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Jill’s House: ‘Don’t judge. Just accept.’ Accepting others and loving yourself

Camryn expressing herself. Shirt, pants, skirt AND a dress. If she feels beautiful, fine by me!.
Camryn expressing herself. Shirt, pants, skirt AND a dress. If she feels beautiful, fine by me!. Jill Officer

Canadian Olympic gold medallist and Winnipeg mom Jill Officer gives us a twice-monthly look behind the scenes of her dual life in her blog, Jill’s House. 

It was Christmas Eve when I took Camryn to see Santa at the mall. Afterward we went to the play area for her to burn some energy. As she was playing, I was people watching and listening.

I heard one mom as she helped her eight or nine-year-old daughter put her boots on. The boots were leopard print, wedge heels. Her daughter had tights on and a skirt. I overheard the mom as she helped her daughter, say “mommy would never wear boots like this with a dress. It’s not very ladylike.”

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about judgments and how we judge people without even thinking about it and without even realizing that’s what we are doing sometimes.

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Did that mom even realize she was judging and criticizing her daughter’s choice of wardrobe? When we judge our kids, I think we limit them. We limit their personal expression. We limit their confidence. We limit them from being who they truly are.

Granted, we have to guide them sometimes as we don’t want our five-year-old getting dressed in a strapless shirt and too short skirt but within reason, we need them to express themselves, to be themselves.

If there is one thing I have learned through being an elite athlete, it is that there is no better space to be in than that confident space of being your authentic, true self.  It is not always an easy place to find or stay in, but boy it is great when I am there.

And because I have learned that and strive to consistently be in that special place, it is one of my greatest goals with my kid – for her to be completely comfortable with who she is; to not be ashamed of her true self; and to know that it is okay to be different – that she doesn’t have to conform to societal expectations or perceptions of what she should be.

Now granted, part of encouraging this in Camryn is also encouraging the goodness in her, guiding her away from wrongdoing and teaching her to be loving.

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But one of my greatest parenting moments to date is when Camryn said to me one day, “Awe, I love myself,” and proceeded to give herself a hug.

Camryn expressing herself.
Camryn expressing herself. Jill Officer

How many of us as adults do this? How many of us even think to do this? Why don’t we do this? Is it because we would judge ourselves for doing something that society would think is silly or corny? Honestly, why do we care? We need to do what is right for ourselves. We all need a little more self-love.

And self-love is about being the true you. Being non-judgmental – not only to others, but even more importantly to ourselves. If you are judging others for what they are doing, what they are wearing or things they say, what are you actually judging about yourself?

Judging ourselves is the worst kind of judgment. It is a barrier between the protection our ego gives us and the freeing beauty of authenticity.

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I bet as you read this, some of you are judging me for what you might think are corny words or crazy thoughts. Am I right? Well maybe you are judging yourself. Maybe you’re judging yourself for agreeing with me deep down; for understanding me; and for knowing that I have a valid point.

But don’t judge. Just accept. I am giving you permission to be your true, authentic non-judgmental self.

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