It’s been another eye opening, awaking week. A look in the mirror and observe what is glancing back time. A calling out of another’s faults that in turn caused me to turn inward and take a look at my own. What surfaced? Judgment.
I will be the first to admit that this has been an issue my entire life. I grew up in a family where the faults of others were pointed out on a regular basis. Oftentimes, fault finding with others was a way of diverting the attention away from self.
Judgment is a wicked thing. Many times our judgment comes from skewed opinions that we have formed. Whether it be about ourselves, others or a situation.
Have you ever noticed how 2 different people witnessing the same situation can have a totally different view? One person judges the event as awful the other as enjoyable.
Think about your favorite type of movie, place to eat, music or politics. In our house, my taste in movies, music, food and especially politics are totally different from my husband’s! Do I have a right to judge his preferences as wrong because it doesn’t agree with mine? I’d like to think so…but I don’t.
I’ll admit that this is very difficult for me. I want to sit as judge and jury. What’s wrong with people? Can’t they see it my way? Can’t they see that what they are doing is going to cause harm? They need to take their blinders off and look at what is going on!
Judgments are our way of seeing the world. It’s just one perspective. In his book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz states,
“We make the assumption that everyone sees life the way we do. We assume that others think the way we think, feel the way we feel, judge the way we judge, and abuse the way we abuse. This is the biggest assumption that humans make. And this is why we have a fear of being ourselves around others. Because we think everyone else will judge us, victimize us, abuse us, and blame us as we do ourselves. So even before others have a chance to reject us, we have already rejected ourselves. That is the way the human mind works.”
I have a tendency of being stubborn. You know one of those people who gets something in their head and that’s the way it is! I come from a long line of stubborn individuals. Sometimes stubbornness is a good thing, but can also bring on a tendency to judge others that aren’t on the same page. It can cause a tunnel vision view on certain subjects. Not being able to see the big picture.
I’m trying a new way of viewing things. Instead of being caught up in single minded judgment, I’m expanding my horizons. I’m attempting to learn the art of “Going to Switzerland.”
So what do I mean by going to Switzerland? It means viewing things from a neutral place. Putting my pigheadedness aside. Trying to see the situation, person or myself from a neutral vantage point. Realizing that everyone is entitled to their own point of view, whether I agree with it or not. It’s tough. I’m uninstalling years of programming, little by little. I decided I had to begin with self judgment. I even judge myself for being judgmental!
It’s difficult being a chain breaker. We tend to act or react the same way that family members in our childhood homes did. When that knee-jerk response comes up you have to catch yourself. You question it. Does that thought still hold true? Does it fit who you have become? You don’t want to be that way, but the old program is still running.
Oftentimes we get caught up in what we learned, or thought we learned as children and that becomes our reality. Even if the judgments aren’t true, we have bought into them. We believe and judge from our programmed perspectives that we often have learned from watching others. We might think that our way of thinking is the “only” way. That’s the way it has always been. These programs become our way of thinking and judging until we install new ones.
That is the case with my tendency toward judgement. I even found myself handing down judgment on my upbringing in a judgmental family. Now that’s judgment!
The first thing I had to change was my judgement toward my family. It was tough letting go of years of resentment and judgment. No matter how hard you try, you can’t change what happened in the past, you can only change how you perceive and react to what happened. Learn the valuable lessons that those experiences taught you.
When I took judgment out and flipped the switch, I recognized the things that I didn’t want to carry from childhood into my adult life. You can adjust your life so that you benefit from the lessons. Learn from them and use them as a springboard to rise above them. You are only responsible for your own actions and reactions not those of others.
I started to notice that the things that I was sitting in judgment on others about, were things that I needed to look at in my own life. The language that I used to describe myself was spilling over into the way I thought about and viewed others! Big Aha for me. When I criticize myself, my thoughts toward others are critical. If I’m experiencing a bout of self-doubt, I doubt other’s abilities. I was passing my self judgemental views onto others.
“Judging a person does not define who they are, it defines who you are.” Once again I am going to say it…we are all unique. We are all traveling our own path. My journey is different from yours. Just because we aren’t heading in the same direction, doesn’t mean that my path is better than yours or visa versa.
We all judge. It’s human nature. I have found that the company I keep has an effect on my judgment meter. Some people are more judgmental than others. Take a look around. Who do you spend a lot of time with? If you hang with a group of judgemental people, it’s hard not to chim in and add your two cents worth. It’s difficult to stay in Switzerland, and remain neutral. Even if you don’t contribute to the conversation, it’s a chore to keep your thoughts from going in that direction. On the other hand, just the opposite is also true. When we spend time with positive, non-judgmental, uplifting people, our thoughts go in that direction.
I would like to invite you to take a look in the mirror. What do you see? Are the eyes staring back at you judging eyes or are they loving and compassionate? Are you limiting your potential because of self judgment? Are you judging other’s behavior because you have the same tendencies? I challenge you to get a check on judgment. Start with yourself. When you stop the self judgment and criticism you will find that it is easier to put the breaks on judging others. The next time you go to pass judgment, take a moment and reflect. Ask yourself, is this an internal judgment reflecting outward? If so forgive yourself. Show yourself some compassion and love yourself so that your inner world will radiate to your outer world.