I’ve been thinking a lot about judgment lately. We start making judgments very early on in life as our egos come into form. In its simplest form, judgment is about good and bad, pretty and ugly, fair and unfair, etc…It’s about putting people and things in categories. But each of us has our own, subjective idea of what pretty and ugly constitutes. So judgment is about US. But we don’t know this. We’re never taught this. We listen to our parents judge and we hear them make concrete statements about the world and other people and we arrive at this place where our judgments become the “truth.” And yet, they’re never the truth. Again, they are simply reflections of US. There is a biblical reference that goes, “What Peter says about Paul says more about Peter than it does about Paul.” But again, we don’t know this.
Since we can never truly know the ins and outs of another person, our thoughts about them are simply that: Our thoughts. And if we pay close enough attention to our thoughts, we’ll see that they tend to play the same tune over and over. The tune may sound a little different or have a little twang one day, but it’s basically the same tune. Our judgments about others tell us where our seeds of unconsciousness lie. Our judgments about others point to our own pain. They, in fact, have nothing to do with anyone else at all.
How do I know this?
I broke my judgment cycle a couple of weeks ago. It’s gone. It’s done.
This doesn’t mean the thoughts of judgment no longer arise. They do. But that is the nature of thought. The difference for me has become, I no longer believe the judgmental thoughts. Judging other people, for me, was a thought process that became painfully illuminated as my own limitation.
I had been judging someone in my life. I hadn’t judged anyone quite like this in a while. I was feeling insecure and judged myself, and so in defense of myself, I became the judge. I had thoughts of judgment of this person and felt like I was really getting to the bottom of what they were all about. I was so convinced I knew what was going on and so convinced of my “assessment” (kind word for judgment) of this person.
One day while driving my car, I was literally talking out loud to this person (who wasn’t there) and suddenly stopped. For whatever reason, I heard myself. Not only did I hear myself, but I stopped to witness how all of this felt. It felt horrible. I felt like hell. My face was all crumpled up, my eyes were narrowed and I looked and felt ugly. I started to cry. I wasn’t crying out of guilt; like I felt guilty for judging this person. I was crying because I realized, in that moment, how horrible holding judgment felt for me. In all the years that I’d been holding court on people (and we all do it) I’d never stopped to ponder how all of this might affect me.
My other realization in this moment was that my judgments of this other person were the reflection of my own insecurities. I just needed someone to be responsible for these insecurities. Clearly, I was not taking responsibility for them. Either I wasn’t ready or I wasn’t willing. Probably both.
But let me tell you.
The second this realization dawned on me, the weight of the world came off my shoulders. These are MY insecurities! Not anyone else’s! YES! I was so overjoyed that someone else wasn’t holding the key to my prison cell. That would have rendered me helpless. I was holding that key. And, of course, the minute I realized this, the cell door flung open.
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