The Not So “Judgment Free Zone”

Life / Monday, January 28th, 2019

I’m heartbroken. No, I didn’t lose a loved one of mine, I didn’t break anything, and I didn’t just watch my favorite team lose the big game. 

I forgot my headphones at home when I left for the gym.

So here I am, enduring silence for an hour as I slave away on the treadmill. Sure, I can watch little words run across the screen but closed captioning comes nothing close to actually hearing your favorite reality stars argue. So, I have two options: I can pout and complain for 60 minutes, or I can do something productive. I made the cognizant decision to do the latter by writing an article with my time (ie. talking into my phone and staring into thin air like a loser).

Upon arriving to New York and being on a very tight budget, I opted for the most financially friendly option for a gym: Planet Fitness. Planet Fitness is extremely welcoming to the general public due to its no judgment policy. It has a reputation of being accepting of everyone no matter their size, experience, or gym history. The catchy, “no judgment zone” is apparently appealing. 

I understand what they are trying to get at but every time I look at the statement plastered on the wall I laugh. It’s not because I’m some hyper judgmental being, it’s because I recognize that every single person in this building is judging another person at this very moment. Being judgmental doesn’t mean that you are a bad person. Being judgmental means that you’re human.

Think about it. Let’s say you are walking on the sidewalk and someone stops right in front of you. The automatic response is to be upset at them. They just ruined your morning and possibly caused you to be late to work. How dare they? They must not care about the people around them and certainly don’t hold any value for timeliness. 

Not you? Fine. The person next to you is sweating profusely and everyone else appears to be as dry as a desert. That person must be out of shape, right? Maybe they are and maybe they’re not, but the most readily available assumption is that they are not physically fit. 

Completely limiting judgments upon situations or other people is near impossible. Our minds automatically go through the perception process whether we like it or not. The way I see it is that there are two types people. There are those who judge and carry forward with their assumptions presuming that they are always true. Another type of person will still judge someone, but they will recognize their immediate (and possibly inaccurate) judgment and take a step back to reevaluate the situation.

There is the chance that the person who stopped in front of you glanced at their phone and received bad news. Their son just sprained his ankle on his way to school and the sudden stop was a result of I debate on whether to turn around and go home or to continue walking to the office.

To pause and reevaluate the situation at hand means that you are going through a thorough analysis of your thoughts. You made a decision to put yourself in someone else’s position and reconsider the story behind the person. Those who decide to go through this process need to be more forgiving of their initial judgment.

We’re too hard on ourselves. The amount of times that I have said, “Why does she think she looks good in that? Who told her that she should wear that outside?” happens more often than I’d like to admit. The fact of the matter is it is extremely (EXTREMELY) difficult to suppress these intrusive thoughts. If I continued forward with these judgments without a second thought, I would be considered a shallow and subjective person. Instead I’ve learned (and I’m still practicing) to put myself in other people’s shoes. Maybe that outfit was the only clean thing in her closet. I’ve encountered that situation once or twice. Or maybe someone did it tell her she looks good in that and you know what? It’s not up to me to tell her my opinion. Her confidence is all that matters.

So, “judgment free zone,” you are FAR from judgment free. But that’s okay. We’re all shooting daggers at each other and casually glancing at the person that has no clue what they’re doing on the leg press. We are all judging and we can’t help it. 

Give yourself the option to reconsider your judgment remember to be a little more forgiving to yourself as well.

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