Living a judgment-free life - an understanding of judgment and an experimental undertaking.
What actually is judgment and what does it mean to be judgmental ?
30th November 2018
♦ that outfit is out of style ♦ she should lose some weight ♦ he could use a little exercise ♦ I would never behave that way ♦ she talks too much ♦ they are too strict with their children ♦ that plant needs to be watered ♦ those children are out of control ♦ he doesn’t work hard enough ♦ that colour doesn’t look good ♦ she sure doesn’t need to be eating ice cream ♦ he doesn’t earn enough money ♦ she is not very attractive ♦ what a terrible actor ♦ he’s not good at his job ♦ they are always late for dinner ♦
Now you might have come across to use one of these sentences or had some of those thoughts in the past. Or even just before one minute ago. Maybe without even realizing it. Judgment is a natural instinct. The mind is conditioned to be judgmental, and the mind naturally scans for the negative. We were raised to be judgmental and society and the media is hammering it into us every single day.
As a health and nutrition coach in training, and also just having passed and finished my practical unit, I have learned and realized that being judgment-free is one of a coach's most important skills to possess when working with clients. You got to be judgment-free to fully understand and help a client to work on their health and well-being journey, get the client to create and come up with their own goals and work towards them successfully so that they can then create a life for themselves which they love and where they are healthy and happy in their OWN terms. It is very important to be judgment-free also in that regards, that you as the coach, are NOT to provide the client with ready-made solutions or strategies but rather get the client to come up with their own ideas and goals to fit and suit their unique life (-style). So you have to be objective and neutral and don't judge with whatever goals and ideas or solutions the client will come up with. It might suit them but for others, this might not work.
I came to realize especially in my 10-day-Vipassana-Meditation-Course, that being judgmental of something or somebody, to label something a certain way, can get you sometimes into a bad or dead-end situation. I then vowed to myself to practice living a judgment-free life and add this to my list of values. It is not going to be easy, but I am more than prepared for it to start and practice it as it is a more and more important feature of my lifestyle and how I want to live my life now and in the future.
So why do we judge others and ourselves?
What is it, that allows us to feel that it is our place to even comment, that we are somehow in a position to pass judgment? And, why is it that by judging others, in some small way, we feel better about ourselves; justified in our own skin. How can diminishing someone else help us feel more adequate about ourselves? If we believe that we are all truly equal, that we are not above anyone else, then what makes us qualified or entitled to criticize or judge?
By judging other people for who they are and doing what they do, we somehow give ourselves a temporary boost—a feeling of being okay—because we apparently knew what the correct behavior was to undertake in each of their situations and they didn’t have a clue. In those moments, we become everything we think we are not: clever, a great mother, a beautiful woman, an outstanding employee, etc. We can’t see or feel those qualities within ourselves (sometimes), so we have to use what we consider another person’s faults as the way to reach a point where we could give ourselves permission to briefly enjoy in the qualities we thought we were lacking.
When you come to judge somebody, it is not really about them at all but mostly and only about YOU and how you feel about yourself. Have you ever thought about that?
Judging strengthens the Ego
Your opinion of right or wrong, good or bad is from your conditioned mind. But when you think of it, every moment is as it is. Nothing is good or bad, right or wrong, or has any meaning. It is the ego that places these judgments on things. Judgments create separation between you and what you are judging - the ego needs this idea of separation to survive. If a situation arises and you judge it as bad, you and the situation then seem to become separate, and suffering begins. Through non-judgment, you realize that you and the situation are one.
If you judge a person, they instantly become a concept to you - you lose who they actually are. If you do not judge them, but allow them to be, you are more likely to see their inner essence as who they actually are, which is one with you.
If you judge a thing - even calling an object "my glass" - this forms another concept, and the object becomes deadened through the filter of the ego. Look at an object with no judgment or mental labeling. Can you see the stillness emanating from that object now? You see it as it is.
If you judge a situation as bad, you instantly feel bad. If you do not judge the moment, allow it to be, a sense of spaciousness, aliveness and peace arises, and spontaneously the situation becomes more pleasant through your own or someone else's action.
If you judge a thought or emotion that arises and you may judge it as "an awful feeling", calling it this gives its awfulness a certain reality for you. It is, in fact, part of the feeling that labels itself as "awful". To judge or resist makes the feeling worse. To watch it without judgment means that it can not grab hold of you like usual, and it weakens by itself.
Also, good can not exist without bad in your judgment, they are actually part of the same thing.
The trouble with judgment as a way to measure oneself is, that it limits how much change can enter one’s life. Worse, once a person begins to judge their life, it forces them to push their judgments outward, to judge other people’s lives to maintain the balance of their judicial system. Judgment forces everyone to have all the same answers to life.
If you ever find yourself being overly critical about someone—especially someone you don’t know—ask yourself why you feel the need. What’s stopping you from accepting a person exactly as they are?
We also begin most days with our own judgment. We start out by judging ourselves; we second guess our outfits, we criticize our children’s breakfast choice, we think twice about how prepared we are for work; we doubt our capabilities. And then just when we feel confident enough to walk out the door, or into the meeting, or to face the crowd, we enter into a world of judgment.
Eckhart Tolle: “You are not a judgmental person. Your mind does what it has been conditioned to do, that’s all. The most important thing is that you are already aware of what your mind is doing. A truly judgmental person is someone who doesn’t know he/she is judgmental. They are so identified with their mind that they completely believe in every thought (judgment) that comes into their head.”
To be continued.
In the next blog-post I will describe ways to practice being less judgmental and then take you on my journey to live a judgment-free life as I progress through my studies and after that my newly-found career and purpose.