Judgment, it’s a nasty habit, not to be confused with assessment. We can measure a person’s skills to decide if they are a good fit for a job or assess any number of things or weigh the pros and cons to see if we are a good fit with it. The trouble begins when we look at others and ourselves and view what is right or wrong and good or bad about them, their actions or any characteristics about them. Yet, this is how most of us function in the world.
Where did the idea come from to look at another and decide if he/she was worthy, if they were trying hard enough or doing something right? It was certainly a standard I was raised with, I was taught to measure myself against others. What one desires is deemed good and what one doesn’t want to experience is deemed bad. Somehow it became acceptable to transfer our personal desires onto others. This sets us up for intolerance, intolerance of others and ourselves as well, whenever we stray from the unspoken rules. Interestingly enough, those that judge others are most likely to be their own most fierce critic. The most important point to remember is that every judgment is a matter of perspective.
Imagine yourself traveling on a road. There are people on unicycles, rafts, boats, walking, skating, surfing, running, driving, flying, skipping, wearing coats, bathing suites, dresses, pants and some nothing at all. Each person is prepared for where they are going and they are prepared by the events and experiences each one has experienced in his or her own life. You may not be able to make sense of why another may be doing things in a particular manner but you may also not be aware of their destination. Just because they happen to be in the same place as you are at the moment doesn’t mean you’re on the same path.
How do we come to be in acceptance rather than judgment? The most reliable technique I’ve found is to start by looking for what similarities you share. You might seek the humanity of that person. Many years ago I had a nursing patient that was incredibly mean. She was combative and had injured a few people physically as well as emotionally. Her tongue was as sharp as a knife. I used to dread working with her. Then one day I decided to really look at her, see her humanity. In doing so I was able to see many of her hopes and dreams as well as her sorrows and losses. The latter were the things that loomed large for her at that time. I thought of the various ways I could be a benefit to her.
When I saw the humanity in this woman my approach to working with her changed. Rather than dreading my time with her I began to anticipate our time together. Our interactions began to change for the better. As time went on we had some incredibly intimate times together when she would share some of the highlights and some of the lower times too. At one point she told me that our times together were very meaningful and made all the difference to her.
The truth of the matter is that my letting go of judging her made all the difference to me. My willingness to see our likenesses was a game changer for both of us. My experiences with her were a blessing. Knowing her was an opportunity for growth and in the end brought us both joy. I’m forever grateful LJ.
How might you be limiting yourself through judgment? What opportunities and blessings might be passing by unrealized? If you have had a similar experience feel free to share in the comments section below. And, safe travels on your journey my friend. I’m glad we happen to be here together now.