This quote by Hannah Brencher really spoke to me.  For me this is the best gift - to feel safe to be yourself, make mistakes, and make decisions without judgment.  I am the most creative and the happiest when I am with people like this.  

Growing up, I was in a saturated religious environment.  And though I have great memories and made some good friends, there were always people who were quick to judge if you weren't playing by the rules.  The church I grew up in saw things as very black and white.  You either did something or you didn't.  There was a very strict (and long) list of things that you did not do and there wasn't a lot of wiggle room or sympathy when you strayed outside of that box.  I think that is why I'm more sensitive to being accepted as I am...without judgment.  I played by the rules in that environment, but never felt like I was given the opportunity to thrive or choose the direction that I wanted to take with my life.  

We all hope to have someone in our life who will give us this feeling.  We hope it's our family, our best friends, our significant other....but that's not always the case.  Often times, those are the people who judge us the most or whose opinion of us means the most.  

I want to give this gift to others.  I want my best friend, my husband, my children, and other family members to feel safe to express their opinions and make mistakes.  I would genuinely like everyone I come into  contact with to feel like this.  Why do we feel the need to openly judge and criticize others?  We are not walking in their shoes and have no idea of the struggles they are facing.  Usually, when we hear someone else's side of the story - everything makes sense and the judgment dissolves.  Why don't we give them the benefit of the doubt from the beginning?

WellnessJoanna Simmon