Insights & solutions to successful living
Have you ever found yourself judging anyone, including yourself? Welcome to the
human race! The phenomenon of judging -- deciding that someone is "not
okay,"--is something most people do--including me. In fact, in my career as a
therapist, I usually found that the few men and women who believed that they
never judged anyone, were in denial.
As a Marriage, Family Therapist, I have had the opportunity to explore this common occurrence with my clients. I noticed the destructive power of this self-defeating action--for both the judge and the judged. For example, John, a five year old boy, felt terrible when his father called him stupid when he made a mistake. John then judged himself and decided that he was stupid. This negative decision hurt his self-esteem and affected his life in many ways, including having an adverse effect on his career and relationships.
Meanwhile, Bill, the father, was also judged by his parent when he was growing up and believed that he himself was stupid. When Bill judged anyone else for making a mistake, he was unconsciously reaffirming his own negative belief about himself. The father also felt even worse about himself when his son performed poorly in school because he decided that he was stupid. Judgments perpetuate our fears, and our fears "feed" our judgments. To stop this viscous cycle, you can let go of judging and overcome your fears.
If you want to have less judgment in your life, it is helpful to be aware of when it happens to you. Some of the most common signs of judgments are phrases such as: "You are wrong!" "You should __." or "You ought to __." Pointing a finger at someone is a clear symptom of judgment. Also listen to your own feelings--when you feel bad or hurt, when you want to rebel or yell, "No!", or you feel you want to judge back.
If any of these symptoms appear, I suggest that you take a deep breath and make
constructive statements like: "I prefer that you give me your opinion and then
accept my decision;" "I feel judged and that doesn't feel good;" When you speak
to me that way I want to rebel;" "Please tell me what you would like to happen
and not what I should do;" Thank you for sharing your thoughts and I have a
different opinion;" or "What are you concerned about?"
I have decided that I no longer want to hurt myself or others with judgments. So I have been paying close attention to my words and thoughts. The results have been amazing. I feel healthier, better about myself and my relationships are improving dramatically. You can also feel these benefits when you make a commitment not to judge, and to accept what happens as an impartial observer.
In the case of abuse, I encourage you to remove yourself from the destructive situation or tell the person, "This doesn't feel good to me," or "That is not okay with me." Then share specifically what is okay or does feel good. Notice that you are taking care of yourself in a constructive way without judging anyone.
When we all get off our high bench and discard the role of the judge, we will be happier, healthier and more successful in every area of our lives. Imagine the impact on the world. There would be no wars because we would stop hurting ourselves, and then, naturally, we would not want to hurt others. I know that to be true, because when I feel accepting of myself, I find it easy to be kind and accepting of others. Have you noticed that same pattern in yourself or others?
Try these little experiments. Think of a judgment of yourself and be aware of how you feel. Notice any pain or tightness in any part of your body. Then say a positive statement about yourself and notice the difference. Do the same exercise with others. You are likely to feel much better when you are accepting yourself and the other person.
Spend one day consciously accepting people and yourself and avoiding all judging thoughts, words and actions. Notice carefully what happens. I think you will be pleased.
If you are ready to help others and yourself feel good by not judging anymore and you need some support, start a group and call it "Judges Anonymous." Meet regularly to help each other to be aware of your judgments in a fun and profound way. Then focus on acceptance, which is one of the major keys to successful living.
Whether you choose to attend such a group or do it cold turkey on your own, be patient with yourself. Avoid judging yourself for judging. These are life-long patterns, and with commitment and perseverance you will graduate as a Master of Acceptance. This is one of the most important degrees you can ever attain because with acceptance comes unconditional love which is the most priceless gift you can ever give to yourself and others.
Warning: you must be prepared for improved health, more energy, joy and friends, wonderful relationships and success in every area of your life. If at any time all these wonderful things become too much for you, you can always start judging again.
©2006 by Helene Rothschild