Living a judgment-free life - an understanding of judgment and an experimental undertaking.
Tips and advice on how to live more judgement-free
24th December 2018
Now how have I been going with my practice of a judgement-free life so far? As mentioned in my previous post it is not easy to NOT judge, - meaning, before you even speak out loud, your mind is taking already. Those thoughts coming in like waves sometimes when you see things or see somebody is quite intense. I have been going OK. I have, if I am in the moment, stopped, paused and try to observe. Stop the thought-flow by being aware of my thoughts. Then, and this is what I researched and found: If I make a judgemental comment – may it be out loud or silently in the back of my mind to myself – I say to myself: JUST LIKE ME.
I see a person that is dressed up in a different way (let's say dressed in a pyjama going into the supermarket or dressed 'inappropriately' regarding their figure) My thoughts come in like: How can this person dress like that, how can you even go out and let yourself be seen like that? Once I realize I am being judgmental of this person I say to myself: JUST LIKE ME.
I didn't think it would work when I read it first somewhere on my research, but when I actually do it it feels quite weird. It takes the strength and power out of the judgement I just said or thought. It lets me think on how funny or weird or different I sometimes dress. Why do I dress like that? Because I like it like that, I feel comfortable, and I do not care what people think of me (mostly) as I don't want to be told how and where and why I should dress. So, right after I say those three words, my thought pattern changes and diverts directly back to me, making me think how different I am to everybody else. Try it. It is a very interesting thing to do.
Below I have a few more tips you can apply to practice being not judgemental.
PAUSE AND OBSERVE
When we feel to start judging – pause. Pause before you start reacting and judging to something or somebody. Then observe. To observe is to see, witness and watch from a neutral point of view. When you can let go of the illusion of clout in your assessment, you take a non-judgmental stance. When you do not act on the need to judge, you lose your fear of being judged.
Neither you nor any other human being is capable of being perfect 100 percent of the time. We all make mistakes. That is how we grow, learn and ultimately evolve. Without messing up from time to time you’ll never build character or have some advice that you can contribute to those in need. Don’t worry if you’ve done something wrong; rather use the experience to make you a better person as a result, and encourage others to do the same. Carrying around a guilty complex doesn’t feel very good, plus it facilitates the potential to judge others and yourself too severely. Everyone has a story and perhaps if we spent more time listening and loving, we would hear and appreciate more, becoming more present
Holding on to a grudge makes you more apt to judge unfairly as a protective mechanism to guard your wounded ego which actually leaves you more exposed and fearful of being judged in return. To free yourself of this vicious cycle, you must learn how to forgive. It is a lot easier said than done, but you’ll thank yourself for it when you’re finally free from carrying the heavy burden of resentment.
AWARENESS AND MINDFULNESS
Be mindful and become aware of your thought patterns. Although judgment is a natural instinct, try to catch yourself before you speak, or send that nasty email and do any potential harm. You can’t get your words back. Pause. See if you can understand where the person may be coming from. Try to rephrase your critical internal thought into a positive one, or at least a neutral one. After all, we really don’t know the reasons for someone’s behavior. When someone disagrees with us or somehow makes our life difficult, remember that it’s typically not about us. It may be about their pain or struggle. Most judgmental thoughts are of a negative kind. So notice as much as you can your negative thoughts (about other people, individuals or groups, yourself, a place, a situation you find yourself in, something that is happening but “shouldn’t” etc.) Notice the mind’s tendency to find fault with people and situations, to complain, to pronounce righteous judgment. Gradually, the dimension of awareness will grow and those mental habits will weaken. But don’t try to suppress your judgments. Have compassion with your mind. A judgment is harmless if you immediately recognize it as such and don’t completely believe in it anymore.
LOOK FOR THE BASIC GOODNESS
This takes practice, as our minds naturally scan for the negative, but if we try, we can almost always find something good about another person.
Reframe. When someone does something you don’t like, perhaps think of it as they are simply solving a problem in a different way than you would. Or maybe they have a different timetable than you do.
Dalai Lama: “ People take different roads seeking fulfilment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost”
Educate yourself. When people do things that are annoying, they may have a hidden disability.
Albert Einstein: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
UNDERSTAND AND ACCEPT
Understand that everyone has their own story, their own history and their own unique set of baggage to carry. Develop an understanding of the other person by thinking about why this person acts, talks, dresses or just is a certain way. Knowing them, makes you further understand them. As long as you do not understand that it will be difficult for you to put yourself into other people's shoes. No-one is like you. No-one has the same experiences that you have had and no-one's story is the same as yours.
Once an understanding has been created in your mind of this person, acceptance of this person just as he/she becomes easier. Accept that this is the way he/she will react because it is the way they are made up. There will most certainly always be things you don't agree with, but that doesn’t mean you can't accept their presence in the world. When you accept, frustration that leads to judgment takes an automatic backseat.
Don't judge people for their opinions that you do not agree with. Not everyone has the same mindset as you do, because not everyone has been raised the same way you were, or has grown up the way you have. Who are you to judge someone else's opinion just because it is different than yours? You can speak your mind and be vocal about your ideas and thoughts, but you should continue to respect those who do not think the same way as you do.
You can't appreciate others before you learn to appreciate yourself. Once you realized all the things that make you different from others, you will begin to like the things that make other people different from yourself.
INTERRUPT THE PATTERN
Our brains are good at doing what they’ve practiced doing. If you’ve been judging people a lot, you’re going to have to interrupt that mental pattern in order to stand any chance of changing it. This interruption is called cognitive dissonance and can take place the moment you notice yourself judging someone, as long as you do something– anything— different.
To be judgmental is to live life to a very defined set of rules with effectively limited (or no free will) choices. Very few people like to be “judged” since to be judged is often to be measured by an outside set of rules. So act the way you want to be treated by others. You don't like to be judged, so do not judge others. To judge a person is to measure them. AND then society assigns economic values to a person and their life actions. That reduces what a person does down to only economic choices in their life. This removes personal development or other measurement choices. Consumer profit based judgment, in the end, removes kindness as a life measurement and without kindness, a person loses their essence. Appreciate that when you point at others, you have three other fingers pointed back at yourself. Follow them back to yourself and investigate how this judgment toward someone else has something to do with you.
“Look at the weaknesses of others with compassion, not accusation. It’s not what they’re not doing or should be doing that’s the issue. The issue is your own chosen response to the situation and what you should be doing. If you start to think the problem is “out there,” stop yourself. That thought is the problem.”~ Stephen Covey
“Be curious, not judgmental.” ~ Walt Whitman