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

1,221 thoughts on “Judgement

  1. We can think that our judgement is positive. For example, we can think that murder is wrong. But in our judgements we’ll never understand the behaviour, regardless of how malicious the act is, there is always a root that can be understood.

  2. It maybe a bit unusual perhaps but I’m loving clocking where I judge. I can’t say it’s a pleasant experience but the love uncovered beneath the layer of judgement is immense. Recently I’m noticing how the protection I go into comes from a judgement of others. As I let this go I see how we are all egos, how I can drop trying to be perfect and just be real and learn like everyone else how to be loving in the world. I am not ‘special’ as in uniquely special and better in any way. My need to be an individual hasn’t liked this simple truth but there’s a humble beauty to embracing this and being part of our one big family.

  3. Yes, this is really interesting how subjective judgement is and how it is only based on our beliefs at the time, which of course vary from person to person. So judgement is not based on any facts or truth but only our own projection and expectations of how we think the world should be, rather than how it actually is.

  4. I noticed in myself, the other day, how much I measure and judge others purely from the fact that I am not yet able to hold everyone with the same amount of love equally. I observed how I measure depending on what it is about another that I am reacting to. If I cut out the reaction, there can be no room for judgement.

    1. Residues of judgement sit within us all. There can still be a pull to expect people to be like us, and when they aren’t, we react. Each time we catch ourselves reacting, it’s wise to ask what are we reacting against. Expectations often fuel judgement. Cut out expectation and remaining open creates space for another to be themselves and for us to accept them just as they are.

  5. “Judging others is so much a part of what I do that I’m often not even aware that I am doing it.” And to live this way we must be in judgement of ourselves. We can undermine the whole judgement process by appreciating ourselves like there is no tomorrow. That is the best undermining there is.

  6. When I am judging either myself or another it feels cold and divisive in my body. When I am understanding, interested and open to what is going on in me or with others I learn so much (and love it).

  7. I would agree that to really get underneath a repeated behaviour that we want to change we need to conenct with the inner part of us that does not naturally have this behaviour as part of its essence – in other words we are not our behaviours so noone is a judgemental person permanently. By essence we are loving and understanding beings but we just choose to use judgement as way of living. So by connecting more and more to this inner essence or quality of who we are we start to be able to observe our behaviours more and more and this really supports to shift them and clear them from our life.

  8. Judgement is like a big cream pie. With judgement, we eat this big cream pie and feel satisfied we are better than other, yet with our judgement we are the ones eating the fattest pie to bloat our bodies out of existence. Whereas, appreciation for ourselves and the other (whoever we are judging) allows for a whole different experience that we all can enjoy and there’s no cream pie. What is the cream pie in reality but sawdust in our mouths.

  9. I’ve been looking at judgement myself of late and what I have realised is that when I am at work and I run the day on judgement of others I feel drained, so as an experiment I have been appreciating others at work and came out feeling very different. This is still a work in progress but it’s definitely shining a light on the many areas of life where judgement can creep in.

  10. Judgement freezes us in time – we personalize and make up our mind about someone/ourselves, totally overlooking the fact of energy, and more often than not, we keep coming back to the same time frame, expecting to repeat the same reaction over, and over. I can feel how retarding this is, and contra to our innateness that knows the truth about energy and space and everything beyond our temporal human inter-actions; yet, at the same time and I know how I have found it so hard not to judge. What I can feel is that not to judge doesn’t happen by flicking a switch and telling myself not to judge but accept instead, it is an aspect of unfoldment, and judging myself for judging would be pretty stupid.

  11. ” Acceptance on the other hand is gifted with grace and allows others the freedom to move and change at their will.” Bringing understanding to where the other is at – accepting their choices and appreciating who they are – not what they do or choose, supports defeating judgement.

  12. Fantastic blog Alexis thankyou. “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.” Yet when we judge others are we not accepting a part of ourselves too? A part we don’t want to look at or feel – that may be buried deep within us – or not? And we often judge ourselves so harshly also – which isn’t supportive for us or anyone around us.

  13. Judgement comes from a place of hurt so addressing the hurt – allowing ourselves to feel the pain not just mentalize- can allow for the emotion, which is really just a reaction, to clear from the body and this gives more space for whatever we choose next from the body.

  14. Such an honest blog, Alexis. Judgement causes harm equally to those that are doing the judging as those that are judged. It creates a barrier to understanding. Rather than observing and accepting others where they are that, what judgement highlights for me is an unhealed hurt that has me looking out at others behaviours, rather than going inward and taking responsibility for my own.

  15. The more I accept myself where I am at and where I have been knowing there is always evolution being offered to me the less likely I am to judge. Judgement is the absolute reflection of the judgement towards self because of the lack of acceptance on my part.

  16. Judgement is awful. Most of us have been at the receiving end and know what it feels like. And most of us have been at the delivering end and know how it comes with such lack of understanding and a condescension of another. And yet we can still so easily go into it – but each time this happens I do my best to grab that moment and really feel how it feels and what is happening.

  17. Self judgement has to be one of the most insidious ways we curse ourselves. It’s saying you are what you are choosing and can never, and will never be other than this. So vastly different to saying, ok let’s see what’s going on and bring love to the equation so you can heal.

    1. Spot on Karin – self judgement is a self-flagellation, a way to keep ourselves down and not allow the learning and hence growth and evolution on offer. We are super scared of the power that we can hold and live, because of the responsibility that comes with it.

    2. So true Karin. Self judgment can become very subtle when we think we are over condemning ourselves outright. Why do we self-sabotage so often? it makes no sense. Bringing in love and appreciation supports letting go of judgement.

  18. Alexis, I love your honesty in this article. No one wants to admit that they are judgmental let alone go into it and flush it out. What I get from judgment is that we do not accept humanity and work to keep people at bay, and are only willing to accept our pictures of life and how it should be for us.

  19. I feel that when we expose the ‘arbitrary’ and flighty base for our judgements, it becomes super clear that they are at best futile and at worse indicative of our awful deviation from unity.

  20. Alexis, I have definitely noticed that this happens with myself and others; ‘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.’

    1. We are allegedly the top of the evolutional food chain. When we express judgement to another are we not forcing others to cower in the corner or attack because we have been cornered.

  21. I absolutely agree with this; ‘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.” Recently it was exposed to me that I have been very judgemental and critical. I chose to see the truth in this and not react and this honesty has allowed me to be aware of and let go of the judgment that I have held of others. This feels very freeing and allows more acceptance and connection with myself and others. I do not get so tense now when someone does something I don’t agree with – I see it as their choice and so I feel I am able to be more consistent and steady as I am not in judgement and reaction.

    1. Absolutely. Everyone can feel being judged even if it’s not said. When it’s covered up by niceness or sympathy, that for me is toxic, because, if we aren’t reading what is going on, we can feel bad and judge ourselves for being ungrateful, perhaps a hopeless case unable to accept the support on offer when actually it is no support at all, it is cursing us to stay stuck in whatever we have created for ourselves. Sympathy offers no inspiration.

  22. This is one blog I love returning to, as coming to the realisation that judgement has been a huge part of my life, I have made a total commitment to moving it on out. It hasn’t been easy but coming to understand why I judge has made sense of this damaging behaviour, damaging not only to recipient of the judgement but to me as well. What has also supported the dismantling of this pattern has been being the willingness to understand where someone is in their lives, and the deeper I can go with the understanding the less space there is for the judgement to try to sneak in. I am certainly enjoying way less judgement and much more understanding in my life.

    1. Absolutely agree that judgement is the enemy of intimacy and being open with one another and offering love and observing life is the key to building intimacy.

  23. This is a great question; “Who are we to judge another’s choices?” It feels very righteous to believe that we are right and others are wrong, this is very black and white. Having acceptance and understanding of ourselves and others feels key.

  24. It is okay to have an opinion about something and to express it, but what is not okay is if we lace that opinion with the judgement that the other person is wrong. The root of that is simple, we need to be right and therefore make others wrong because in order to be right somebody else has to be wrong. This has to be rooted in an insecurity, in a feeling of not being able to cope or be accepted/ acknowledged because if we felt content with ourselves we would not have to make other people feel worse about themselves.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. ‘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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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 :-))

    1. The image of judgement ‘falling over’ had me chuckling Ariana, but then the realisation of how simple the truth is, often does. I’m all for deepening my appreciation if it is the way to fell judgement. Appreciation feels so yummy in the body, so very different from how it feels when judgement is in full swing.

  32. 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.

    2. You have reminded me of the killing jar that is used to put butterflies in so you can mount them with a pin on a board. We are the killing jar when we judge and those that we judge, are pinned to where we put them.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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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