A Letter To The Person Who Struggles With Judgment

A Letter To The Person Who Struggles With Judgment

We should not judge when we don't know what is going on in the inside.

Dear person who struggles with being judgmental,

It seems easy to judge people when they are not like you. If they have a different style, or they talk differently, or they are rude and mean, it is easy to look down on them. You can say something behind that person’s back, and at the moment you feel good, especially if your friend laughs. What are you really doing though? Making yourself feel good by trying to bring someone else down? Does it really make you feel good to think that someone probably does the same thing to you behind your back, or that the person you talk about is having a hard time?

When you take a step back and even put yourself into that other person's shoes, you see a different perspective. You may see someone whose parents fight every night. Or some whose family is living on a very fixed income. Or someone who has to deal with so much more than you can ever imagine. All of the sudden, judging others doesn’t seem like the right way to get out your frustrations even if you have your own storms in your life.

The bible has this to say about being judgmental, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself because you who pass judgment do the same things” Romans 2:1. This is basically saying that we cannot judge other people because you are pretty much pointing back at yourself. I have been told so many times that if you point a finger, you have three pointing back at you. This goes the same way with judgment. We are called by God to not put any stumbling blocks in front of our neighbors, which is anyone and everyone.

I cannot tell you the exact words or tools to use to help stop being judgmental. In my opinion, going to God is the only way to help get through the hard times and the judgment. All of this may seem harsh, but I feel some tough love is needed. I am not trying to be judgmental because I know where you are. Because I am you.

Cover Image Credit: Fostering Hope Project

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Sorry Not Sorry, My Parents Paid For My Coachella Trip

No haters are going to bring me down.

With Coachella officially over, lives can go back to normal and we can all relive Beyonce’s performance online for years to come. Or, if you were like me and actually there, you can replay the experience in your mind for the rest of your life, holding dear to the memories of an epic weekend and a cultural experience like no other on the planet.

And I want to be clear about the Beyonce show: it really was that good.

But with any big event beloved by many, there will always be the haters on the other side. The #nochella’s, the haters of all things ‘Chella fashion. And let me just say this, the flower headbands aren’t cultural appropriation, they’re simply items of clothing used to express the stylistic tendency of a fashion-forward event.

Because yes, the music, and sure, the art, but so much of what Coachella is, really, is about the fashion and what you and your friends are wearing. It's supposed to be fun, not political! Anyway, back to the main point of this.

One of the biggest things people love to hate on about Coachella is the fact that many of the attendees have their tickets bought for them by their parents.

Sorry? It’s not my fault that my parents have enough money to buy their daughter and her friends the gift of going to one of the most amazing melting pots of all things weird and beautiful. It’s not my fault about your life, and it’s none of your business about mine.

All my life, I’ve dealt with people commenting on me, mostly liking, but there are always a few that seem upset about the way I live my life.

One time, I was riding my dolphin out in Turks and Cacaos, (“riding” is the act of holding onto their fin as they swim and you sort of glide next to them. It’s a beautiful, transformative experience between human and animal and I really think, when I looked in my dolphin’s eye, that we made a connection that will last forever) and someone I knew threw shade my way for getting to do it.

Don’t make me be the bad guy.

I felt shame for years after my 16th birthday, where my parents got me an Escalade. People at school made fun of me (especially after I drove into a ditch...oops!) and said I didn’t deserve the things I got in life.

I can think of a lot of people who probably don't deserve the things in life that they get, but you don't hear me hating on them (that's why we vote, people). Well, I’m sick of being made to feel guilty about the luxuries I’m given, because they’ve made me who I am, and I love me.

I’m a good person.

I’m not going to let the Coachella haters bring me down anymore. Did my parents buy my ticket and VIP housing? Yes. Am I sorry about that? Absolutely not.

Sorry, not sorry!

Cover Image Credit: Kaycie Allen

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Miami Hamilton's 'Pro-Life' Display Does More Harm Than Good

Where is the line between free speech and student detriment?

On Monday, April 9, at Miami University Hamilton, the pro-life group Students For Life erected a display depicting a group of crosses, each representing babies that are “killed by abortion every day.”

The number was outdated and misleading, and no sources were cited. I assume that this data comes from a CDC study done in 2014, but doctors and scientists still have yet to come to a consensus on when a bundle of cells actually turns into a human being.

While everyone at Miami University has a right to voice their opinions via the First Amendment, this display was triggering to many students and affected their ability to perform at school. One of these students was kind enough to discuss her distress upon seeing this display with me.

“How could they shame young women trying their best to get an education? I started having panic attacks thinking about my loss and thinking of walking onto campus with big bold letters talking about ‘murder’ and crosses representing incorrect statistics about a woman’s choice.”

This student eventually chose to leave the university for the semester because of the trauma that this display brought up for her.

“I want to walk onto campus and not be afraid. I know pro-life people are not ones to put themselves in other people’s shoes often, but if they step outside of shaming women, can they look at my story and feel a little ashamed?”

Last year, the Students for Life went as far as to press charges against Miami University for “violating their First Amendment right of free speech.” The lawsuit was funded by the Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBT group, and cost the school more than $20,000 in a settlement. Students for Life argued that by being asked to put up trigger warnings ahead of their display, the university violated their rights.

“Trigger warnings” warn people who may be sensitive to certain subjects that upsetting content will be shown or displayed soon. Whether or not you agree with it, the choice to end a pregnancy is a hard one for anyone to make. Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS) is a disorder similar to PTSD with similar side effects. People who have had abortions may suffer from anxiety, depression, numbness, flashbacks and suicidal thoughts. Abortions that have happened after a rape can be even more traumatic for people, as PTSD from the assault may be combined with PASS.

Any of these symptoms may be triggered by a display like this one, which is why we need warnings to protect our students. These choices are tough for anyone to make, and this display serves no other purpose than to shame people who are trying to make the best decisions for them and their futures. This isn’t something that we need on a campus that preaches “love and honor.”

Another student group on campus, College Students for Reproductive Justice, tried to set up a counter-display. The university vetoed the display and told the group that they could not put up a display until the crosses were removed. The students put up a display of coat hangers to represent how many unsafe abortions are performed yearly.

I’m not saying that the Students for Life do not have a right to put up their displays, but why is a trigger warning such a terrible thing? Clearly, this upsets many students, and the roadblocks that the opposition had to go through to make their voices heard just makes students feel more powerless and shamed.

While the display is gone for now, displays like this go up every year all over the country. It’s time to start talking about how these do more harm than good and educate people on reproductive health and justice.

Students for Life at Miami Hamilton declined to comment.

Cover Image Credit: @muh_sfl / Instagram

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