"That Guy Is Insane!": How To Accept Your Own Feelings And Stop Judging Others

adult-change-clown-1990.jpg

Crazy is defined as “mentally deranged, especially presented in a wild or aggressive way.”

Deranged means “mad or insane”

(There is a loose overlap there because we can associate "mad" with presentations of wildness and aggression, so let us focus on Insane instead.)

Insane is defined as "in a state of mind which prevents normal perception, behavior, or social interaction, or seriously mentally ill."

Mmm okay, now we are getting somewhere. 


Just for fun, let us go back to the beginning and think of a common synonym to how we use the word Crazy:  Nuts. Nuts is defined as "insane". That is all. And that definition is presented online before any consideration of the plural form of the healthy food snack that grows on a plant. 


We have so distorted the use of the English language over the years that we use so many different terms to describe things that succeed more in producing drama about the subject than describing the subject as it is in basic terms for the audience to understand. 


Prime example: when we are describing something that was incredible, spectacular, or wonderful, we often use the word Unbelievable. Unbelievable is defined as "so great or extreme as to be difficult to believe" or "UNLIKELY TO BE TRUE". But if we just witnessed something that was great and we describe it in a way that means it is unlikely to be true, then we are lying to our audience. 


Sensitive Vocabulary


The words presented up top were chosen because by definition they are associated with mental illness but they have been used in modern vernacular to describe so many other things that their connection to mental health has been derailed. 


Consideration must be returned.


Now, I am not referring to when you say "Ahhh that movie was crazy!" or "that touchdown was insane" even though those are classic examples of the words' ubiquity. I am referring to when we use them to make a judgmental comment about another person who may seem like they are in a less fortunate situation than you are. 


Examples of this are "That guy is nuts..." or "Did you see her? She looked crazy!", used in such a way that assesses something about the way someone is. 


We take it upon ourselves to determine that person's identity...


Security blanket


So what is a judgment?


Other than bonding with your besties via bashing on someone else's behavior, the reason for judgments has a much more personal purpose.  Here is what happens:

  1. We witness somebody behaving in a way that we interpret as unusual, unfamiliar, or unexpected because it defies our overly routined template of daily life events

  2. We experience an emotional reaction to the unexpected event (perhaps fear, sadness, nervousness, or annoyance, maybe?) 

  3. Our emotional reaction is uncomfortable. 

  4. We look for someone / something outside of us on to whom / which we can displace our uncomfortable feelings. 

  5. We target the source of the unexpected event and create a story about that person to blame them for causing your discomfort. 


By projecting this judgment on to someone else's character, we suppress our real feelings and ignore our own pain. 


With each judgment, the suppression is strengthened and you get really good at ignoring your inner pain and pushing it out on to someone else. As a result, you get further and further away from your own emotional freedom...which leads to mental health issues. 


I cannot give you all the blame, though. It is a protective mechanism by which we can avoid pain. There is something basically evolutionary about that, but the benefit is short term. Just because you sweep the mess under the rug, it is still under the rug and it will eventually spill out.


The sad irony about judging others is that, in doing so, we identify what is "wrong" with someone or what needs to be "fixed" as a way to neglect what we are struggling with, even something that you have in common with those people you are judging.


Get over yourself


We all experience emotional discomfort throughout every day of the week. It is a guarantee. So why do we try so hard to cover it up from each other?


Why can't we team up on all of our pain and support each other instead of ostracizing those people who may actually know what you are going through?


Try it yourself, I dare you. 


Next time you experience some discomfort from someone else's unexpected behavior and you jump to judge their emotional / mental state, what are you feeling inside? 


Contact someone you trust and explain to them what just happened: the event + your emotional reaction.


See what they say. 


Based on their response, you will know if you can trust them with your honesty and emotional vulnerability...