A TRAINED REACTION
I used to pride myself on being someone who could evaluate people and situations correctly. Once I made an assessment of how someone was, that was it – they were what they were according to my point of view. I was the judge, the jury, and the expert. I used to think that if I said it, it must be true. I considered myself a reasonable and intelligent person. How silly that all sounds to me today. Back in the day, I never questioned my judgments. I thought this is what people did. But, with experience and an awakening, I realized nothing could be further from the truth. I came to see that my judgments of others had nothing to do with them and everything to do with me.
We are raised in a world where we are taught to judge each other for what we perceive as shortcomings. That’s because we are taught to judge ourselves for the same reason. But, we have been tricked. That any one of us has shortcomings is nothing but a lie. No one does. It doesn’t matter if someone doesn’t look like you, if they don’t pray like you, if they don’t act like you, or if they don’t love like you- there is nothing wrong with them just as there is nothing wrong with you. We all want to live the way we think is best, but the idea of how to do that and what that looks like applies to only one person – you.
It takes a lot of energy to judge and hate. What if we took the energy we use to judge others and ourselves as “not good enough” and used it, instead, to practice self-acceptance and acceptance of others? What would happen then? I believe we would have the opportunity and the energy to experience life in a more joyful, more connecting way. We would quickly begin experiencing life as it truly is. That just sounds nice, doesn’t it!
JUDGMENT IS PROJECTION
All judgements of others are a projection of internal unhappiness onto the outside world. The beauty of this, though, is that it helps us learn how we really feel about ourselves.
Other people and situations are gifts to us to help us remember that we are not our thoughts. We are so much more.
Let’s say you are reserved and quiet and you see a person who is loud and talking to everyone – the life of the party, so to speak. You will most likely find this person to be an obnoxious show-off. This will be your judgment, but the judgment has nothing to do with the other person and everything to do with you. It is because you would be embarrassed acting that way that you resent someone else doing it. Perhaps you think you can’t “let go” in case someone laughs at you or maybe you think you won’t be accepted if you act expressing yourself in a different manner. Whatever it is that keeps you from being free- figure it out and then let it go. There is no reason to feel stifled and stiff. Be free.
We can see this repetitive mechanism playing out each time we see someone doing something great or getting recognition and we haven’t yet done what we really want to do. We resent the other person instead of being inspired by them because we are unhappy with our perceived lack of success. In this mindset, we are rarely able to be truly happy for others and often downplay their accolades in a perverted attempt to feel better about ourselves. Why don’t we try something new? Instead of feeling bad about ourselves and the other person, let’s see them as an inspiration to us and ask them to help us take steps to meet our personal goals. This way we connect with others and do something we always wanted to do. That’s a winning combination.
Many of us negatively judge the behavior of others when, in fact, we do the exact same thing. This is an easy one to see. For example, I have a friend who constantly complains about how her sister uses people to fill her time because of her fear of being alone. In fact, my friend does the same thing. People are typically “fillers” for her time so she doesn’t feel alone and lonely. Many of us do this as if to “give away” something we don’t like in ourselves by focusing on it in someone else. Maybe we can hide from our unhappiness if we blame someone else for doing what we do. Don’t be tricked by this any longer. Use it to see how you really feel about yourself and then correct it.
MAKING A NEW HABIT
Awareness that we judge others is the first order of business in allowing judgments to teach us about ourselves. Being aware that we judge ourselves is the second order of business. As we open our minds to the truth of what’s really going on within us, we will begin healing what has held us back and made us unhappy in our lives. The third piece of breaking free from judgments is acceptance.
Acceptance is the antidote to judgment. This means accepting ourselves and others. By accepting ourselves and others we are saying, “It’s ALL okay”. We are saying, “The way I am is okay and the way you are is okay. My way is not better than yours and vice versa.”
Accepting ourselves as we are doesn’t mean we don’t do things different that we do now; it just means we don’t feel bad about what we do or don’t do. This is not a substitute for morality. In fact, accepting ourselves and others has nothing to do with morality and everything to do with correcting an error in our training. So, perhaps we can practice saying, “Okay” when someone says something to us; we no longer have to take it personally or react defensively. We can accept that others have different opinions and just let that be as it is. Once we are aware of this mechanism, it is a matter of breaking a habit. All habits can be broken. When this one breaks, real love rises to the surface.
What is real love? It is love without conditions. Non-judgment is an aspect of real love. So, what really happens when we stop judging ourselves and others is that we experience real love. Acting in a loving manner allows us to experience life as it really is and people as they really are, including ourselves. This is an amazing perspective, but most of us don’t even know who we without judgments. Don’t you think it’s time for us to get to know the real person we call “me”? If so, then do yourself a favor and practice non-judgment every chance you get. Accept and love. It’s time.