I was walking to the train station on Saturday to catch a train to Brighton, I was taking my Son to meet an old friend of mine. It was pouring down with rain but I wasn’t phased, I was really looking forward to a cool glass of wine on arrival. As I was thinking about that lovely glass of wine, hair getting drenched and parker flying everywhere another Mum with a similar jacket and buggy was charging down the high street and gave me the dirtiest look I think I’ve ever received. I was really taken back by this as I had smiled on passing as I do to any other human I cross.
It wasn’t a look of “God I’m pissed off at life or at my kid”, it was a full on daggers at me! I have no idea why she did this but I found it really upsetting. What had I done in those few seconds to warrant that look? She was with her friend and when I turned around to see where my husband was they were staring back at me. Now I suffer social anxiety quite badly but I don’t tolerate rudeness. It really got to me, the entire walk and train journey to Brighton had left me feeling invasively vulnerable. I’m not a young Mum, I don’t have a lot of money to buy all the big brands but I’m doing great as a parent so far, what could it have been? And how dare she look at me like that, who was she anyway? I remember walking down the lanes in Brighton thinking of what I would say to her when I saw her in town next. I had an urge to tell her how rude she was and that as a fellow parent she should act a little more bloody supportive.
As I was thinking of my response to this awful woman my Husband turned to me and asked, “is the Mum world a bit competitive”? I explained that it really was quite a competitive arena even though it shouldn’t be. I asked why he had brought this up, he said that a lady we just passed had given the buggy and me a good looking over. Was I wearing the baby on my head or something equally subnormal? Insecurity was setting in big time and I could feel my anxiety kicking in. Was I doing something as a Mother I shouldn’t have been? Did I look like how I feel every day, Mombiefied? I started to really question myself and was getting quite upset as to why these two women were giving me the hairy eyeballs.
On Sunday I still couldn’t shake that awful feeling of insecurity. I was heading off for my Spa day that my husband had treated me to as a Birthday gift and I didn’t want my day to be ruined by these two women. But in order to enjoy my experience, I needed to clear it from my mind. I decided to use some of my spa time to look at why it was upsetting me so much. Interestingly there wasn’t anything new I could find on me, I have anxiety and I have insecurities. I know I have them and I deal with them as well as I can do. So my thoughts then changed to why am I giving these women the power to make me feel this way? Why should I allow someone to make me feel judged when they don’t know me or my story? What right does anyone, even if they do know me have the right to judge. To make me feel incompetent and reduce me back to a place where I have worked so hard to come out of. This lead me on to something new, how do I not let them or anyone else ever have this power over me to make me feel so low?
It’s surprised me that I came to the conclusion that the answer is compassion and love. Regardless of how anyone projects their emotions on to me, responding from a place of love can only be beneficial not just for me but for the person who genuinely needs it. I’d like to think that we don’t judge people out of love, we generally judge people from a lack of understanding that causes a sense of fear. I had to think to myself what did both of those women have going on in their lives to make them react the way that they did to me? What had happened in their day to warrant such behaviour? Maybe it wasn’t one specific thing, it could be just their outlook on life due to their environments. And perhaps it was nothing at all. But how can I judge that person when I don’t know them or what their story is? For me to judge would be ignorant and I would not be acting from a place of compassion or love.
I don’t have the power to change how anyone treats me, but I do have the power on how I let the situation affect me. And that will be not so much moving forwards! I will consciously acknowledge their behaviour, however, I will choose to respond from a new level compassion rather than a place where I feel personally attacked. For every look or comment that gets shot my way, I will spare a thought for them. I will send love for whatever they are going through at that moment in their lives. We don’t know people’s backgrounds or current situations that makes them have the outlook on people or life as they do. But remembering this and having compassion in that moment will help me to let it go and simply just be. And I will practice gratitude for my life each time it happens because I have so much to be grateful for, sometimes that’s worth remembering and celebrating over the negativity.
So if you see a fellow parent on the street making you feel a little insecure or judged, spare a thought for what she or he might be going through. Send a little love and compassion their way as they may need this more than you know. Hopefully this might leave you feeling a little fuzzy inside too!