How non-judgment can make you happier

Oct 23, 2015

When I first started freelancing, I quickly ran up against an interesting roadblock within myself.

I liked freelancing – the freedom, the flexibility, even many of the challenges! What I really hated, what I dreaded irrationally, with every shred of my being, was invoicing.

Don’t ask me why. I have looked for the answers, and they do not exist.

Perhaps it is because I hate busy work (I do) and found money a lame motivator (I do, however irrational that is).

Perhaps I do not enjoy asking people for what feels like a “favor” even when the “favor” is money that I have justly earned.

Perhaps an invoice bit me in the ankle when I was a kid.

The source of my dislike is almost moot. The point is that whenever it came time to make an invoice, I would whine and sulk and procrastinate.

I knew something had to be done about all this fairly-irrational behavior, so I did what felt right, which is:

I tortured myself.

I could not stop beating up on me and my STUPID STUPID habits and my DUMB NONSENSICAL DISLIKE of invoicing and how fundamentally I was an IDIOT because something that everybody else could do with seemingly NO ISSUES was SO DIFFICULT FOR ME AAAaaaaAAAAGGGHHHH.

The funny thing is that the more I beat up on myself, the more I dreaded invoicing, which led to me procrastinating, which made me beat up on myself, which led to late invoices, which led to more frustration.

But one day, I just got irritated by my own irritation – and tried being non-judgmental about it.

So I hated invoicing; that was fine! Could I find a quicker, less-painful substitute for my convoluted invoicing process?

Voila – once I let up on myself, and could free my overtaxed brain from the reflexive frustration/self-recrimination cycle, I gained a little perspective.

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I was able to relax. I talked to an accountant friend. He set me up a much simpler, easier invoice system – and all my irritation was resolved.

Invoices went out on time, with very little agita involved.

It was a silly little problem, and the solution was almost as silly. But since I was being so judgmental, I couldn’t see a clear escape plan.

If you’re struggling – if you cannot understand WHY X is so hard for you when it appears to be SO EASY for everyone else – try practicing a little friendly non-judgment.

Not all of us are meant to live the same lives. Not all of us have the same skills or tastes!

AND THAT’S OKAY! You don’t have to batter yourself against a wall endlessly to prove something to yourself about Character and Perseverance.

Next time you’re caught in the quagmire, try to take some time to examine your demons with non-judgment.

Freelancing is about flexibility, so go ahead: Allow yourself to exercise that; stretch a little and step outside of your own rigid perceptions.

Kate Shea lives and works in New York City, where she consumes an inordinate amount of Sriracha daily. You can catch up with her on Twitter at @katerone.

Kate Shea

Kate Shea lives and works in New York City, where she consumes an inordinate amount of Sriracha daily.