When you’re looking for the perfect gift, it often comes down to what people want and or need. By the time you’re reading this, I hope the presents have already been shared, the wrapping paper is cleaned up, and you’re enjoying the simple gift of enjoying gifts.

What is Non-Judgment?

It’s about listening.

Specifically, listening with non-judgment. 

As you seek to build and maintain trust, the sixth aspect of BRAVING is non-judgment. Non-judgment is about being able to have a conversation about how you feel without judgment. It’s also about asking for what you need.

What is it you need?

As you think about the remainder of this week and next week, what is it that you need? Have you articulated that need to the people you love? If not, have the conversation today. 

The people around you can’t support you if they don’t know what you need. So, please don’t think naming your needs for the last 8 days of 2020 (or whenever you’re reading this) is selfish. Naming what you need is one tiny aspect of self-care.

Talking with others about how you can live into that need is a practice of non-judgment. 

Women, Men, and Gender Stereotypes

But…before you do. May I meddle in your life for a moment? Hey, at least I warned you.

This Christmas, I’m especially mindful of families. Parents, especially those with young children, have worn multiple hats for almost 10 months, often burning the candle at both ends while trying to juggle a career, care for the kids, and make sure school is happening as well. 

And, sometimes, it’s the teacher in the family who is doing what I just named. This only adds to the stress, responsibility, and overwhelm, even when you love what you get paid to do.

Additionally, I’ve watched my female colleagues bear the brunt of this pandemic. Guys, this isn’t a shame storm for you. Statistics tell us more women have lost their jobs, left their jobs, and are the primary person responsible for the household while managing a career too. 

The reality is, for many women, it’s just what we do. Some of the fiercest and most graceful women I know juggle 17 plates at one time while cooking dinner, feeding a baby, talking on the telephone, and changing a diaper…all at the same time.

The “ugly” side of what I’ve witnessed with my female colleagues with families is a gender stereotype: “his” profession is more important than “her” profession. If you’re living in 2020, you know dual-professional households, this is not only false, it’s unfair.

Give Yourself a Gift

Again, I use the example of women only to point this out: When she asks for an afternoon to herself to get a haircut or go shopping for an outfit, don’t get defensive and say, “I’ve been working from home for 10 months.” And, my female friends, your spouse has needs too. Pause and listen to one another and do your best to help each other get what you need.

Everyone in this season has more on their plate than is normal or manageable for anyone less than a superhero. And there are plenty of superheroes wandering around without capes in 2020. You’re living evidence of that.

Even so, give yourself a gift this holiday season. End the year on a high note by doing yourself and your spouse (and loved ones) a favor to begin 2021: have a conversation about what you need to rest, recharge, and get ready to continue running the marathon this pandemic handed us (without any training, by the way).

You’ve already been practicing braving the holidays. I pray you’ll not only end this year, but begin next year, with non-judgment.

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