by Joe Martino |
There is something that we do virtually everyday, most likely multiple times a day, that is not only unhealthy to our self but also to the relationships with others around us. Doing this has become so habitual and sub-conscious that it’s a habit most of us have a hard time breaking – which is why I wanted to create this challenge. I’m talking about judgement.
Where Judgment Comes From
Judgement can be a tricky topic because sometimes we can mix up judgment with discernment and at times we stretch the definition of discernment into the realm of judgement in order to protect ourselves from being considered judgmental. Judgment comes from the mind and is generally from conditioning or programming. We might look at another and judge their appearance or choice of words.
This is us comparing them to ourselves or comparing them to what should be while believing one is more valid than another. Judgment does not come from a state of strict observation and presence, it is from thought and comparison. Because of this, it is not possible that judgement can come from a state of peace because with peace there is no need to state right or wrong. It has become habitual because we do it so often and our mind thrives off of it as being normal.
How Judgment is Harmful
Judgment can be harmful in a number of ways. In a personal sense, being in an habitual state of judgment means we probably are not finding much peace in our lives. Our egos thirst to judge and often use it to make ourselves artificially feel better about ourselves. While at first the idea of ‘feeling better with this method seems OK’, it isn’t because this ‘good feeling’ is artificially created, and therefore only sustained with external forces which are negative to begin with.
When we are constantly relying on something of a low energy to make us feel better, finding joy and peace in life is not sustainable. We will always be looking outwards to fill the voids in our lives instead of being OK with how we are or whatever is in our current situation. It is harmful to our relationships because so often judgment becomes a big part of how we perceive people around us. This ultimately creates negative energy throughout the relationship which slowly causes it to deteriorate.
How We Can Stop Judging
In order to stop judging we first need to become more consciously aware of when we judge. Most often we judge out of habit. Whether it’s a conditioned habit based on everything that is pushed into our minds by media, news, education, societal norms etc, or whether it’s a protective habit we have created in order to make ourselves feel better by putting others down, it is crucial to become more aware of why we are doing it so that we can start catching ourselves before it happens.
Before we go and gossip to our friends about something, observe your feelings and why you want to do it. Before we look at someone and begin judging, their appearance, observe our thoughts behind why it is happening. Challenge yourself to SEE and FEEL people and situations for what they are.
People are all equal and not defined by how they dress or how they look. Each situation is there for experience and to offer us a lesson, let it be what it is and get the most out of it without bringing in unnecessary judgment. When in a situation that may not be as desirable comes up, first check to see if you are judging it. Often times it is our judgment of something that make it seem undesirable when really we could address this judgment and find peace in the situation.
The Ultimate Challenge
Now it’s time to start putting this into practice. I wanted to devise this challenge not only for myself but also to get others involved in doing this. What’s the challenge?
For an entire 24 hour period, go without judging yourself, anything or anyone.
We are going to have to be honest with ourselves to get the most out of this challenge. If we do find ourselves judging something throughout the day, work to reduce judgment for the remainder of that day, then start over the next day until you can complete an entire day. Allow the challenge to take as many days as needed to get it done. It all depends on how we observe ourselves and how quickly we put this stuff into practice.
Discernment vs. Judgment
One final note, it is important to recognize the difference between discernment and judgment as well. Sometimes we move away from a situation or choose not to do something and we can get caught in the idea that we judged it. Discernment can also be what led us to make our decision.
An easy way to figure out whether there was judgment involved is to ask yourself “did I choose to have any emotion or belief system behind it that did not feel neutral?” If you notice yourself angry, frustrated, jealous or annoyed with something and you make decisions based on that, it is not coming from discernment.
by Joe Martino