Judgement

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

1,230 thoughts on “Judgement

  1. We have learnt to make judgment our default but it is very wise to exchange it for appreciation. Judgement has us in a very narrow tunnel vision, appreciation allows us to see the beauty there is.

  2. When I can feel myself going into judgement and pay attention to my body it feels tight and restricted. This is a moment to simply let go, let my body release and then I am open and responsive to everything that is in front of me.

  3. I have been looking at the many ways I resort to judgement and its effects. And, everything you’ve shared Alexis is exactly how I feel too. I find what helps me unlock this automatic default reaction to people is my unwillingness to admit or feel the judgement that is there, it’s like I try to avoid feeling what I have allowed through. I don’t like to feel or take responsibility for the judgemental thoughts that come into my body, so I dismiss it and try to move on but this just means I fall right into the same reactions, again and again, every time there is a trigger.

  4. To understand we are judging others can come as a big shock, because we can think that’s what others do, not ourselves. When we realise we have been judging too, it’s important to make some changes to our behaviour.

  5. Judging others is a so ingrained behaviour that we don’t even question it. It’s familiar as it’s the way we have been operating for so long. But coming accross to an article like this opens up a new way of being in which we don’t interfere in the process of others, having a quick opinion about their choices or pointing to the faults without see ourselves first. There is a beautiful dettachment but at the same time a holding, in observing the essence of every person in this world, it’s a precious foundation for every relationship.

  6. We judge ourselves first then we judge others. If we were to stop judging ourselves, we would bring understanding to self and to others.

    1. Great point Michael, and also, how often do we resort to judgemental thoughts, quickly brush them aside and then consider ourselves to be non-judgemental because they are not extreme forms of judgement?

  7. Judgement is so insidiously silly, it’s not truly logical at all, because I have found myself judging others for doing things I used to do – that just doesn’t make sense, We become the CEO of Right and Wrong and preside over everyone, and it’s all based on appearances and what we do, completely dismissing the beauty of who we all equally are within.

    1. I agree Melinda … we judge others for things we used to do and we can also change the goal posts too – judging others for something we haven’t done but then we go and do the very same thing!

    2. It’s good to make fun of consciousnesses like judgement because when we stand back and observe it’s all it’s so utterly silly, we judge others for judging us, judge ourselves for being judging, etc, making light of it can help bring us out of it, and out of the seriousness that hooks us into repeating the cycle. Examining how ludicrous it is has really made me laugh. It reminds me of a comedian who told the story of sitting in a fast food outlet stuffing his face with chips and burgers judging everyone around him for doing the same! He stopped and realised how ludicrous it was, and it is, as the energy behind judgement has no real intelligence at all. It’s just not something that comes from our hearts.

  8. “So, who have I judged? It’s perhaps more pertinent to ask, “Who haven’t I judged?”” I really like the honesty of your question here Alexis and its one that we could do well to ask of ourselves. How many people do we judge in a day? From the way someone looks to the way they behave – my feeling is that it would be way more people than we care to realise. And how different it would be if we were to appreciate something about another instead – what a huge difference this would make.

  9. I noticed recently that I do not hold the judgment of myself that I used to – I am much more loving and understanding. This has allowed me to be more understanding and loving with those around me.

  10. “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.” Very true and knowing about energy it’s not the person themselves but the energy they are choosing that causes them – and myself – to act in a certain way at times.
    Acceptance and appreciation are a great counter to this.

  11. “Could it be as simple as understanding that judgement hinders our return, whereas acceptance speeds us on our way?” This is so what I needed to read today Alexis. I’ve become more self-judgmental recently and let acceptance and appreciation take a back seat. No wonder I’ve not been feeling so great. Time to bring back appreciation into my life.

  12. Coming back again to this blog, it is obviously giving me a message – I am seeing that judgement of myself and others comes from a lack of understanding and wanting things to be a certain way rather than simply allowing them to be.

    1. I’ve found that as well. I hold an expectation/picture/demand that life be a certain way and judge life according to those pictures. But feeling life doesn’t require and often can help break down the fuel of judgment.

      1. It sure can and does Leigh, the more I allow myself to feel and see life as it is the more I get to understand what is going on and why, rather than projecting out how I want life to be and then getting frustrated by what I am seeing as it does not always correlate.

  13. There is not one ounce of love in judgement as we are holding someone to be something they are not. Yes, we can all and do all at times express less than the love we are, and yes, we can go to varying degrees of extremes but essentially any moment we are not being the love we are we are being less than we are. And so rather than judging and condemning another to be less, we can support each other and pull each up to be the love we are. That is then truly working together rather than constantly trying to topple each other over.

  14. We need to stop and ask ourselves how does it feel when we are judged then understand that another feels exactly the same way when they are judged. What if we were to look at why we judge in the first place, where does judgement come from and what are we feeling inside that has led us to make judgement on another.

  15. This article is so helpful. I was in a situation at the weekend where I realised that I could be very judgmental and critical of the people around me. I chose to let go of the judgments based on appearances and to stay present in my body and not go into my head. I stayed open and interested and did not shut down and avoid the people I was with who were not conventional. It felt very lovey to stay loving and made me realise that we can always be open hearted and love and that we never need hold back our love.

  16. I am so pleased I have come back to this blog. When I consider judgement, I find it is a study that needs to be taken in bite-sized pieces because as we do so, and if we do so with absolute honesty, our own judgement can reveal itself and this can pose a challenge.

  17. A powerful blog exposing the layers of insidious nature of judgement.
    “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.”

  18. Making judgements about ourselves and others often involves holding others to an ideal or belief or making assumptions. None of which has much to do about the truth of who we are.

  19. This shows that even the most subtle of judgements is still judgement and it really effects people. If we feel everything then we can feel when someone is holding us in comparison.

  20. Good to be reminded of the raised eyebrow, the shared look or the pregnant pause, although they seem to be subtle the energy is the same and creates a distance to two or more people, it makes someone less and the one using the gesture feels him or herself more than the other.

  21. I have realised recently that anytime I judge someone I am reducing and boxing them to be far less than the whole of who they are and so it is actually a passive aggressive form of suppression, subversion and discrimination and ultimately supremacist.

  22. Alexis, calling these subtle forms of judgement out feels really important; ‘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.’ These subtle forms of judgment can happen a lot and if we don’t call them out as being judgmental then we just accept it as normal and it becomes part of how we are with each other.

  23. “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.” Admittedly I still find some things hard to be so clear about when it comes to truth or not truth, even though I know there is ultimately only truth or not truth. There’s always more to look at and understand about the choices we make on a daily basis, and the impact they have on us and everyone else.

  24. I know that I have gone to great lengths at times to avoid another feeling rejected by me as I know how awful that can feel. However I have not always recognised that when I judge I am still rejecting someone rather than accepting them as they are.

  25. Judgement of others first begins as a judgment on ourselves. The less we judge ourselves and the more understanding we are of ourselves, the more we understand others and therefore the less we judge.

    1. True Jennifer, it always starts with ourselves, the more I give myself space to be who i am the more I can accept that others are where they are with themselves. There is no need to judge when we accept the rhythm of each other in life.

  26. I am glad we have put judgement on the table here. Thank you, Alexis. It highlights for me all those little nano judgements that slip into my day and makes me realise the accumulative effect of them. Any judgement in me is a deviance from the collaborative, unconditional and supportive relationship I know is natural for all of us.

  27. When I think of all the times I have judged people – it makes no sense. It does not add up and it makes me realise how silly judgement actually is and just keeps us from deepening our relationships with others.

  28. The thing about judgment is that we hold someone in that picture and then don’t let them go. For instance, we may see someone as being irresponsible when growing up and then they are held in that for the rest of their life. We in fact never let them off the hook.

    1. Unless we get the reflection of someone else who holds the person in absolute space and loves them to bits then we have the opportunity to be inspired and make the choice to let our hurt go about the past and open our eyes for the truth of what we have been doing.

  29. Lived love reduces the divided ness of judgement in our lives and the brings a oneness and unity that is otherwise held as a spoiling of all our relationships.

  30. Judgement is so debilitating not only for the other person but also yourself. I find it completely voids you of any sense of responsibility and takes away the opportunity to learn from the situation plus it holds the other person in something that is not them, simply just something they have chosen.

  31. We were sitting at the dinner table and I called out one of my family members for being judgmental and then what was super cool was they then in return called out without further judgement that I was being judgemental in the way I expressed. So, it made me realise how easy it was to judge others for being judgemental and no matter how good the words may sound it was all in the quality of energy the words were delivered that was either loving or not. Calling out and exposing judgemental behaviours is great but if our expression comes with any hint of judgement then it is simply adding to the harm.

  32. The more we have a foundation of lived love within our bodies the less likely we are to receive that judgment as a rejection.

  33. Alexis, this is a great point and one that I had not properly considered before; ‘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.’ This really exposes that being judgmental is not a true or loving way for us to be with each other.

  34. Judgment fuels a blame-game culture that sadly seems to be infiltrating society – it is the opposite of taking responsibility basically.

  35. Judgement is so much part of the world we live in by the very way we are living and the projections out there in society. Self-judgement is a killer to our very essence and who we are and clouds everything. Appreciation, on the other hand, changes everything, allows us to live who we are and brings true joy and harmony to our lives, our relationships, and all we bring and do, and is the foundation to everything.

  36. Self judgment has been such a huge part of my life, and has a lot to do with pictures and projections, the more I let go of that the more space there seems to be to be doing with myself and of course all others too.

    1. It certainly is Gill and how often are we aware of judging others for being judgemental. This is where arguments can start, especially where no one is willing to take responsibility.

  37. The universe offers us complete and utter love with every moment, while we sit back deciding which bits we like or do not. Just because there can be pain does not negate the beauty of what can be learnt.

    1. I love that Joseph, so beautifully expressed. Why would we want to choose to express less than the love we are or hold another in less than the love they are? it makes no sense and achieves nothing when we do, other than give credence to the game we are playing to, stuck in the misery we are in.

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