Ever feel judged by someone? Have you ever made a judgment about someone, including yourself? Good! Then you’re a normal human being! Judgment is nothing more than a personal opinion and if we are going to live in society, in community, we are going to be judged. In fact, the more authentically we live, the more we can expect judgment. But we have to be prepared to turn the finger we point at the other toward ourselves.
Judgments always say more about us than about the other person. In our judgment of the other we are usually naming something we see in ourselves that we don’t like. Judgment is triggered by a gut reaction to something said or done that we can identify with, usually in a negative way.
Recently I had the delightful experience of a workshop for men. One of the exercises had to do with naming someone in the group against whom I had a judgment and then speak the judgment to him directly! Wow, talk about nerve-wracking! We barely knew each other, but I took the risk to tell him my judgment. He listened, and then later I realized that what I shared was really something I feared and disliked in myself.
Someone whom we might label as “judgmental” is simply a person full of fear or self-recrimination who projects his or her insecurities, anger, or personal limitations on others. This isn’t to say that he isn’t correct in his judgment but that he is often unable to point the finger back at himself and look into his own heart.
Judgments also carry a lot of negative energy. It’s this negative energy that we feel when we are being judged and that we avoid when having to look into ourselves. The great thing is that I don’t have to take on the negative energy associated with judgment. It belongs to the giver of the judgment and not to me. By the same token, I need to accept the affect the negative energy from my own judgments is having on me. And then move on to the next slice of human existence.
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Thanks, Michael. Reminds me of a similar exercise I did as part of a psycho-spiritual intensive some time ago, and calls me forth to revisit that growth experience (AFGE, yes, but worth it).