90-Day A Better Me Series
Part I: A Journey of Awareness
What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation
Day 18: Judgment Makes an Unpredictable Foundation
“When you judge another, you don’t define them, you define yourself.”
Judgment makes an unpredictable foundation for how we live our lives. The word judgment can be used in different ways, which can confuse how we interpret whether it is contributing to a stable or unstable foundation. We can hear people say stop judging others, and something doesn’t sit exactly right so we go into an internal war in our heads, then we don’t hear what the rest of that message is trying to say. We can go into thoughts, theories, and concepts about using “good judgments”. Well, once again people saying we shouldn’t judge at all would go against that and we stop listening. We hear tons of quotes in many variations about judgment day, good judgment, bad judgment, and no judgment. This can create a lot of confusion making our foundations to build on very unstable. One of the ways we hurt ourselves the most is in the confusion of trying to stick to one definition of judgment in our heads. We want to see judgment as black and white, but judgment lies in the grey area depending on how it’s used. It can shift us towards destroying all our relationships or setting healthy boundaries with unhealthy individuals.
When we become aware of our blocks and hear the word judgment, it can help us to open ourselves to hear, listen, and understand the context in how another person is using the word. For me, when someone is talking about using good or bad judgment, I might quickly shift the thought to: being aware or unaware, exercising consciousness or unconsciousness, being perceptive or naïve, choosing loving or fearful actions, making healthy choices or unhealthy choices, choosing positive energy or negative energy. I go with whatever feels right to me at the time I’m hearing or seeing the message. This way it helps me understand the message a little clearer without judging it as good or bad. This thought process on judgment can actually help us find stability in our foundation. It will be brought up through out the series, because this form of thought is about becoming aware and learning from our life’s lessons.
In the remaining days of this judgment section in the 90-DAY A BETTER ME SERIES we are becoming aware of how the other form of judgment and being judgmental affects our lives. We will focus on the judgment that puts ourselves against others (DAY19), fuels unhealthy intimate relationships (DAY 20), and shows a lack of respect for other people’s journeys (DAY 21). If we want to stay on a stable foundation and build an internal home to live our lives in, we have to face and fix what will keep our house from having to be re-built over and over. Today, I will focus on some of the overall concepts of judgment that keep us on unstable ground.
“Never judge someone’s character based on the words of another. Instead, study the motives behind the words of the person casting the bad judgment.”
Our addiction to gossip can be powerful! We see it everywhere around us. We are presented with article after article, book after book, news story after news story, post after post, and hear story after story from friends and family asking us to judge other people’s lives based on that person’s interpretation of them. It is easy to get sucked in. We can get triggered by our own pasts and respond out of a place of what happened to us. The circumstances could have been completely different, but just one line of writing or in conversation could have brought us back to an event that is still stirring us up from the inside. Then we judge the person who we don’t know by our personal attachments to our or our loved ones past experiences.
It can take a lot of space and awareness to see that we are dealing with unhealed issues within ourselves. If we are avoiding healing our own foundations, we are more likely to pounce and break windows in someone else’s house, metaphorically speaking for most of us. When we are the spreader of gossip, we have to look at our own intentions behind saying what we are saying. Are we making judgments about the person? Are we wondering how to help the person? Are we trying to get advice for ourselves by focusing on someone else’s story? Is it to make money? Is it to get attention? Is it to feel important? Are we judging other people’s stories against our own? There can be a million of reasons. Only we know why we are doing it, so being conscious of what we are spreading is KEY!
US AGAINST THEM/ THEM AGAINST US
One of the ways we use judgment that can destroy our foundations and vandalize other people’s homes is by us against them type of judgments. No matter how we look at this it is causing separation. We are valuing ourselves as more or less than people, places, and things. We are better/ they are worse, we are inferior/they are superior, we are important/ they aren’t important. We use against them to disguise our own lack of worth. People who have a healthy self-concept don’t have to measure themselves against others. When we see we are taking on the stance of us against them, it is a good time to reflect on why we feel it necessary to do that. Why does someone else’s perceptions of truth have to affect our inner worth? Why does someone else’s poor choices have to create us to make poor choices? This is not about justice and holding people accountable. This is about focusing on the overall concept of us AGAINST them. The energy of AGAINST is more powerful than most of us know. We will be talking about that more in PART II of the series.
RIGHT VS. WRONG
I’m right and your wrong is a hysterical concept to me. It goes right along with the art of what you should be or shouldn’t being doing, what you should have done, and what I would have done vs. what you did. Once again, this is not about justice. We are focusing on judgmental patterns of thought. As a parent, I can let this judgmental way of thinking destroy my inner Zen VERY quickly. This is why I laugh. I keep Byron Katie’s quote about fighting reality close by at all times:
Things are going to happen. People are going to act in healthy and unhealthy ways. Some people will try to attack us with their judgments and we will choose whether or not to use ours against them. This is where the concept of perspective of truth can really help us to not drive ourselves crazy. I promise we will spend a good chunk of time there in Part II once we become aware of how our judgmental thoughts are NOT helping us to live the lives we want to be living.
We can choose to perceive messages we receive any way we want to. Whether they are messages from inside of us or outside of us. We can choose to see things in a world not of right and wrong, but of learning how we want and don’t want to be living. When we think in black and white, right or wrong, it can get us upset even by things that are meant to inspire and/or encourage us. Here’s an example:
- “All doors are open to the believer.” –Patti Smith
- “When one door closes another one opens.”- Alexander Graham Bell
Hmmm… do I have to believe one is right and the other is wrong? I could if I wanted to. I could get so worked up by the wording that I started attacking the page or person who posted it. We see this all the time! We see it in politics, entertainment, traumatic events, news, between loved ones, and the list goes on. We can have different views without someone being ABSOLUTELY right and the other being ABSOLUTELY wrong. Our judgments don’t have to have power over us if we don’t let them.
Even in this moment, you may be reading things I write and picking apart concepts, phrases, words, or even grammar that strikes your judgmental cords. If you have a negative attachment to anything I or anyone else says or writes, investigate your thinking:
- Are you using your judgments to feel more or less than someone else?
- Do you find yourself saying that is/isn’t right?
- Do you have to make someone else’s way of thinking wrong?
- Are you judging yourself for not being able to fully be in a place where you’re not, because you view the way your living as wrong?
These are just some of the questions we can ask ourselves when we find ourselves in the place of judgment. We can also investigate our thoughts when we are on the receiving end of judgment:
- Why is this REALLY bothering me?
- Does it matter if this person thinks I’m wrong?
- How am I letting it affect me by listening to this person’s judgments of me?
- If they are judging me poorly, how are they judging themselves?
- Is something this person is saying triggering me to feel bad about myself?
There is no place in a peaceful life for should have, would have, and/or could have thinking. Just the thoughts create an internal chaos of questioning our own decisions as right vs. wrong. If we aren’t attempting to destroy other people’s peace, we don’t want to be spending time there either. Healthy solutions don’t come from our judgments. They come from our ability to see the lessons and use our creativity to find new ways to get the results we are looking for. The reality is that whatever happened is what happened. We can learn from what life showed us, or we can hide behind our judgments, shame, blame, fear, and hate. We get to make the choice to proceed with loving or fearful thoughts, feeling, and actions. The choice is ours.
We choose how we want to live in each second of our lives. We can choose judgment one minute and then realize it’s not helping and choose another way. We are never stuck or trapped in our minds if we don’t choose to be. We don’t even have to use negative self-judgments if we don’t want to. When we can become aware that we are the only one responsible for our inner worlds, our life opens up to change whatever is not working. Once again, the choice is ours!
Just for Today
Watch your judgments! See where you fall into gossip, us against them/them against us, and right vs. wrong thinking. How does it feel in your body when you are there? How does it affect your communication with others? How does it make you feel about yourself? Do you notice how your energy shifts when you get into a judgmental mindset?
Don’t forget to get today’s companion letter at: 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 18 – Becoming Aware of How Judgment Has Affected My Foundation
Thanks for reading!
With Love and Gratitude,
Rachael Wolff ©2019