If we turn on the news, we are bombarded with opinions of how we should be spending our Thanksgiving. Most times the message is to stay home within our family unit and do not travel or celebrate with anyone else. Then they show the airports and the crowds of people not heeding their advice. Our temptation is to judge these people and their choices. How can they be so irresponsible with Covid-19?
Then there are the times when you are in the store and there is a child throwing a temper tantrum. The judgmental thoughts regarding the parenting creep in. It is so easy to forget the times when we were in that same situation.
How about judging our co-workers and the way they handle their job? We may find ourselves judging someone else’s actions or in a conversation talking about another person.
You cannot depend on your judgment when your imagination is out of focus.Mark Twain
Every time we make a negative judgement of someone else, we reaffirm that we live in a world where everyone judges each other all the time. We are in constant jeopardy of messing up without even realizing it.
This is a terrible situation to be in. The more we judge others, the more we feel terrible about ourselves, both in the thinking of others and in the way we are perceived by others. It is a vicious cycle. It destroys our peace of mind, confidence in our abilities, and even our body image.
As human beings, we crave community, fellowship, friendship, and family. We have a basic human need to belong. When we judge another person, we go against this need for both ourselves and the other person involved.
Every judgement blocks the light!Mary Anne Williamson
So how can we break this habit of judging others? It will not be easy as we have had years to cultivate this practice, but with persistence we can overcome it.
- Become aware when you are judging someone. Keep track of the times during the day that you are judgmental to others. Write them down on paper or put them in the notes on your phone.
- Break the pattern. When you recognize the judgmental thought creeping in, find a way to stop it. You can have a physical gesture to remind yourself to stop, such as shaking your head. You can also actually tell yourself, “Stop” when you find yourself becoming judgmental.
- Try and figure out why you felt judgmental about the other person. What trigger did the behavior set off in your mind? What does it tell you about yourself and your own self-image? Most judgmental thoughts have more to do with how we think of ourselves, than how we think of the other person.
This is the crux of the problem and the most important lesson we can learn. Our judgement of other people stems from being judgmental about ourselves. Many times we have negative thoughts regarding our own parenting, eating habits, capabilities, or our own bodies. When we find ourselves judging others for their behaviors, most often it is a reflection of our thoughts about ourselves.
“We can never judge the lives of others because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.”Paulo Coelho
First and foremost being free from judgement starts with not judging ourselves. We are all doing the best we can in this very difficult time and it is crucial that we remember self-love and self-care. By taking care and becoming free from judgement of ourselves, we will then learn to be free from judgement of others.