I judge people and situations constantly. I cringe admitting to that because deep down, I want everyone to be happy regardless as to how I may come off to others. Sometimes I judge because I’m having a crappy day and my emotions get the best of me, and sometimes I do it to joke with friends and get a rise out of them. As I did a guided meditation by Deepak Chopra, he explains how judgment is a way of isolating ourselves. This really got me thinking on the topic… How often am I judging? What situations do I do it most in? How could I be potentially isolating myself? For me, living healthy is not just the weight room and veggies, it’s a positive, open perspective. If we can manage to be happy with ourselves and take responsibility for our reactions (which includes a life void of unhealthy judgments), the rest of a healthy lifestyle will follow.
The definition of judgment is ‘the ability to judge, make a decision or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely’. Now of course, judgment can be healthy when we have to weigh pros and cons in order to make wise decisions that directly affect our lives or the lives of our loved ones. Sometimes this can apply to our perspective, but I’m primarily talking more about the opinions we have when someone’s action(s) strike an emotional rise in us, when we limit ourselves because of insecurities or we are afraid of what people think. This is the kind of judgment we pull out of our pockets when deep down there is a fear. According to Gabriel Bernstein’s recent book, Judgment Detox, shame creates judgment which keeps us safe and prevents us from feeling inadequate or out of control.
Ironically, after reflecting on this topic for a week or so, my favorite podcast The Living Experiment offered up their thoughts in an episode. Here, they explain that judgment in relationships can be a misunderstanding of where people are coming from. We were shaped and conditioned based on our family and other influences that surrounded us in our early years and these familiarities are how we tend to see the world today. However, if you believe there’s more than one way to do things, then you can see how there are multiple views or opinions out there because of all the different upbringings or life events people experience. So therefore, just because someone disagrees, treats us a certain way or does not act the way we would respond to a situation, does not mean it’s wrong or is meant to hurt us. They may not be someone we want to be best friends with, but at the end of the day being able to identify where people come from and realizing that it’s their life story that has shaped their words and actions, allows us to love ourselves and others more fully by empathizing. It also gives us the ability to let those emotions run through us rather than holding on to something begrudgingly which then affects our health. Stress has been shown to negatively alter our genes so you can see where I’m going with this. Forgive and forget because letting someone or something emotionally affect you so deeply only takes from your own life. Furthermore, in instances where we get frustrated in traffic or irritated with the noisy neighbor, we can better understand ourselves as to why we respond by examining our own conditioning and reshaping our responses.
There is a quote from an unknown source that states ‘Your perception of me is a reflection of you; my reaction to you is an awareness of me.’ In relationship to judgment and our backgrounds, this message allows us to recognize rather quickly where people are coming from and why we respond the way we do. I personally had someone say something hurtful a few weeks ago and ironically this quote popped up on my Instagram feed shortly after. I have been struggling with acne from heavy metal detoxification and while I was in a work meeting a lady said she asked the staff about my skin and they said it never looked that bad in the past. Shortly after she admitted she had insecurity with her own skin and it clicked for me. Rather than hurting her feelings as she did mine, I lifted her up with compliments and explained that at the end of the day we are our souls and our bodies our just a reflection of our stories. I could see then that because it was on her mind and she was hurting inside, it was the first thing she compared herself to in me and my pain was a reflection as to what she was feeling. As much as the quote made me smile through my tears in the car after leaving, it made me hurt more for her because I could now relate to her pain and I only hoped I showed her a kind of compassion she could have for herself.
A judgey situational example in my own life is vacations. I always associated too much travel or time off from work as laziness and unproductive. What I was really afraid of was losing control over my current life situations if I stepped away; and I felt undeserving of having fun. I also always put myself in an income bracket that gave me supporting evidence that I didn’t make enough money for vacationing regularly. These statements are all based on an opinion that I decided to give the situation based on my own limiting beliefs. I changed my view to be deserving of vacations because I want to live life without regrets and stepping away from the typical every day is not only good for my mental health, but I am even more productive when I come back. As far as the 'dolla billz', I now tell myself it’s how I prioritize my spending. I’m in control of my money and how I want to invest it, and if I die with a large savings account, someone else gets to have fun or make the decisions as to where that goes. I’m a firm believer that what we put out in the universe (thoughts, words, actions) comes back to us. So if you want to operate from an undeserving place of scarcity, you will find yourself remaining there. Try to reverse your negative, insecure or judgmental self-talk and thoughts to see what comes in your path. I promise you will not be disappointed and you'll even start to believe in those words.
At the end of the day, you can decide who or what takes from your happiness. How can you create a different experience by assigning new meaning to judgments? How can you interpret things to improve your own well- being, and how would the person you strive to be interpret it? What we choose to see in others is a reflection of ourselves, so use these moments of judgment for self-growth. What can you learn about yourself in how you’re viewing these situations? There’s no such thing as being perfect, but trying everyday to catch ourselves in moments of judgment allows our relationships with ourselves to grow as well as with others. I find myself feeling more liberated, more loving and less isolated with a positive, encouraging support system. What would you hope to gain in your life by letting go of judgment?