Let’s be honest, most of us pass judgment on a daily basis. As we roll through life we give our thumbs up or down to just about everyone and everything we encounter. We pass judgment on how people drive, dress, speak, look, vote, worship, raise children, treat employees, run the country, serve the country and educate our children. Our friends over at Webster’s inform us that “to judge is to form an opinion by carefully weighing and considering evidence.” I contend that the vast majority of us don’t “weigh or consider” much of anything before we pass judgment. It is human nature to surround ourselves with people and circumstances that provide us with a high level of comfort. Anyone or anything that doesn’t fit into our “comfort zone” is an easy target for judgment. Today, I want to take a closer look at the word JUDGMENTAL and offer some ideas on how each of us can become less judgmental in our day to day interactions. Remember….When you point your finger at someone else there are three fingers pointing back at YOU.
J=Jealousy. Judgment can be triggered when we perceive that someone has something that we want but have failed to obtain. For example, my neighbor pulls up in a new car that just happens to be the car of my dreams. I am a month late on my car payment due to a recent job loss. I am unable to be happy for my neighbor and find myself seething inside. Studies show that jealousy arises more often in people who are fear based and exhibit low self esteem. Snide remarks, cut downs and vicious accusations are often voiced by people who are consumed by jealousy. When these feelings begin to surface (and they will) we need to ask ourselves two questions. What am I really upset about? How are my feelings of jealousy and envy going to serve me in getting what I truly want? An honest answer to these questions will put things in perspective and can also soften your feelings of resentment and anger.
U=Uncomfortable. Judgment is an uncomfortable feeling. When I am in judgment I usually have accompanying feelings of frustration and anger. First, I must determine what am I angry about? Then I must re-frame the situation in a manner that evokes a positive emotion? Discomfort of any kind is a sure sign that something needs to be addressed.
D=Divisive. Judgment is divisive. When I am in judgment my mindset is “me versus you.” I have determined that you are wrong in your actions, beliefs and choices. I see this played out time and again in religion and politics. “Republicans are evil”, “Catholics are the superior religion”, “Buddhists are whack jobs” and “those crazy left wingers are ruining our country.” When we find ourselves in this mindset we must ask some key questions. What is it that I am afraid of? Why am I resistant to a different point of view? How can I look at this situation in a more objective manner? When we focus on understanding another person’s beliefs or point of view it becomes much easier to release the energy that is keeping us in judgment.
G=Grace. Judgmental people struggle with the concept of grace. Throughout our lifetime we will encounter people who act, think and believe differently than we do. Showing grace allows us the freedom to let our guard down and open up to different points of view. Things tend to look differently when viewed from a spiritual perspective.
M=Mean. Judgment is mean spirited in nature. Think about your own patterns of judgment. Do you speak favorably about the people or situations you are judging? What type of language are you using? Is it uplifting or derogatory? Is what you are communicating even true? It is important to remember that a great deal of what we say about others is how we truly feel about ourselves. Change your language…change your outlook.
E=Ego. The Ego will fight very hard to make others wrong or different. Whenever we go to a place of judgment our Ego goes into celebration mode! The Ego loves conflict, fear, separation, guilt, envy and anger. By being mindful of our Ego and the dysfunctional role it plays, we are better equipped to manage our psychotic need to focus on the shortcomings of others.
N=Needs. When we find ourselves judging other people it is important to identify the area in which we are feeling inadequate. For example, if I am envious of my brothers “awesome” marriage I may start looking for faults in other areas of his life. Once my judgmental feelings toward my brother begin to surface I can choose to stop, take a look at my own marriage and determine what areas I can focus on to make it more fulfilling. By taking personal responsibility for my own marriage I will no longer have the need to make my brother wrong for having his “awesome” marriage.
T=Transference. Transference is an unconscious re-direction of feelings from one person to another. In other words if I can make it about YOU then I won’t have to look at ME. It is far easier to focus on my brother and his shortcomings than it is to look at myself and admit that I have some work to do. Taking personal responsibility is an important first step in releasing our judgmental thoughts.
A=Acceptance. We must be willing to view people and situations in a more objective light. When we are coming from a place of judgment we are focused solely on changing or fixing people and situations so that we can feel more comfortable. It is important to recognize our patterns of judgment and change our focus from THEM to ME. When we are focused on ourselves we have very little mind space for judgment.
L=Love. When we spend our time in judgment we leave very little room for love. We offer “selective love” to those who conform to our perception of how the world should look. When anyone disagrees with us or offers another opinion we banish them from our heart space until they are willing to accept our point of view. Withdrawing love is an unconscious control drama that many of us engage in on a regular basis. In order to unconditionally give and receive love we must release our need to be right.
My hope is that you will find this information helpful as you make your way down the path. As always, I appreciate your thoughts and feedback.