘jumpy’, as if you’re walking on eggshells and shout at quite small things after four or five months, it’s probably time to seek outside help.
  • Get practical – look at how you’re going to cope with money in the future, where you will live if you decide to end your relationship and try to budget to see a solicitor about your situation. Some solicitors now offer twenty minutes’ free advice – that’s a good place to start.
  • It all takes time to get beyond the pain of having an unfaithful partner. Don’t expect the feelings, which probably include confusion as well as the inevitable mistrust, to fade quickly. It’s a big loss, even if you stay together, and is part of a grieving process. It doesn’t necessarily mean that your relationship is over but it will be different, sometimes in a good way although that’s very hard to believe at the beginning of this process.
  • Seek counselling – this can help and support you, either as a couple or by yourself. Talking about it in a confidential environment can help you to come to terms with what’s happened. For example, was it a one-night stand or due to a life or work crisis? Did you cheating happen to make the end of the relationship happen? Understanding some of it can help a lot.

Please do comment on my blog if you have found it interesting, useful or otherwise. You can see my blogs as soon as they are published (usually on Wednesdays) by pressing the ‘follow’ button and you can share them with your friends. You can also find me on Linked In, Instagram (samebutdifferent) and read my FB posts at Same But Different.