Listen to today's intentional session below:
It is our nature to judge our circumstances and what is occurring around us.
Years ago it was a matter of survival. Quick judgments have to be made if the circumstances are a matter of life or death. Our survival is generally not the cause of our stress in this day and age (obviously there are circumstances where survival is still a concern but we tend to view those circumstances from the moment and take appropriate action to be “safe”) but we are more stressed-out than ever before. Our physical, mental and emotional states of being and those of the people around us, now, have “new” areas of stressful focus and they seem to be more invasive and dangerous than being chased by a tiger.
Certainly with the combination of “actual” physical danger and emotionally and mentally perceived threats to our well-being, our capacity to JUDGE is on high alert. For a lot of people, the innate human function of judgment is no longer a “quickly judge my surroundings for my physical safety” instinctual response but a fear-based, daily validation of reasons to be afraid. That high alert, fear-based judgment is causing much dis-ease in our world. Is it human nature or is it our conditioning that makes us feel so unsafe that we have to judge harshly on every level of our being (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual)?
If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.
– Pema Chodron
Write out, in detail, 10 (or more) things that cause you stress.
Take a good look at your list. How many of these things are within your power to change? How many of these stressful things are happening in this moment?
No matter how many things are on your list, chances are most of them are related to the past or the future. Many of them are things you have no power to change and a lot of them are not about you at all (someone else stuff). If you draw a line through the stressors that come from the past, future or someone else what is left on your list?
Today, let's reframe our perception of “judgment”.
Making a judgment may be our way of gathering information. Judgmental is what you are when you are judging. That may sound like semantics but do we really need another “flaw' to “justify” our unworthiness? Couldn't it be that the act of judging is just humans trying to make sense out of what we are feeling or an experience we are having without the self-awareness to know that these judgments are subconscious coping mechanisms? Maybe judging is the clue we need to point the way to old habits, old beliefs, or old conditioning. Consider this concept with an open mind.
Left at that, judgment is just a thought and holds no validity or impact except to ourselves when used as an observation. Judgments that cause emotional reactions are also clues to help you find personal insight. It is the reaction on any level of being that creates the discord and our reactions are in our power to change. Reactions that cause discord due to the judgments we make always have to do with our own perceptions, our own self-judgments, and feelings of inadequacy or strength.
I think, in many ways, becoming less reactive to our judgment would lower our stress threshold and that would be very beneficial on all levels.
We would not be spending the great amounts of energy that we currently spend analyzing, comparing, and worrying about things that either we have no control over, are “different” from what we believe, or are simply not ours. For the sake of greater self-awareness, I would like all of us to take a good look at what we Judge and remember that judgment is not necessarily a “flaw”. It is how we quickly assess our surroundings, how we determine what we want and what we don't want (clarity), how we observe beliefs that no longer serve us, keeps us from stepping in front of a bus and helps us make decisions. If, in observation, you are seeing a pattern of judgment toward certain people, language, behaviors, or circumstances this may be the information you need to pause, reflect and get curious before you react. Judging a person or a circumstance is only the beginning of our search.
We must stop looking at ourselves as a broken piece of equipment that needs repair and if, after observation, we determine that we are judging things so often, harshly and reactively (and on so many levels of our being) that it is causing our well being or our relationships to suffer, then we can make a commitment with an intention to change. Until then it would help to understand that all feelings have validity, that we are not broken, just learning, and that we are magnificent and worthy just as we are.
What about you?
What inspired you during today's intention on reframing judgment?
Feel free to share in the comments below or in the Self-Awareness Activity Feed.