Filtering judgments and surviving the pressure
On one side of great São Paulo, Mariana struggles to park her car in front of the school of her two and five-year-old children, while she tries to talk on the speakerphone with her colleague who is waiting for her to present a project they have been working on for over 6 months. The yoga classes and the meditation she had adopted exactly in order to make her less anxious had to be left aside, obviously for “more important” things, home, work, children, husband…
In the late afternoon, in a well-known maternity ward, Laura, exhausted, but with her hair well done, less than 12 hours after the C-section that brought her first daughter into the world, leaning back in bed, smiles trying to look good while receiving her first guests. The proud husband toasts “his” accomplishment with his brother-in-law and an older uncle each with a generous dose of whiskey, totally unaware of the discomfort that Laura feels in the lower abdomen for the recent surgery while pretending to pay attention to the conversation of her aunts, in a professorial tone saying that from now on life changes completely; a baby brings not only more responsibility but a much greater burden of pressure on the woman, who needs to divide herself between being a good mother, a professional and a housewife without forgetting to keep the marriage alive. After all, if the husband is left aside he will begin to pay attention to women who are fit, beautiful and rested, and that, dear, is when marriage begins to fall apart. In a nutshell, this means that the success or failure of the marriage is in Laura’s hands.
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If these two situations don’t sound like fiction to you, know that you are not alone. Every day women have to deal with an inhuman pressure coming from family, culture and society. Whatever your decision, you will be judged. If you choose to leave work aside for a while or slow down to devote yourself to the newborn baby, you’ll probably be told you are accommodated. On the other hand, if you hand over the 4-month-old infant to a third party, you run the risk of being labeled the coldest, most calculating workaholic woman in the world, without the slightest maternal instinct. The point is that we all have the right to choose. However, these choices come with such judgments. Those who judge us have had their choices and make their judgments from their point of view. And that will not change. People will continue to be judgmental whether we like it or not.
An effective way to go through these situations without getting a nervous breakdown is to try to change your point of view about the judgment of others. Instead of taking it personally, even if the judgment is directly addressed to what you are living, you can choose to respect other people’s opinions without accepting them. Believe me, when we choose to listen without being reactive or resistant, we save a good dose of energy and with time we program our filter according to our convenience.
This attitude takes us out of this position of needing to please everyone, much less putting our skill to the test in all sectors of our lives.
It is kind of like understanding that the woman wonder of the cartoons who saved the day and still showed her impeccable hair waves and red lipstick, was only possible because she was not real.
See too: Interview with Patricia Caetano