First a Note: Judging others or events in our lives as good or bad, right or wrong, appropriate or inappropriate, holy or unholy, safe or unsafe seems to come naturally to us. A few examples of this judgment are: blaming, anger, disdain, eye rolling, shaming, name calling, or insisting that my religion, my country, and my ideas are the only right ones.
8 THINGS I KNOW ABOUT JUDGMENT
#1 I know we are taught (is conditioned too strong a word?) to judge. We are taught by well-meaning parents, family, religion, culture, and society to judge anything that is different from the rules and norms they have passed on to us. We learn to “see” the world through the lenses they give us. And we learn the lessons well.
#2 I know that we judge so easily because judgment comes naturally to our human ego. The ego is that voice inside that reminds us to stay within the boundaries we’ve been given. It says that if others don’t look, think, dress, believe, worship, or act like us we must be wary of them. The ego also judges us—as not competent, unworthy, or unlovable, or even as better than everyone else.
#3 I know that we don’t see the world as IT IS. We don’t see the world as it really is—as if we were looking through the non-judgmental lens of a video camera capturing a scene. Instead we see the world through the lens of our biases. We think the way we see the world is the right way. We don’t question whether our biases are correct, or even notice that we’re judging others.
#4 I know that we judge the world as potentially dangerous. Taught to judge the world as potentially dangerous, we take measures to protect ourselves and our property. We have locks, guards, alarm systems, and passwords. We carry arms and secure our borders. These actions further isolate us from each other.
#5 I know that judgment comes from fear. Judgment points to our fears about something—safety, security, belonging, criticism, self-esteem, abandonment, and so on. We judge automatically and without thinking—and we’re not even aware that we carry these fears deep down. Most of our fears however, are much worse than the actual events in our lives. Often what we fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.
#6 I know that judgment and love cannot exist in the same moment. If we are passing judgment on another person, no matter how slight, we cannot be loving them in the same moment. Judgment is the opposite of acceptance, appreciation, and love. It separates us from one another. We judge without acknowledging that everyone has their own reason for what they do.
#7 I know there are ways to re-program our automatic judgmental reactions! It IS possible to change our learned judgmental responses. There are steps we can take to become more aware of the biases we hold. We can move from judgment to understanding, and from fear to trust. We can begin to see that we’re all in this together and there truly is goodness in the world.
#8 I know that what we put out into the world we will get back from the world. If we are fearful, judgmental, and see others as threatening, we will react in ways that will threaten them. As long as humanity continues to judge in fear there will be unhappiness, war, terrorism, violence, and turmoil in the world. When we learn to come together in trust rather than judgment we will have the potential for a peaceful planet.
Note 2: Please be assured that I know there are valid reasons to feel fear and determine a situation as dangerous. We have natural instincts that alert us when we, or those we love, are threatened with bodily harm, whether it be from a speeding car, a growling dog, while driving on an ice covered street, or from a person threatening us with a weapon. In these situations we revert to our instinctive responses to survive. But these life situations are not judged as good or bad, fair or unfair—they just are. So listen to that inner alarm and call 911, don’t go near the dog, and be careful on that slippery ice!