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JudgementI've been thinking a lot about the idea of judgement lately. You may have noticed me mention before, the Jungian concept of projection – how when we judge others, we are really judging a part of ourselves. So it's time for me to embark on a bit of a rant, which is in danger of course, of being judgemental.

Our judgement can manifest in different ways – some of us are more inclined to direct our judgemental feelings at ourselves, and others are more inclined to externalise those feelings by finding fault with others. Comparing ourselves to others is one of the ways we judge ourselves unkindly (or indeed narcissistically). Either way, different sides of the same coin. Basically, judgement sucks, is bullshit, and I strongly recommend doing without it, learning to let it go.

Whether you complain a lot about others or you harshly compare yourself with others and assume many other people are so much better, more worthy and more deserving than you, (or vice versa), you're playing the same victim game in a different way, and it still means you need to make peace with yourself and let go of this judgement bullshit. Have I said bullshit enough times already? It's bullshit. Judgement is bullshit. (A judgemental statement, of course, lol).

Basically, any time we're engaging in judgemental thoughts, criticising, condemning, chastising, patronising, invalidating etc, we're not in a healthy mindset. The antidote to being judgemental is seeking to understand, it's curiosity and open mindedness, it's love. When we are able to be curious and open minded about something and just observe our feelings and reactions to it, and question them, without judgement of either ourselves or others, we open the way to greater understanding and possibility, to more potential for solutions, resolutions and alternatives.

The reason it feels uncomfortable to judge others, and we tend to want to cover up that uncomfortable feeling by expressing our judgement more strongly, is because we are externalising something we are uncomfortable about in ourselves. If we have the guts to examine what we are uncomfortable about within ourselves, with open minded curiosity, it no longer seems important to us to dominate, condemn, hurt or control other people, or necessary to be their victim.

 

If it doesn't feel uncomfortable for you when you judge others, I'd suggest that you're more out of touch with how you feel about yourself than you realise, and that this is where you might be best to begin your work. If you need to artificially make yourself feel superior by harassing, dominating, controlling or denigrating another person or other people, whilst telling yourself and others that it's because of the faults and flaws you perceive in another or others, ask yourself what you're really afraid of, and be ready to face some tough truths. If you can do this, you're capable of great positive change.

If you can get your brain around this concept, you'll see that we can apply it to how we feel about someone in our home not putting their bowl into the dishwasher, and right up the scale to world politics and the state of the planet. Spreading this kind of personal awareness and understanding can potentially prevent wars and save populations as well as improve our personal relationships and our individual experience of life. Yes, I believe it's that important.

Judgement is at the source of all abusive relationships, whether between two people, or global ones. Whether you are currently occupying the role of victim, persecutor or rescuer, you're part of the problem. Just step out of it and observe from the outside – you'll get a much clearer view of what is really going on!

Any kind of verbal or emotional abuse, fundamentalism, extremism, violence, ineffective attempts to improve and reform defective systems, guilt, helplessness, and those irritating narcissists who need everyone to notice and make a big fuss about how selfless and special they are (you know the ones) – it's all based around judgement. It's all based around attaching a bullshit meaning to something to protect someone from facing uncomfortable truths about themselves, that if they had the balls to examine, would realise weren't so scary after all.

We need to be able to call bullshit on ourselves over so many things we've learned to do habitually which come from a place of judgement, whether it's our reaction to the outfit somebody is wearing, how they speak, their religion or the absence of it, their choices, or whether it's how we react to differing opinions on climate change, vaccination, mental health or budget reform. When we remove judgement, we see so much more that would otherwise be obscured, and enable ourselves to be better informed. It's not necessary to make a decision in the moment about whether something is right or wrong, good or bad, desirable or not, correct or not. Maybe we just don't understand enough about it, or we don't have all the information yet.

It's even possible, as I eluded to at the beginning of this article, to be judgemental about people being judgemental. Damn those bloody judgemental people, bloody arseholes. We are all, of course, only doing the best we can in this moment with the knowledge, ability and resources available to us right now, in the context of our experience of life so far. Are there really good and bad people, intrinsically? It may seem so, especially when we are considering anyone who has deliberately caused harm to another. But aren't we all capable of that, to varying degrees, depending on our circumstances?

I heard a story about a set of identical twins who grew up together in the same abusive household, one leading a miserable life, the other a happy and positive one, and both explaining their own life the same way, something like "well what else would you expect, with the childhood I had".

I don't know the answer to that, and I'm comfortable not knowing. The story does illustrate the importance of personal choice, and how much each of us really does have control over how we think and what we choose to make things mean.

If we continue to make things mean that others are to be judged, that we ourselves are to be judged, which are really kind of the same thing, then life will continue to suck accordingly. The extent to which we are able to let go of judgement, as individuals, as a species, and everything in between, the better off we will be.

Nothing has any meaning other than the meaning we choose to give it. We, as humans, will base our thoughts and decisions and judgements around our beliefs. These beliefs are often erroneous and formed in childhood, through our experience, the society and family we grew up in, and by indoctrination by governments, religions, corporations etc, people with a vested interest in controlling us, an interest based on fear, ignorance and judgement, and the inability to adequately self examine, by the way. We have not necessarily consciously chosen all the beliefs we are currently operating on. Those of us who have done more personal development work may have made some progress in this area, mine is certainly a work in progress!

When we make judgements, they are coming through these beliefs. This is why we need to stop and question them, and learn how to let go of judgement.

I'm not saying we can't have opinions, we will whether we mean to or not. I'm saying that it's a good thing to recognise the weaknesses and limitations of our opinions and examine where they come from, and to hold them in a way that is not judgemental, and respects the possibility, in fact likelihood, that there is much more yet to be understood, and that being open to that is the way to peace.

Wow, this is really getting pretty deep. Oh well, I wanted my writing to loosen up a bit, there you go, lol.

So I got from judgement to peace, and now I want to introduce the idea of acceptance. Acceptance (not apathy) is a very cool thing. When we are able to accept ourselves, accept others, and accept the uncertainty of life, that nothing is certain, that the only certainty available to us is how we choose to think, then we are capable of finding peace. Acceptance means letting go of the need to control, know, be right. Those things belong to judgement. Acceptance doesn't mean apathy. Maybe it's a kind of faith, in love, and that peace is attainable. We can experience this kind of acceptance and still seek knowledge, understanding and connection, still form opinions, still make decisions, still take action.

Peace, love and happiness are at the top of my list of values, and most of my coaching clients have something similar. Judgement is incompatible with these things, so I invite you to join me in continuing to call bullshit on it, interrupt it, and redirect ourselves to more loving ways of thinking. Peace starts with our own thinking.

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