Recently I have been exploring the topic of judgement, as I have come to realise that I have been a very judgmental person for most of my life. Judging others is so much a part of what I do that I’m often not even aware that I am doing it. I have found that in order for me to be able to see a behaviour clearly, I need to be able to get a bit of distance between me and the behavior: but my problem with being judgmental is that it has often felt as close to me as my breath.

My judgmental ways have taken various forms. There have been the out and out verbally expressed judgmental snipes and the more surreptitious forms of judgement, such as a pregnant pause, the raising of an eyebrow or the shared look with a fellow staff member in a team meeting. And then there have been my judgmental thoughts, of which there have been an infinite number, silent by nature but registered in exactly the same way as an out and out attack of words.

So, who have I judged? It’s perhaps more pertinent to ask, “Who haven’t I judged?” I judge everybody – the rich and the famous, the down and the out, my family, my friends, my work colleagues, absolute strangers in the street and those I have neither met nor seen.

What is it that I judge others for? I think I can honestly say ‘everything.’ And the ridiculous thing is, what I judge others for is often the opposite of the same thing. For example, I have judged people for being too fat and too thin, too loud and too quiet, too stupid and too intelligent, too ugly and too good looking, too sensible and too reckless. I was going to say that I could fill a book with a list of the things that I have judged others for but it’s much truer to say that I could fill a small mobile library with my judgmental ways.

And the utterly ludicrous thing is, I have recently come to realise that my supposed viewpoint from which I cast my judgement is completely arbitrary – a moving platform that has changed so radically over time that I can’t even identify any more with the platform on which I once stood. The staunch platform on which I stood in my twenties was built on the belief that vegetarianism was the healthiest way to eat and that strenuous exercise was good for the body and therefore I naturally judged others who ate heaps of meat and who chose not to exercise. But now, twenty years later my views have changed… I no longer believe that vegetarianism is healthy for everyone and I currently hold the belief that strenuous exercise isn’t good for anybody. So, if I were to judge others from my current standpoint, then I would be judging those that were choosing to live life like I used to.

And the word ‘choosing’ is a significant one because what all judgement boils down to, is judging another for the choices that they are currently making, which begs the question, “Who are we to judge another’s choices?”

As part of my growing awareness around my judgmental ways, I have started to feel the effects of judgement on my body. It feels like an attack, not only on those that I am judging but on myself. When I judge another, it feels like I simultaneously harpoon us both, freeze framing us in time and space. Judgement relies very heavily on time; it tries to insist that another be somewhere other than where they are, which, when you think about it, is utterly ridiculous – how can any of us be anywhere other than where we are now? The Universe is forever expanding and as part of the Universe, so too are we being pulled to expand, but judgement tries to pin us down to the tiniest of specks; it prevents us from seeing the deeper and grander aspects of each other.

Judgement is also rejection because each time we judge another, what we are in fact saying is, “I do not accept the way that you are choosing to be.” And this rejection is likely to push another even further into disharmonious ways of being, because rejection is an attack that most of us recoil from. Acceptance on the other hand is gifted with grace and allows others the freedom to move and change at their will.

Everything in life falls into one of two categories – it either supports us to return to the Truth of who we all are, or it hinders the process of return. Could it be as simple as understanding that judgement hinders our return, whereas acceptance speeds us on our way?

By Alexis Stewart, disability support worker, yoga teacher, massage therapist, mother, partner, self-appointed cheerleader for humanity, woman whose identity as an individual seems to be fading fast

Related Reading:
The truth of simple acceptance of self
Accepting all of you
Self-acceptance and appreciation bring true presence

1,175 thoughts on “Judgement

  1. I love the clarity you bring Alexis with the understanding that our return can be hindered by judgements or supported by acceptance. Knowing this will make us more aware of the choices we make and the consequences of them.

  2. When we do things for approval we are using other peoples standards, other peoples ideals and beliefs…selling ourselves out to judgements based on all of these.

  3. We judge others with the same force as we judge ourselves – the judgement of ourselves comes first, so we could say – ‘don’t do as to others as you have done to yourself – love yourself first and THEN do unto others what you have done to yourself.

  4. It is quite ludicrous how we judge yet very common practice that most people seem to do. When we know we are on our own journeys, there is no point judging and it so harms us much more than we realise. Relationships are so much more loving without judgement.

  5. ‘And the utterly ludicrous thing is, I have recently come to realise that my supposed viewpoint from which I cast my judgement is completely arbitrary’ I have vehemently judged people for doing something I’ve been convinced is wrong and then made a complete u-turn. Rather than notice how ludicrous judgement is I continue to judge. This just shows me how far from love right and wrong are, and how forceful the emotion of passion and the conviction behind judgement is. It’s all a horrible wall that keeps us separated from one another.

  6. Just like you Alexis, “as part of my growing awareness around my judgmental ways, I have started to feel the effects of judgement on my body”, and it is definitely not a pleasant feeling in the least. It is a feeling that jangles within a body that in truth does not hold one ounce of judgement against anyone me, even me. So that has me pondering on where judgement comes from. Is it simply from all the pictures we hold in our minds as to what life and others should look like, and if they don’t match, well there is the opening for the judgement to come on in.

  7. It’s a case of judgment VS appreciation, if we can learn to go for appreciation, the judgement hasn’t got a leg to stand on (so falls over :-))

  8. Judgement is a barrier to intimacy with others. I’ve realised I’ve been walking around in protection which is a huge judgement on other people as I’ve being saying you are only going to hurt me so I’m not going to show you all of who I am, my beautiful fragility or sweetness; instead you’re going to experience me as hard and warey. This then shuts us all down. I’m now opening up and welcoming when I notice any judgement, and no longer condemning myself for it as I understand where it’s coming from.

    1. Yes, judgement robs us of seeing the beauty and magnificence in another and ourselves. I know when I’m in judgement this feels toxic and I know I’m not connected or expressing the love that I am. If another is struggling and I judge, then I’ve condemned them for this and as this; so even if I were to ‘help’ them, not be holding them in the grandness that they are, I’d be inviting them to limit themselves.

  9. I love what you unravel here Alexis and how there simply is no sense in judgement as we can judge today what we once have fervently believed in or might find ourselves doing in the future. Being open to observe and learn however gives everybody space to unfold in their own time.

  10. To let go of judgement we have to allow ourselves to feel the effects of what it does to the body. I know that every time I judge I feel the separation between myself and the other person. There is no love in my body in that moment for another but also not one drop of love for myself.

    1. Yes Caroline, judgement is definitely a two way street, as the energy from those destructive thoughts cannot be contained within our minds. We only have to think a judgemental thought and the energy is flowing on out of us. I have come to hate how I can judge others, how the thought is there even before I am aware of it. But with a commitment to bring more love and understanding to my fellow man the power of judgement is very slowly beginning to dissolve.

  11. Reading this article makes me realise that because we so often judge people we know and strangers, this stops the love that can flow between us and stops the connection, understanding, and support that could otherwise be there.

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