Recently she presented me with a particularly unexpected selection: “What Would Judy Say? A Grown-Up Guide to Living Together with Benefits.”
I have watched Judge Judy on TV for years, but I’d never really taken the time to get to know the woman behind the show.
Well, my loss! Judge Judy is UH-mazing!!
She has the coolest website called “What Would Judy Say?” where she tackles issues as diverse as cancer and divorce, child custody and roommates, finding your passion and (obviously) living together outside of wedlock.
Now, to clarify, I am not currently living with anyone outside of wedlock or otherwise – except for, of course, my 14-year old parrot, Pearl, and my 13-month old tortoise, Malti.
But I have in the past, and if I did so again, I would follow Judge Judy’s advice to the letter – especially the parts about taking care of what my mentor calls “my own side of the street.”
Judy would call this “no joint anything.”
I call it planning for my own future….whether or not my significant other will or won’t plan for his.
The thing I like the most about Judge Judy is how very, well, grownup, she is about it all.
On the reverse side of her book, she shares an African proverb:
Only a fool tests the depth of the water by jumping in with both feet.
Maybe you are nodding your head right now (I was when I first read it!) But I have done this….I have jumped in with both feet, sometimes even thinking myself brave as I did!
Later I found out testing the water with one foot would have been both wiser and braver….and would have likely required far fewer band-aids.
The truth is, while there is plenty of drama in Judge Judy’s television courtroom, little if any of it is coming from her.
And while she can appear brusque or sharp at times, I have always sensed a deep underlying compassion – a kind of “get over it already life is short and if you don’t get unstuck now you’ll just have to get unstuck later!”
There is something else I didn’t know until I read “Living Together with Benefits.”
Judge Judy has been divorced twice – and one of those times was to the man she has since remarried (and is still married to), Judge Jerry.
She has definitely had her share of heart aches and heart breaks.
She has five children and 13 grandchildren.
She is not someone who sits on the sidelines, watching and listening to – and often, um, judging – others’ choices, and then writing about them.
She has lived what she writes about – which is to say, she is a mentor I can much more readily trust.
In fact, when I visited her website I discovered she has many, many, many, many other equally intriguing and helpful titles in the “What Would Judy Say?” series.
- “Don’t Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining”
- “Beauty Fades but Dumb is Forever: The Making of a Happy Woman”
- “Win or Lose by How You Choose”
She also just introduced a new FREE e-book called “Be the Hero of Your Own Life” – I have already downloaded it and queued it up to read – hopefully tonight!
I share all this because when I find a mentor who is brave and strong and loving enough to offer tough love in sound byte form (i.e. no beating around the bush or “prettying up” the ugly issue at hand), I want to share him or her here.
It is not an easy thing to do – to say the things we sometimes need to hear, but don’t want to hear. But it IS an infinitely loving, compassionate, respectful thing to do – even (especially) if it isn’t well received!
And, frankly, it is the kind of mentoring I have come to love best – the kind that gives me brass tacks directions for the fastest, shortest route from Point A (my current misery) to Point B (a fresh new chance to be happy).
Today’s Takeaway: Have you watched Judge Judy on television or read any of her books? Have you ever contributed any of your stories to her site (in addition to her courtroom and personal experiences, she draws heavily on reader shares for her material!) Who are your favorite “tough love” mentors and why do you resonate with their life and their insights?