There were no reality shows like ‘Gogglebox’ when I was growing up in the eighties. Although my family did partake in a similar commentary while watching T.V. from the green, jungle inspired family room. We joked about people and scrutinised their appearance as if we were scoring them in a pageant. We were all guilty.
‘Oh, doesn’t she look older.’
‘Woah. Look at that hairstyle.’
‘Nice outfit… hehe.’
At its essence, judging is being critical of something in another person (thoughts, looks or behaviour) that we view as different from ourselves. Shouldn’t this be considered as unacceptable as any form of discrimination?
I hadn’t realised how widespread these thoughtless comments had become. We don’t really mean most of the things we say when we are being judgemental, but no one likes being the ‘judgee.’ It got me wondering why we do it so unconsciously.
Has the behaviour been normalised? Is it the result of cultural conditioning? Do we just go along with the ‘group think’ to gain a sense of belonging? Does it make us feel better about ourselves? I know it always left me with a sense of dread and remorse. A disconnection from the universal energy, not to mention ourselves.
Writing my book changed my relationship with judgement. I think there’s a more compassionate way to view it. Just like it’s uncommon to get advice from a psychic when things are on track in your life, I’ve found that we don’t judge others when we have inner contentment. It rises to the surface when we are trying to work out who we are. It’s a way to affirm our own beliefs while keeping us stagnant. Sometimes it highlights a lack of experience. The things we judge in others, often haven’t had a chance to happen to us yet. We are observing from a naïve and uninformed perspective.
You will have to wait for my book to hear about some specific lessons I received as a result of my past judgements. Without giving anything away, I started to understand how judgement is cyclical in nature. What you project into the world, you are sure to receive back as a lesson needed for your own growth. For example, if you believe you are being made to feel unworthy, maybe you need to look at how you have been responsible for making someone else feel unworthy. It doesn’t have to be in the same moment in time, and it’s not necessarily going to come from the same person. The energy returns in unexpected ways.
We expose the hurts within us when we judge. We condemn the unhealed parts of ourselves in others. The things we are not ready to face. It’s easier to berate others than to take responsibility and do the hard work required for one’s own development.
Having toxic thoughts is as harmful as speaking them. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between the spoken word or the imagined one. Your body reacts the same to both, no matter how insignificant it may seem.
As we gain more understanding, we tend to be less critical of others. When we’ve made our own mistakes and suffered through pain, we are far more curious. We listen more. We want to know the why’s of other people’s behaviours instead of remaining on the surface. We want to spare others from heartache, not compete with them. We are all on the same team. We are here to lift each other up, not cut one another down.
Several years ago, I set myself a goal to eliminate judgement. Here are some suggestions if you wish to do the same.
FOUR STEP PROCESS TO ELIMINATE JUDGEMENT
S — START SMALL
Consciously notice any judgemental thoughts and words. For many years, I’ve asked my friends to say the words ‘judgy judgy’ as a trigger to call me out, when they noticed even the smallest negativity.
T — TIGHT LIPS
Take a breath. Don’t be afraid of silence. Saying nothing is better than initiating a low vibrational conversation. Make an effort to be the one who offers a more compassionate alternative.
E — EXAMINE DEEPLY
Examine the real reason for the inclination to criticise (Is it an insecurity within yourself? Is it negativity directed towards a person you dislike? Do you want to prove someone wrong? Are you jealous of what someone else has or their success?).
P — PERMISSION
Give yourself permission to be imperfect. It’s impossible to be human and to be one hundred percent judgement free. Focus on consistently making improvements to yourself and your thoughts, instead of expending negative energy on others.
I challenge you to write down all the judgemental thoughts you have about others or yourself in a single day. You may be surprised. Ponder on the deeper reason for every thought and consider how each one makes you feel.
In the absence of judgement, we give each other permission to flourish (and make mistakes) without being held back. When you stop judging others, you will no longer be fearful that others are judging you.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. If you want to hear more from me, please like my ‘Lisa Benson Author’ page on Facebook or follow me (lisabensonauthor) on Instagram.