Judgement – the ability to make considered decisions or come to a sensible conclusion.
Let’s face it we all judge, we do it when we gossip, when we roll our eyes, when we read something online or witness someone around us. Some people judge openly and loudly, others quietly and behind closed doors. Some people try not to judge others and instead turn all of their judgement inwards. Judgement is needed in times of safety or making decisions when we call to our better judgement or come to a sensible conclusion. However, in reality, most of the time our judgement is of someone or something in our environment that isn’t following the ‘shoulds’ and ‘supposed to’s’ that we have created personally or collectively. We make snap judgements without knowing the full story and our conclusion is often miles away from sensible or compassionate.
Judgement is like a default setting we reset and keep switched on throughout our day. It becomes such a natural thought process that we feel justified in calling people out for their behaviour, appearance, way of living their life. We gossip and gab about people and their lives and how we would do it differently, how we know better. Worst of all we judge ourselves for a litany of failings or shortcomings in our lives, from our appearance to our behaviour. We have become so accustomed to allowing the inner critic to judge each and every step we take in life that we normalise this self-destructive behaviour. We also take on other people’s judgements as our own, about ourselves or others and add fuel to this never-ending cycle of judging. We are so afraid to show our real, authentic selves that we judge others for doing so even though we crave that freedom.
But where does all this judging behaviour get us? There is no pay-out or reward for this behaviour. If we judge others, we may initially feel justified and vindicated in our behaviour. If we judge ourselves, we may feel like this will inspire us to do better, live better, be better. The truth is that we have stepped fully into fear and further away from love. We drag up old pain and hurt like it has a special place in the present moment, when really it is a jumble of past ideas, opinions, perceptions, biases and ideals that we once held. It is a mix of our parents, peers, societal ideas and conditions that we accepted as our own.
Everything we feel, any emotional state we find ourselves in, comes from a place of love or fear. The more we understand this the better awareness we have to our reactions and to the people and situations in our life. With this awareness comes a better idea of how to adjust to this behaviour or way of thinking and to realign with love. If we are angry, resentful, scared, worried, anxious, frustrated, irritated, agitated, disappointment, disgusted, judgemental we are coming from a place of fear. Something a person has done or said has triggered a fear response within us and in doing so has scratched a scab or on an old wound. When we are scared, acting from fear we run away (repress these emotions) or fight (aggression, anger, emotional reaction or over reaction). Instead of dealing with what has come up for us emotionally, our default setting of judgement is switched on and we slide down the slippery slope of judging others. Like any fear response we feel better initially as the stress hormones rush around the body but all we are doing is prolonging the healing that needs to occur.
The first step is to accept that everyone is on their own journey in life and we don’t need to add running commentary, based on our way of thinking and experiences. In Buddhist tradition and meditation, practicing non-judgement is an important lesson for our spiritual and human path. The teachings reflect that any day spent judging others or ourselves is a day of suffering, a painful day. Within mediation we are asked to just notice and observe. Be aware of the thoughts and emotions that come up and instead of getting sucked into the story to observe them non-judgementally. When we witness them as the observer instead of the person experiencing the emotions or thoughts we remember that we are not our emotions, we are not our judgements or our thoughts. When we witness them as the observer we let go of the attachment to that emotion and storyline and come back to the present moment. The more we practice this in meditation the more we can bring this into our daily lives.
“Non-judgement quietens the internal dialogue, and this opens once again the doorway to creativity.” Deepak Chopra
Non-judgement is a practice, it will not ensure that you will never judge again, you will. But the practice of non-judgement will bring more awareness and insight into how and why you’re judging and allow you let go of and heal some old emotions and thought patterns that no longer serve you. Remember when we feel fear or any emotion stemming from fear we are in the fight or flight mode, we are Mama Bear on full protective mode and she won’t back down easily. This is a practice in choosing happiness over judgement, peace over pain and suffering, love over fear. Otherwise, what’s the alternative? A life of resentment, pain and fear? I know I would rather the path of love and peace.
To begin the journey of healing judgement and restoring love, we must recognise that we all have the same problem and the same solution. Our problem is that we are separated from love and the solution is a return to love. – GB Judgement Detox.
Try some of these tools and techniques;
Awareness – Judging others does not define who they are, it defines who you are. Take a day or a week if you are brave and see how often you are judging others. How often, when, why, how to I judge others? How and why do I judge myself? How is this serving me? What is at the root of this judgement? Journal on this each evening to gain even further insights.
Acceptance and acknowledgement – Oh hey Judge Judy – ask for help and guidance. This is a practice in non-judgement so don’t judge yourself for judging others. Say a mantra / prayer to change that fearful thought back to love. Here are some of my favourites from Gabby Bernstein.
I forgive myself for having this thought, I choose love instead.
I want to decide otherwise because I want to be at peace.
This is a divine assignment for healing and growth, I surrender and accept this lesson.
I am determined to see this with love.
I am willing to allow myself to surrender/ to forgive/ to heal / to return to love.
The light in you is all I see.
- Practice compassion, empathy. See the light in everyone you see and interact with. If people are behaving negatively to those around them, it is a reflection of how they treat themselves. Send them love, they need that more than anything else. Know that they are out of alignment and acting, speaking, behaving from a place of fear.
- Heal and forgive – We must honour the wounds, not just keep putting bandages on them, we need to feel it, acknowledge it, honour it before we can let it go. Judgement keeps us in the victim mind frame but we must remember that we are never ‘stuck’ anywhere because everything is always changing and evolving. When we let go, we surrender the need to judge, we surrender the need to be the victim, we surrender the hold of the ego and allow ourselves to realign with love and in doing so heal the wounds. How? Meditate, cut the chords, Ho’oponopono , EFT/tapping, therapy, surrender (just be willing initially).
*Read Gabrielle Bernstein The Judgement Detox to further explore judgement. Gabby is one of my favourite authors and this book is a must!!