The Common Good

There Is No Room for Love In Judgment and Shame

Image courtesy MariaShriver.com
Image courtesy MariaShriver.com

“There is no room for hate in love.” – A wise girlfriend once told me to remember that.

Let it land.

Soak it in.

She’s right. But, I would add another line: “There is also no room for judgment and shame in love.”

I just made a film, Paycheck to Paycheck, about an inspiring and courageous woman named Katrina Gilbert. It’s the kind of film that I believe will stay with you long after you see it.

A few people who attended our L.A. premiere confessed that before seeing the film they had already judged both the subject matter and the woman herself. Katrina is a single mom with three children, who like 42 million working women in America, is living paycheck to paycheck. She’s not just on the brink of poverty, she’s living in it.

They judged her. Blamed her for the situation she finds herself in.

Judging shames.

I’m sure we have all done it. And I’m sure we have all felt it. And when shame lands, wow does it hurt.

I gave up chips and guacamole for Lent, but I’m now adding judgment to that ‘Give Up’ list.

I can’t stand how it makes me feel to judge and be judged. And I can’t stand how often it’s directed at women and men who live on the brink with their children churning in and out of poverty.

I hope you watch this film. By yourself, with your kids, or, even better, with a group of friends. It’s being streamed free for one week courtesy of HBO, so it won’t cost you a thing.

Let the film in. Please try to suspend judgment and watch with an open mind. And an open heart.

Because it’s true: what the world needs is more love. I’m not talking about big, epic, The Bachelor type of love. I’m talking about being kind, empathetic, understanding, compassionate. Caring for our fellow humans.

That, after all, is what love is.

Remember what my wise girlfriend said: There is no hate in love. And there is no love in shaming or judging.

I hope Katrina’s resilience and positive attitude inspires you to show that compassion to yourself. From there it will all just flow forward.

That’s what I’ve been thinking about this week. What about you?

Maria Shriver is a mother of four, a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning journalist and producer, a six-time New York Times best-selling author, and an NBC News Special Anchor covering the shifting roles, emerging power and evolving needs of women in modern life. This piece originally appeared on MariaShriver.com .

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