As I did the Complaint-Free exercise from the previous post, I realized many of my complaints came out of judging people and situations. So, in the manner of the Complaint-Free Day, I decided to try a day with no judging. For the purposes here, we will focus on no negative judgments.
First, what is judging? Dictionary.com defines judgment as: ‘to infer, think, or hold as an opinion; conclude about or assess.’ Seems like a lot of work.
Right off the bat, I realized that I judge others when I am unsure about myself. I’m sure this is the ego’s way to feel better about myself by putting others down.
I also discovered something surprising. Not only was I judging others, I was also judging myself and situations. So this day of no judging, is about not labeling my actions as good or bad, not classifying an event as fun or boring, difficult or easy, as well as not judging other people.
A few times recently when I found myself in true joy, I realized after the fact that I didn’t judge others at all. I find when I am truly joyful, which means I am on my path, I am focused on love, I am having fun, I am doing meaningful things, I don’t judge others. Judging doesn’t even cross my mind. When I am in this state of true connection with what really matters, I am not concerned with negative aspects of others or myself. So, the opposite must be true…We judge others when we are not in touch with our true selves, not doing our divine work, not on purpose with our divine plan, or simply not enjoying life.
Benefits of Not Judging
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes tend to dismiss things without giving them a chance. I now see that this is one of the detriments of judging. I’ll have an idea, and then, I immediately judge it as bad or dumb or list the many reasons why it couldn’t work. Then, of course, I don’t follow the idea since I’ve already negatively judged it. If I didn’t judge the idea, then maybe the idea would have a chance to actually turn into something, perhaps something magnificent. But it never gets that chance.
A monumental thing that happens when you don’t judge something – you give it space to reveal its true meaning. What we would judge as a bad or uncomfortable circumstance could have a purpose of teaching us something or showing us an alternate way or presenting a new idea. For example, if we judge an argument as wrong – or more likely we judge our counterpart in the argument as wrong – we never allow a meaningful lesson to be revealed. We have already labeled him or her as wrong in their criticism of us, for instance, and so we don’t see that there is a kernel of truth in that and, thus, never go about improving ourselves. We just stay stuck in the negative judgment.
We judge not only to feel better than others but also to distract us from our divine goals. Fear of success, fear of failure, fear of unknown, fear of change…whatever the reason, we fear and put off our personal growth. We become preoccupied with others’ inadequacies in order to stall or block our personal growth. If we are so drawn into the drama or flaws of others we are distracted from looking at what we’d like to improve in ourselves.
Ways to Stop Judging
When I find myself judging, I ask myself, Why do I care?! Why am I taking the time and effort to judge this person or situation? Then I remind myself, I am judging in order to not see something in myself that needs improvement. Or maybe it is myself that I am judging. Either way, I return to my good ol’ foundational self-worth exercises.
Also included in the definition of judgment is a legal judge. I like to use the image of a judge, you know, in his or her formal robe and I like to throw in there the British judge with the white wig and all to really amp up the image. I picture myself in this getup when I am amidst a judgment and – after a bout of laughter – realize that is so not my job! And it sure seems like a lot of unnecessary work. It’s a good way to snap myself out of focusing on criticizing others, myself, or situations.
Bottom line, the key to not judging (it’s always the same answer) is to love ourselves. When we know our value and worth from within, we don’t need to seek it by external means. If we can redirect this time, effort and energy wasted on judgment to loving ourselves, others and finding the good in situations, it is sure to let in some really good stuff and change our lives for the better.