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Be Careful Who You Invite To Your Judgement Parties

party-dog-balloonsLittle kids got it. When some other child  offends or hurts them, they stick up their emotional wall and declare: "You're not my friend anymore !" 

That's pretty clear cut. Rather than take it in, and let the criticism or betrayal or rejection crush into their insides, they keep it outside, at their former bestest friend, and draw a line in the sand.
While this approach may not work for relationships above the age of three, it gives us adults some guidance on how to deal with our inner bullies, whether they are disguised as our friends or not.  And some friend-outting and weeding-out of the internal scale has got to occur.
Recently, I returned home from a big project I had worked on, after showcasing it, feeling fairly dejected about my performance. But I had little time to swarm obsessively over feelings of self-pity for perceived failure before I had to cuddle my little 14 month old as her chest heaved from difficulty breathing during croupe. There's nothing quite like a sick child of your own that does wonders for perspective- readjusting. I wouldn't recommend having one just for that reason, but if it does occur, savor that humbling process.
For as I held her, praying for her recovery, hurting as she hurt, I realized that all of these voices inside of my head knocking down my performance were coming from mutated forms of people I knew. But these people I knew had taken up and migrated to my mind and were sneering and folding their hands in contempt and given me well-meaning and debilitating feedback.
And as I held my most precious, I realized we could not all live in the same mental space together. What's more, I started to look around and question who I had invited to my Judgement Party. Of all the people in the room, the only opinion I cared about was my little girl's. And being a 14 month old, I was pretty sure she was saying - " Mommy mommy! Mommy mommy!" (which I translate as "Mommy, I'm so proud of you!".  I also realized that there were so many people missing from my judgement party. Like my husband who undoubtedly was giving me the thumbs up sign and shouting- "You did  it!" and my real friends, who were waving to me from outside of the Judgement Party windows mouthing- "Way to go Rivka!!". Why did I invite all of the people I thought did not truly get me or support me to my Judgement Party?"
I reflected on each one of the mirages of the inner bullies, realizing I did not truly care, deep down, what they thought of me. They did not know me or embrace me fully. "You're not my friend anymore!" I finally put my foot down.
As the long night wore on, I psychologically shooed them all out, one by one, those people whose unholistic and uncompromising opinions of me brought my inner forces down. And instead, I opened up the door to  a small select group of true friends, and my family, who all gathered around on comfortable couches and raises their glasses for my accomplishment. Not even caring about the product, but about me, about my guts, my attempt, my process.
And through that wholeness, I nursed my daughter and myself back to health.
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