Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fear of Judgment

Sometimes I sit down to update my blog, excited to share what has been going on in my life or with a heavy heart to therapeutically work through "stuff" that I'm going through- not necessarily because I have a child with Down Syndrome- just new mom, wife to a very busy man, going back to work next week, struggling to organize my life, etc "stuff". I oftentimes find myself unable to say what I really want to say because of fear of judgment.

I think, "Oh, so and so might read this and I don't want to offend them" or "that one person would be really hurt if I said this" or "if I say this they might assume that" etc and so forth. Silly, yes. But a very real thing that I struggle with.

Growing up, my life was set up in boundaries that were always judged by what other people would think or say. The point of this post isn't to condemn the way I was raised. No, the point of this post is to explain how I have changed since then. I have struggled with this for years.

I no longer wear certain clothes just because I think everyone around me will approve. I wear clothes that I like and that my husband deems appropriate. I have branched out my TV show viewing past the Andy Griffith Show and Little House on the Prairie (although I still love both of those shows). I listen to music that doesn't fall into one of the classical music genres.

I like to think that I am getting to the point where I say and do things because I think it is right, not to achieve approval from those around me or to impress and dazzle whoever might be listening or watching. (There was a time when that defined everything that I did...yes, very wrong)

Addison has taught me so many things. One of those things being- life is hard. When you still perceive life as being easy, sitting around and nitpicking over fitting your actions to other people's approval might make more sense (although still doesn't make it right). But when you have been through something as horrifying as a pregnancy that makes you wonder if you will love your child and then spending weeks wondering if the child that you have now fallen in love with will even make it- you understand that there are a lot more important things in life to spend your energy on than constantly wondering what people are thinking and if they are judging your choices.

This was heavy on my heart this morning as I was thinking about something one of my friends is going through, and my first instinct was, "I can't share that- what will people think?" Which proves my point exactly and why I am posting this.

My husband Aaron has been like a rock, guiding me to the point to where I could let go of this all more. When we first got married, he would get so frustrated that all of my stories, thoughts, or choices started or ended with, "But what would they think?"

Don't get me wrong- I don't plan on barreling my way through life, running over whoever happens to be in my way and not caring what anyone thinks. No, that is not what I am getting at here. I am talking about subtle choices that are up to my family- not allowing fear of judgment from others to cloud our day to day life. I have discovered something recently (that is sad that it was only recently that I discovered this)- Life is hard, but it can still be a wonderful journey and you can still have FUN when you're not using all of your energy to worry, fret and painstakingly shape your life to other people's approval.

I want Addison to grow up able to just be herself. Not told that she has to conform a certain way for no real discernible reason. This is one reason why I struggle so much with people stereo-typing my daughter because she has Down Syndrome. When people refer to her as a 'they' or 'them', just assuming that she will be a certain way because of a label, that makes me soooo upset. Addison is an individual- a human being unique in her own way. There is no one else in the world like my daughter Addison. I look forward to seeing her grow up and yes, guiding her choices toward what is right and good, but beyond that allowing her to develop her own personality- her own flair for living life.

This post is forever long, but I needed to get this off my chest! If you read my blog, thank you. I don't think I have ever really said that before. I have been remiss in not doing so. I know my ramblings can be a bit much sometimes, so thank you for putting up with me and for joining us for my online portrayal of our "everything and nothing".

Have a wonderful Saturday!


  1. Thank you for posting this Deanna - you are a strong, wonderful person. :) And an inspiration to me; I seem to struggle with similar thoughts/feelings.

    We LOVE reading your blog!! Addison is seriously cute - love her smile. And that picture of Aaron "multitasking" from an earlier post... ha! Jesse said, "Whatever! He's doing the very best he can to keep her (Addison) from freaking out. He's doing a great job!" :)

  2. The words that struck me most in this post...

    "There is no one else in the world like my daughter Addison"

    So beautiful, so powerful, so true!

    I love your blog :)

  3. awww....thank you guys! katie- what the picture doesn't show is that Aaron attempted to carry Addison and the game set at the same time.....ha. i told him i was just glad he chose to drop the game set and not the baby! (-:

  4. I can so totally relate, Deanna. I have struggled with these same things over the past few years, but by God's grace and my husband's encouragement, I am learning to ask, "what does God think of my actions" than what others think. Daniel has been teaching through a book in SS called "When People Are Big and God Is Small" by Ed Welch and it addresses these very struggles. It's an excellent book and I would highly recommend it to encourage you more :)

    Love your blogs even though I don't always post something. Keep 'em coming!

  5. It is hard to put yourself out in public like we do with our blogs. I try to remember at times like these that I blog for myself. yes, it's still out there for others to see, but ultimately its for me.


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