Have you caught yourself being judgemental? Even if you haven’t I bet you are judgemental without even realising it. We all are. But there is freedom without judgement. There is love and peace and happiness. So in this article I’m going to explore what judgement is and how to be less judgemental.
What is judgement?
According to the Collins English Dictionary a judgement is an opinion that you have or express after thinking carefully about something.
Now I find that interesting because in my experience judgement is almost built into us. It’s often a reaction, rather than a thoughtful consideration.
Take one of my examples where I used to get angry if people drove too slowly (or too fast for that matter). I didn’t think carefully about that, I just judged that person as being wrong for doing either of those things.
Anyway, I digress. The way I see it, is that a judgement is something that you pass upon a person, situation or experience. It could be ‘positive’ (that person is lovely) or it could be negative (that person is really stupid).
Either way, it’s an assessment based on thought. One person’s assessment will be different from another’s due to their thinking about it (which is in turn dictated by their experiences, conditioning, learning etc).
What’s ‘wrong’ with judgement and being judgemental?
It seems to me that the more we judge the more unhappy we are. Now there is nothing wrong with that, it’s just an emotion, but I reckon that most humans want to be happy.
Often judgement is against oneself; “I’m stupid”, “I’m not good enough”, “why did I do that?” etc.
And the feelings that come with those thoughts are unpleasant. They make us feel tight and constricted and will lead to behaviour that is closed rather than expansive.
In other words if we think we aren’t good enough to do something we won’t do it. If we were to think we were good enough to do something we would do it!
The judgement creates a horrible feeling that in turn directs our behaviour.
Equally if the judgement is turned outwardly it can often lead to feelings of anger, sadness and anxiety.
We judge someone/a situation/an experience to be bad and we do everything to avoid that person/situation/experience. Or we do the opposite and act on those feelings and that generally makes us feel even worse!
Where does judgement come from?
I’ve been pondering this for a while. As someone who used to consider herself non-judgemental, over the last couple of years I’ve been shocked to find how judgemental I am.
It’s too cold; it’s too hot; the weather is horrible; they’re too long; it’s too windy (to paddle board); they’re wrong; they’re driving too fast/slow and on and on.
We are surrounded by it in our everyday language without even noticing it. The most obvious one to me today is around the weather because it’s raining and windy. Most people would say ‘what horrible weather!’
We feed it to our kids – you’re too loud, you’re untidy, you’re lazy.
But none of it is objectively true! But we hear judgements so often that we take them as the truth.
How to be be less judgemental
It seems to me that we can’t. But what we can do are three things:
- Acknowledge it
- Accept it
- See it for what it really is
1. Acknowledge it
Notice what language you use and when you are judgemental. No need to change it, noticing is enough.
By acknowledging our judgements we become aware of them and awareness leads to effortless change.
2. Accept it
The second step it to accept. And in that I mean everything, even the being judgemental.
“Accept each moment as if you chose it”Eckhart Tolle
When I first started to see how judgemental I was I was horrified. I thought I was a bad person and that I needed to do something about it.
What I now see is that it doesn’t mean I’m bad. Without my judgement of the judgement it just is!
Without judgement things just ‘are’.
“It’s wet and windy.” That’s a fact and then judgement makes that horrible weather.
“I’m anxious and scared.” That may be a fact and then judgement makes that something that must be avoided and changed.
When we accept each moment as if we had chosen it, something opens up…
The space of possibility. The space of peace and love and joy. Because without judgement that is all there is.
3. See it for what it really is
Judgement is made up; just thought passing through in the moment. And it’s subject to change as all thought is.
You may judge a person to be driving too fast. But what if I told you that the reason they were driving fast was because their wife was about to give birth and they needed to get to hospital?
Immediately your thoughts about the situation change and thus your judgement is gone.
When we remove the ‘good,’ ‘bad,’ ‘better,’ ‘worse,’ ‘should,’ ‘should nots,’ and see what is really true it opens up a life of freedom.
When we see judgement for what it really is it opens up a life of love, peace and happiness.
The very thing you’ve been longing for. Right there.
And that’s not to say you’ll never be judgemental again because you’re human. Which takes us back to points one and two above!
If you’re interested in continuing this conversation and would like to find out about the 1:1 coaching I give then book a free exploratory call with me.
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