What I Expected Was Not What I Got: Letting Go of Judgment and Green Tomatoes

Zig Ziglar Quote

Zig Ziglar Quote

I’m hoping that the last bit of warm weather will completely redden my green tomatoes. But I have become a great fan of green tomatoes since I first wrote this post 2 years ago. As I looked at all the beautiful green tomatoes still in my garden, I decided to re-post one of my favorites posts. Besides learning about how delicious green tomatoes are, this is a post for everyone who has ever judged or been judged. That means this is for everyone.

At the beginning summer, as I do every summer, I planted tomatoes. They were healthy enough, plenty of green leaves with lots of green beautiful tomatoes. These green tomatoes never turned red! It was frustrating at first. My expectations were for RED tomatoes. So I yelled at them, “Now listen here, Solanum Lycopersicum, how many times have told you to turn red? What’s it going to take to turn you RED!” No not really! 🙂 How could I judge or blame the fruit for not changing to red? No, I had to accept this and look at the circumstances. Maybe the tomatoes needed more water or more sun. Perhaps the dirt needed to be fertilized more. Or maybe it was too much rain.

What I expected was not what I got!

What I expected was not what I got!

When I told my friend Ashley about my tomato disaster she said, “Haven’t you ever made Fried Green Tomatoes?” I waited a little longer for them to turn but the frost was nearing. So in the end, I learned to make Fried Green Tomatoes. I was not prepared for how incredibly delicious Fried Green Tomatoes are! From now on, I am not only growing red tomatoes, I’m going to be picking the green ones, too. What a positive experience!

I can’t blame a tomato for being what it was not. I will never try to make a carrot be round or a bean grow in winter. I can’t make acorn squash grow as much as zucchini. As a gardener, I need to create the best circumstances for my vegetables and then let nature take its course. No blame and no judgment.

So why is it that when we have problems with a friend or a child that we judge them rather than look to outside circumstances? Why not view ourselves and the people in our life with understanding rather than judgement? In our society we’ve been taught to expect a lot of ourselves and the people around us. But in reality if you expect less, or even have no expectations, you’ll actually get more!

The Zen Papa and I have a running dialogue on judging. He says that judging is a natural part of human nature. We all do it. I agree! It’s natural to observe people. In fact I just love to stray over a cup of coffee at an airport or crowded corner, people watching and creating fun stories about everyone. The stories are judging just based on observation. What I don’t like is negative judging especially when it’s for the people closest to us…. and the worst, when it’s about judging ourselves! I’ve come to this conclusion: All judging is all based on expectations.

When you expect something of a friend, co-worker, family member, spouse, and they don’t live up to that expectation, then you are upset with them, or disappointed. It causes anger. But what if you had no expectations — then their actions would be neither good nor bad, just actions. You could accept them without frustration, anger or sadness.

When you let go of your expectations for yourself or others, you can find peace. Just like I let go of the red tomato. You’ll find that it’s liberating. Some people think that letting go of expectations means you’re giving up on a person. You’re not giving up; you’re letting go to the attachment of the outcome. And you’re giving permission to yourself or another person to be themselves. If you let go, you can be happier with life. And infinite possibilities open up for the person you were judging and for yourself.

Here’s your homework: Try a Judgment Free Day. Try a day of no expectations. Let go of perfection for yourself and for your family, friends and co-workers. When you feel the judgmental thought come, listen to it and then let it go.

Good luck with your homework! Let me know how your Judgment Free Day went and let me know in the comments below when NOT judging has really made a difference in your life. And here’s the recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes!

Recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes:
• 3-4 large green tomatoes
• cup of flour with a little salt, pepper and a dash of garlic powder added
• 2-3 eggs beat with a tablespoon of milk
• panko (Japanese bread crumbs or bread crumbs of choice)
• olive oil (I just put in a little rather than cover the whole tomato)

First, cut thick slices of the green tomato. Have three bowls ready. One with flour. One with eggs. One with panko. Dip the tomatoes in the flour first. Cover completely with flour. Dip in egg mixture next and then dredge them in the panko. (I’ve read that adding a little buttermilk to the eggs if good, too!) Lastly, fry up them up in the oil. Flip over when browned. Drain on paper towels. If you don’t want to fry in oil, you can bake them. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 7 minutes on one side then flip them over and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes.

Great eaten alone or dip in a sauce of mayonnaise mixed with a little lemon and a lot of dill. Very easy and delicious!

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”
~ Salvador Dalí

“If we stopped judging our success, our bodies, our relationships (and) our abundance, not only will we have more, but everyone else at the table will as well. And removing judgement makes room for something so much greater and so much more expansive.”
~Elle Sommer from Reflecting a Life

“There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.”
~ Buddha

*Also, if you love gardening, check out Fran Sorin’s, Author of Digging Deep, wonderful gardening blog, Fransorin.com.

Zentips:Miller:Accept people

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This entry was posted in Changing Ourselves, Connecting, Gardening, Letting Go, Parenting, Positve Thought and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to What I Expected Was Not What I Got: Letting Go of Judgment and Green Tomatoes

  1. Elle says:

    Love the idea of a non judgement day Betsy. I recently realised how subtle judgement can be. So subtle, I was unaware I was judging. Only simple and insignificant things, but judgement nevertheless. So I decided to be more aware of those little judgmental thoughts that don’t seem to matter, but add up into a big, less than lovely energy which none of us want in our world.

    And I thank you dear heart for the mention. 🙂

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  2. Jen says:

    LOVE revisiting your posts, Betsy! I also love fried green tomatoes.

    Very true about judgement. I will try to have a judge free day today.
    Hope all is well!
    Jen S

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  3. Ashley Slupe says:

    I’m going to have a non-judgement day today Betsy! Thank you,
    Ashley

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  4. I could be reminded of this EVERY SINGLE DAY! And like you say, it’s not that we can stop judging completely–it’s our expectations about our judgements that get us into trouble. That’s why I like to “observe” things without expectation. But that still doesn’t mean I don’t need to be reminded. Thank you. ~Kathy

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  5. You are right that judging is a natural and normal thing that humans do. Our ancestors had to make snap judgments in order to survive. It is true that they are based off of expectations like you said. I try everyday to recognize my judgments and let them pass. I was taught this skill through my time in DBT. It is interesting to carry a counter with you for a day and click it whenever you have a judgment. We have a lot : D.

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  6. Cathy says:

    This sounds delicious, Betsy. It is always fun to make a new discovery in the kitchen. We all do make judgements about other people, often subconsciously. This is a good reminder to just notice those judgements and be more aware. Thanks!

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  7. sherill says:

    Judgement free day is such a wonderful idea, I’ll try this one today…. Thanks for sharing a very enlightening article. Great post.

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  8. Lynne says:

    I definitely agree. I must say that I am guilty of judging others and yes expecting from others also. What I learned was that if you expect from others and then they do not live up to your expectations you feel angry and dissapointed. What I do now is I don’t expect. If they do something good then I am happy, if they don’t, because I didn’t expect won’t affect me. This has made me a less judging person and happier. Thanks for sharing. Will definitely try your recipe!

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