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We usually go through life judging everything; other people, ourselves, our experiences, our conduct. We always have "this is good" or "this is bad" in the back of our minds. In case all goes well, everything will be good. However, more than we would like to admit, we dislike certain people, certain experiences, and how we deal with it.
After all, think about facebook. We like to like or dislike comments, images, or pages that other people share. We give thumbs up to songs, movies, restaurants. It is how our thinking process goes.
But what if you could drop all of this judging as bad and good?
Is it possible to experience something simply without judging?
You can try that now: be still in the present moment, don't think about if it's good or bad. Just feel the sensations of the present moment. But don't think about them, just experience them.
See everything that is happening right now in your world of sensations just as phenomena. Don't see these sensations as good or bad, just let them happen. Not everything is happening just "for you" or "because of you".
Let them happen. Don't think that you are the center of the universe.
Whenever you experience frustration, anger, or disappointment, ... you are judging your experiences. You are judging based on what you want, or rather what you think you want. But you are not the center of the universe. Neither am I. Nor any specific person for that matter. If you drop away your self centeredness, you won't have any reason to be frustrated any more.
You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf
quote by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Like in the quote above: things are happening, they are neither bad nor good. They are just happening. And you can learn to surf through everything that's happening seamlessly and without effort.
And, also, wait a minute. When it comes to judging, nobody is asking from you to practice non judgment all the time. It wouldn't be possible. We are all humans and judging is part of our experience. Therefore practice this exercise from time to time. Drop the judgment every now and then. Just to see what it's like. And accept that too.
Judging people is just a subset of judging in general. And one of the things that I've done that makes me especially happy is letting go of judging other people.
It doesn't mean I don't ever judge people. We all tend to judge people, and I am not an exception. What I want to say is, and I know that judging other people is a sort of a built-in method in every one of us, I try to be conscious about it as much as possible. Living your life consciously is always the best approach.
Because if I'm conscious about when judging other people happens, I will be able to stop it if it goes in the wrong direction. What do I mean by "wrong direction"?
I don't think that judging by itself is bad. What's bad is when judging becomes a symptom of something harmful. Something that really causes harm.
Here are some examples of harmful judging:
Let us take a typical example so that you can see what's going on. The example is illustrative of what typically happens.
For example, you might see a relative who is smoking and drinking and ruining his health and doing all kinds of bad things. You know he can do better if he could only understand the need to change his habits. You judge him for what he is doing. You dismiss him, think badly of him, and get frustrated with him. You dismiss him because you think he is not worthy of your frustration.
I bet similar things happen to you too with a lot of different people – maybe your friends, family, co-workers, even kid or spouse. In essence, they might be doing something you don't like.
The problem is,
you are probably ignorant of what he is going through, or
you don't understand his situation fully.
It could be that because of some problems, he is feeling guilty, scared, or untrusting of himself. Because of that, he makes himself feel better through smoking and drinking or some other destructive behaviors. He is just trying to be happy, something you and me and all of us are trying all the time. So nobody is superior to anybody, even if we think we are.
Furthermore, you are not being grateful for the kind of person he is, despite his personal problems. He is a great human being, with a lot of positive traits. Instead of focusing on those traits, you are being self centered by focusing on your own superiority with respect to drinking or smoking. That way you forget of the pain he is feeling, you neglect what he is going through and why, and you make a judgment. Making a judgment means closing off dialog and writing him off.
You see how the emphasized words above are all harmful. They make you unhappy and frustrated, they harm your relationship with this person, and you effectively stop any communication and the potential to learn about his situation and offer the necessary help. And lastly, you close the door to what that person has to offer to you.
The most important thing is to become aware of what you are doing, i.e., judging. When you see that happening, that should be a red flag to you. Not that judging is something terribly wrong, but it potentially brings other harmful elements into your relationship, as we have seen above.
You won't be able to stop immediately. It takes practice. Look out for the symptoms: if you are feeling frustrated, dismissive or angry of someone, you are judging. If you are gossiping or complaining about someone, you are judging.
The first step is recognition.
The second step is to think about the following:
The third step is to ask yourself:
Can you help?
What are the needs of that person?
Is it enough to just listen to their problems, and accept them, without judging? Often times that is enough.
Other times they need a hug, some advice or guidance. There is always room for improvement, even in the most difficult situations.
One thing is certain. You cannot help them from a position of judgment. Acceptance comes only after you have abandoned the judgment. And you will be much more happier in the process, too.
Baradhin loves to teach and write to motivate people to develop their creative potential and unlock the hidden potential of the mind.
The above guest post is published based on the premise that it will be helpful and informative. The opinions made within it are those of the author and not of sunnyray.org. The links you may find within this post do not necessarily imply our recommendation or endorsement of the views expressed within them.
I learnt the hard way about judging others, and every judgement I made, came back on me to show me what it was like for the people I judged soon as it happened, I remembered what I had said and asked for forgiveness. Now I won't judge no one, I am not better then anyone.
So true, Pam, so true. We are all in the same boat. It takes wisdom and courage to make this realization. Thanks for sharing and God bless!