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I Felt Judged

Published on September 7, 2020

When I shared recently that Peter and I were getting a puppy from a breeder, a few people reacted negatively, making it clear they disagreed with our choice and urging us to adopt rather than buy, all this without inquiring about our situation or perspective.

I explained that we needed the dog to be hypoallergenic, that we’d checked local shelters and rescue organizations (they are largely cleared out, a wonderful silver lining to this pandemic). None of these options worked out so after an exhaustive search, we settled on a reputable breeder in our area who is passionate about her dogs, provides them loving care, breeds them selectively, and personally interviews prospective owners to find wonderful homes for her pups. Do I sound defensive? Yep, a common reaction to feeling judged and misunderstood.

This made me think about the words we use and how they convey curiosity and ideation vs. judgment and shame. I know I’ve erred on the side of judgment plenty of times myself!

Curiosity and ideation:

Tell me more…
I wonder if…
I heard of (a resource)…

Judgment and shame:

Why would you…
I would never…
Shouldn’t you…

Do you see what I mean? Which would YOU rather hear?

YOUR TURN: This week, pay attention to your words, particularly when you disagree with someone. How can you use curiosity and ideation in your response rather than judgment and shame?

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Hélène Stelian, the Midlife Empowerment Coach

I’m Hélène, the Midlife Empowerment Coach. I help women who are struggling in midlife—who wonder if their best years are behind them and what’s next for them. I show them how to put themselves first, reclaim their identity, figure out what’s next, and feel excited about their future.


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