I’d like to ask you three questions.
Here are two simple requests before I do, which are really the same thing stated two different ways:
1. Please don’t THINK about your responses and
2. Be SPONTANEOUS.
When was the last time you felt judged?
For some, this might have happened a minute ago, for others it might be longer. For some unfortunate folks, their response might be, “it happens all the time!”
Okay, question two.
When was the last time you judged someone?
We’d probably prefer not to answer, or we might be tempted to give ourselves some latitude with our answer. This type of judgement can happen so quickly we’re not even aware we’ve done it.
And lastly, question three.
When was the last time you judged yourself for something?
This might be the most difficult to answer. It can be challenging to give ourselves a pass and not find fault with our actions. In addition, we’re pretty good at repeating patterns that have been taught to us, where judgements have been placed upon us so often that it’s no longer necessary for someone else to initiate them, since we now do it to ourselves. Regrettable, self-judgements can become one of our automatic responses in life.
I’m curious. Which of these three questions was the easiest to answer?
Question one often permits us to blame folks outside of ourselves, question two offers us an awareness of our role in the judgement process of finding fault with others and question three focuses on self-criticism.
I wonder how often our patterns run on autopilot. I also wonder what amount of time we accept others judgements versus create judgements about others. Perhaps they are part of a circle of judgement where they run together and become almost unrecognizable to us.
When I get wrapped up in this process, I find it difficult to stand back, even while knowing I need to observe it all from a distance. On my good days I stand far enough away to see that all forms of judgement hurt everyone involved, both the sender and receiver.
So, I ask myself three new questions, why do we do it, who does it serve and how does it prosper anyone?
My answers to these questions seem simple enough to me…we do it because we allow it to happen, it serves no one and it prospers no one.
The truth hits me hard, I judge as a way of placing myself above others, as if I am special and others are not, as if they are less somehow than me, therefore subject to judgement. It’s a terrible feeling and I want to make changes, but how?
I believe for me that it starts with a clear view about who we all are. We are co-journeyer’s, all from the same heaven, all returning to the same heaven. But while we are here, we’re having different experiences and making different choices, some more challenging than others.
What if I recognized that everyone deserves consideration, no matter what? What if I realized that I know virtually nothing about someone else’s inner life and therefore their outer actions? What if I could give them (and myself) the benefit of the doubt that they are doing the best they can at the moment, whether I can understand that or not?
Ultimately, these decisions will impact me and also everyone I come into contact with. If a goal of mine is to experience a joy-filled life I’m sure that suspending any judgements will assist me greatly.