Judging others is widely frowned upon in modern society. A popular quote attributed to Plato pleads, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
Who are we to judge another person? We can't possibly know everything that someone is going through or has experienced.
But what if that judgment comes from a place of love and encouragement?
Sometimes those close to us might judge our direction in life, only because they're concerned.
Throughout my life, I've been lucky to have supportive friends and family. But whenever they asked questions about the path I was on, I would get defensive.
I couldn't recognize that their concern came from a place of compassion. They were hoping the best for me, and wanted me to achieve my potential.
I've spent a lot of time living in my own world. I've drifted in and out of things like entrepreneurial ventures, artistic projects, and wanderlust. I convinced myself that I was building skills and being productive, when in reality these endeavors were largely illusions rather than legitimate pursuits.
I could never fail at anything if I was always in the middle of a personal project that I believed was important.
Eventually, I had to confront reality. I invested in my education and focused on pursuing a good career.
It's fine to be a dreamer, but the life of a starving artist or idealist is over-romanticized. If you can't be independent and support yourself, then you become a burden on others.
So when you feel the sting of social judgments, try to resist your inclination towards defensiveness. Those close to us want the best for us, and sometimes we need tough love in order to wake up to reality.