To Judge, or Not to Judge? That is the question. The answer can be arrived at by asking another question: Do you want to be happy? Plain and simple, judging is not the source of happiness. It may temporarily–oh so temporarily–make us feel righteous and superior, but it is truly the source of unhappiness. However, we erroneously THINK that our unhappiness stems from whatever we perceive as being WRONG and if that person, place or thing would just get it RIGHT, we could be happy. Instead, it is our own critical thinking that is making us unhappy. If we need others to act a certain way in order to be happy, oh well, unhappiness is the order of the day.
Sometimes we are the worst judges to ourselves. “I should have done this!” “I shouldn’t have done that!” “I am fat.” “I am wrinkled.” “I am such a bad speaker!” “I am a pessimistic person!” The things we say to ourselves are horrible and sometimes downright mean and sadistic. And it is not a one-time slip of the tongue. For many of us, it is the ongoing story we tell ourselves. And then we wonder why we don’t gain others’ respect? Really? The way we treat ourselves is the model for how we expect others to treat us.
If judging is the problem, what is the solution? I am a lover of solutions. The problem is only good to toss around so that we can figure out what we don’t want. Once we know what we don’t want we can turn our focus onto what we DO WANT. Being critical, judging ourselves and others is an ingrained habit that is sometimes as challenging as a heroin addict getting off dope. But it can be done, one situation at a time. It is impossible to monitor every thought we have, so let your emotions be your guide. When you are not feeling good, look at what thought is underlying that. Did you just get irritated because your husband threw the newspaper into the regular garbage and not into the recycling bin? So what are you thinking? He’s an idiot? Lazy? Careless? Inconsiderate? Oh, these thoughts can come oh so easily for some of us. Yep, I am talking about myself here. Unless we stop and realize our irritation is due to our own critical thinking–our own disallowing of others to have their own journey–stop and realize we have a choice on how to respond to this situation. I can be my true self (lover of Mother Earth) and take the paper out of the regular garbage and go place it in the paper bin. I can observe my critical mind and say something to myself like “Bless him, change me.”
Or, perhaps you just looked in the mirror and saw the cellulite in the thighs and felt disgust. What is that about? What is the underlying thought: “I am not perfect enough”? Notice the critical mind. Make a decision on changing your focus from criticism to love and appreciation. You can choose a new thought, a different focus: “My body has served me well; I love the temple which is my body and because of that love, I AM going to head to the gym later today.” Out of self-loathing, no positive change comes; it is only from a place of self-love that we can go in the direction of our dreams, our happiness.
You want to be happy? You want peace of mind? Isn’t that universally a desire of every human being? Here is a 3-step path to that happy place: 1) Make it your intention not to judge–others or yourself–one situation at a time; 2) Avoid gossiping about others; and 3) Love yourself as unconditionally as a dog loves his owner, with all your imperfections….just for today.
To Judge, or Not to Judge? That is the question.