I have always considered myself a predominantly non-judgmental person. Yet, when I was challenged to keep a judgment journal you could imagine my surprise as I found myself judging so much, so often.
My greatest judgment is probably Long Island drivers. I find them rude, inconsiderate, oblivious to the rules of the road, irritating and obnoxious. I have never been so often cut off and almost driven into, never seen so many cars drive through the just-turned-red lights or unnecessary near accidents. I could go on.
Don’t get me wrong my judgment doesn’t stop there. There are loved ones, co-workers and members of my church family that I find myself easily judging as well.
For those of you who read the story about my dad last week, this article is born of realizing how much pain I was in because of my judgment toward my dad’s wife. It made me stop and take notice of where else I judge and how it is affects my ability to live in peace and joy. The answer is…I judge often and its impact is significant. What about you?
Much like unforgiveness, which hurts the unforgiver more than the person not being forgiven, so too does judgment hurt the judger more than the subject being judged. When we judge we are in resistance to who someone is or what a situation is. The resistance causes us pain, sometimes-great pain and suffering. Our instinct is to blame the subject of our judgment for our pain when in fact it is our judgment of them and the resulting resistance that causes our pain.
The good news is we are in control of changing how we think about the situation simply by ridding ourselves of our judgment. I say simply because the concept is simple, it is the practice of non-judgment that is anything but easy and it a life long lesson.
Take a look at the things in your life that you judge…including yourself and your ex. How are those judgments affecting you? Are you sitting in frustration, fear, disappointment, anger, resentment, and bitterness? Stop for a moment and think how your emotions would shift if you were able to rid yourself of the judgment?
Attempt to look at the person you are judging as not doing something to you but rather as just being themselves, even if that person is seemingly abusive, a narcissist, irresponsible, emotionally unavailable or anything else. If you stop taking their actions personally, how would that change the way you feel. Of course, you might still choose a course of action that serves your best.
Ask yourself how often something that looked so bad turned out better; like a lost job that resulted in a better one or a failed relationship that opened the door for a partner that was a better fit for you. What about difficult situations that left you wiser, healthier, more mature?
If we curb our judgment of a person or situation, we can navigate them or it from a place of compassion and acceptance. In doing so, our choices and behavior will serve not only ourselves but everyone involved.
I challenge you to look at the people and things you are judging in your life today and shift your focus to ‘it is what it is’ AND there is a positive purpose and/or outcome that you may not be able to see or understand right now, but exists…you just haven’t arrived at it yet. How would losing your judgment in this situation help you navigate it better?