Letting Go of Judgement

I was challenged yesterday by my morning meditation to consciously let go of judgement throughout the day.
Every time that I felt myself beginning to judge a person or a situation, I was to stop myself,  let go of those feelings and replace them with acceptance and love.
I figured that this would be pretty easy task for me as I believed that I’m  not really a judgemental type of a person.
Oh how wrong I was.
I had things to do down town yesterday.
First stop was the optometrist to have my eyes re-assessed. I had decided that I would park at the back of the medical centre because I am not that great at reverse parking and I felt it would be a lot easier to reverse park on the back street rather than the main road out front.
My first judgement call came when a car decided to ride my bumper the whole way up the street causing me anxiety when it came time to stop and begin my reverse park.
“How could someone be so inconsiderate? Don’t they realise that it is dangerous to tail-gate another car? Idiot!”
Oops. Judgement call #1.
I stopped. I breathed. I sent love after the receding tail gate of the offending driver.

I finally parked (badly) and walked around to the front of the building.
My normal optometrist was not available and I was seeing someone else today. Met by a smiling young man at the reception desk who was obviously expecting me, I felt a little better about myself. He informed me he was running a little behind and asked if I minded waiting for ten minutes or so. I replied that I was in no hurry and that was fine.
Ten minutes stretched into 15 minutes and then a lady came through the door. The staff appeared to be expecting her and asked her to take a seat. The optometrist finished with the previous patient, and then went straight to the elderly lady who had taken a seat beside me. I was then asked if I minded waiting a further 10 minutes or so whilst he saw to this lady?
“Of course not” I replied whilst inside I was like “Really? What is this lady’s problem that she had to jump the queue?”
Judgement call #2
I immediately recognised what I was doing and breathed out the judgement and resentment I was feeling. My calm returned and I felt well within myself.

After leaving the optometrist I had to visit Centrelink. Those in Australia who have had dealings with this agency will no doubt sigh and feel my pain.
After booking in at reception, I took my seat in a room full of others waiting patiently to be seen.
Being a people watcher, I scanned the faces and immediately made assumptions about every single person there. She was obviously a single mother. He looked like a bit of a rat bag. And on it went.
Judgement call #3Oh dear. I’m not doing very well am I?

A young lady was called. As she walked toward the desk, I noticed she was carrying a little extra weight around her middle and was wearing a form fitting t-shirt top that was slightly see-through. The t-shirt hugged all of her extra curves (and not in a flattering way).
My mind immediately thought “Oh honey. Do you not own a mirror at home”?
Judgement call #4
My strike rate was rising. I immediately let go of these thoughts and replaced them with loving ones.

Eventually my name was called and it was my turn to see someone. Not everything went as I would hope and I left the building inwardly seething a little.
Coming home to the GG, I launched into a tirade about the ills of this government department.
Judgement call #5
I needed to let these generalisations and judgements go. I recognised this and allowed love to take its place.

And so the pattern continued for the day.

If you Google “What makes people so judgemental”? a myriad of pages will come up filled with discussions started by people wondering the same thing.
So why do we do this?
My belief is that we go through life and develop ideas and opinions based upon our life experiences. We then transfer what we believe is the ‘right’ way to do things onto others. When we do this, we aren’t taking into consideration that no two people are travelling the same path at any one time. Therefore each person’s experiences and observations about life are completely different.
What one may consider ‘normal’ or ‘right’ may be the polar opposite to the person sitting across from them in a crowded room. In actual fact, in that room you may find one or two who may agree with you on certain things but you will always find differing opinions on others. No two people are 100% alike.

When we allow ourselves to see things in a particular way, we are not understanding the whole picture.
It’s like looking through a window and seeing only a small part of a big world. If we allow what we see from that window to influence our view of what the world should look like then many of us are going to miss so much.
If the view from the window contains only brick walls and the windows of the building next to you, then you may perceive that the world should hold nothing more than this. The thought of a garden may be foreign to you. Conversely, if you live your life gazing through a window at wide open spaces filled with trees and fields, then city living may be judged harshly by you.

Many would say that when you judge someone else, you are acting superior. But then there is the other side of the coin where you judge others as being superior to you.
However what it all boils down to, is judging someone else doesn’t make anyone happy. Certainly not the judge that’s for sure.

It was an interesting exercise for me yesterday. I learned much about myself.
I also learned that I judge myself quite harshly and need to practice loving myself a whole lot more.
After all when you judge someone, it says more about you than it does about the other person.

Today, I challenge you all to be aware of your judgements of yourself and others. Stop when you find yourself passing judgement upon another person (or government department 😉 ) and replace those judgemental thoughts with loving ones.
I saw what a difference it made to my day.
I hope it may make a difference to yours.

Judgement

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30 thoughts on “Letting Go of Judgement

  1. I really appreciate you writing this. You’re so right, it’s so hard to follow this way of thinking at times (or in certain government agencies, haha) but it’s so important to try our best with it. Even with yourselves, as you said so well. I do know when I had a knee injury last year, I tended to complain in my head about my knee condition but once I started thinking about how well my knee was healing and how resilient it was despite the condition I have involving a cartilage problem, I swear I started healing more quickly. We definitely should be more loving, in every situation — it helps all around, ourselves and others. But it truly can be so hard! So, thanks for this reminder — as well as your honest approach in sharing the thoughts that first tried to pop into your mind! Makes me feel better when being nonjudgmental isn’t always the first thought that comes to me. 🙂

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  2. This reminds me of the sermon yesterday in our Episcopal (Anglican) Church. The scripture was on forgiveness, and so was the sermon, of course. In the course of it he told the story of a man who had been tailgating him and when he passed him the man gave him the finger. As the man did so he made the sign of the cross towards to him. He was not wearing a collar or anything to indicate he was in the clergy. At the next light the man rolled down his window and said “I’m so sorry I did that, please accept my apology.”

    Judgment. Forgiveness. Mirror images in many cases.

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    1. What a lovely story. Yes, be the change you want to see in the world fits in nicely with this I believe.
      You’ve also answered something I was wondering about you in this post Dan. I figured since you lived in Utah, you may well have been LDS. 😉

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      1. Utah is still the dominant culture in Utah, no question. But instead of the 90 percent of 30 or more years ago, now it is about 60 percent. LDS are much stronger in small towns, less so in urban areas that have had vast numbers of new employees for high tech companies and also very large numbers of retirees, like us, who appreciate the peaceful, clean, patriotic, respectful environment. No graffiti, very low crime, etc. No group in society is perfect, of course, but we love our LDS friends and neighbors just like we do the others. Most small businesses are closed on Sunday, and that’s fine with us. The large grocers and big box stores are open on Sunday. I’ve never been one to debate either religion or politics. I have my beliefs, but I’m not out pushing them on anyone, ever.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. When I was younger I did something like this, but because I’m far too polarized, it didn’t work correctly. I felt that all judging was bad, and this lead to me accepting others hurting me in an effort to not judge them.
    So I learned another way.
    Being literal minded and semantically inclined, the first thing I learned is call those thoughts “prejudice”, rather than “judging”. Judging, should be a process of discernment, and it shouldn’t be a negative thing as it implies weighing the possibilities carefully.
    But I use the word “discerning” when I’m evaluating things because “judgement” has baggage.
    Prejudice (Aka: Pre-judging, meaning assumptions without discernment) is the thing I really don’t want to do, so I stop thoughts like that, and I examine them. I question myself.
    Like: “Why do you think that?” Then I can get to the root of the assumption.
    If I determine that it’s ridiculous, then I’m less likely to experience it in future. If I support it with evidence then it’s no longer an assumption, it’s a discerning judgement.

    Discernment is a tool to help me know when I should avoid someone to be safe. Like a dude on the skytrain who I felt the urge to avoid, so questioned myself why, and noticed it was because he was staring intently at my crotch. He got called out for groping another girl and the transit police got involved. It was a discerning choice that kept me away from his hands.
    Discerning judgement used appropriately.
    It’s also a tool I use to determine when I should exercise my empathy, or times when I need to use more. For instance giving parents sidewalk space so they don’t have to hit the grass with kids or stroller, and if I notice my friend not moving I ask them to mind the parent/kids.
    Or asking a lady zig-zaging her way up a road, (which just looks like erratic behaviour), if she needs help; turns out she was chasing a lost dog, which she pointed out to me and I tired to aid her in herding it up the hill. Also if I notice someone is being defensive, I ask myself why, and try to be more soft in case it’s a sensitive subject, or they’re having a bad day, and also because maybe I was just speaking overbearingly. (I’m not always good with body-language/tone.)
    So I can use my discernment to make myself into a better person too, by striking down assumptions in favour of looking for evidence.

    This also means, when I judge people, it’s almost exclusively for bad behaviour I can perceive, or inaction in an instance that clearly called for empathy. I think this is a better way to be, it means that making judgement calls doesn’t become a bad thing when I need it, and it means I can still work to be a better person at the same time.

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    1. I like the way you go about looking at the reasons behind the behaviour of another before judging. That is commendable and must take some practice to get right. I appreciate your explaining your ways of doing this and for sharing it with us all. 🙂

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      1. Hehe, yes, lots of practice, but practice makes perfect right?
        Mostly it’s just remembering to ask questions, and just reminding myself to be curious. Curious about the world, but also about my own motivations.
        Lots of times I learn things that make me laugh, or realize I need to ask a silly-sounding question because I really don’t know the answer.
        Staying in the interrogative mode can actually be a lot of fun, it’s like letting your inner 3 year old out to play Q&A, except you can answer “why” for yourself most times. 🙂

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  4. What an eye opening experiment. I have a feeling that we are all a lot more judgmental than we think ourselves to be. I may have to give this a try, just to see. After all, how can we improve ourselves if we don’t take the time to find what needs improvement? With all that said though, I do try to consider why people may do what they do, understanding that I don’t know their life, their situations or what their day has brought them. It’s easier said than done sometimes though.

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    1. Of course it is. I have worked so hard over the past year or two to better myself and pre-judging others is something that I had been working on. I thought I was doing okay too until I gave myself that little test the other day. 😉

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  5. Great post Sue!
    “Awareness is the greatest alchemy there is. Just go on becoming more and more aware and you will find your life changing for the better in every possible dimension. It will bring great fulfillment.”
    ~ Osho
    The journey isn’t an easy one though when we face our own imperfections and inner judge 😉
    Val x

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  6. Excellent post Suz. Love the way you took a complex and important subject and expressed it so eloquently by using a day out of your life as an example. Perfect. It makes for fascinating reading and at the same time makes/forces the reader to look at them selves. The details are awesome (parking is a challenge) and flesh it out to make it so very human and relateable.

    Thank You very much Suz. Excellent post.

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    1. The whole theme of my blog is my learning curve in changing my life and thought patterns so this flowed naturally into what I normally write about.
      I’m glad you enjoyed it Paul. 🙂

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