How Can Judgment Serve Us?
If you have ever attempted to shift from judgment to non-judgment, you may have found that challenging. It is because something important was missing.
There are two types of judgment: self-judgment and judgment of everything and everyone else. Judgment can serve us, if we know how to let it.
Judgment, in regard to laws, rules, and regulations, is in place in an effort to restore balance when an action creates too great a contrast; that is, exceeds an acceptable level of contrast and impacts others in a negative way or has the potential to do so. Nearly seven billion people on the planet have been exposed to different cultures and beliefs, as well as have unique personalities, so will, understandably, find it a challenge to behave as a homogenous society. Contrasts will happen.
The important missing aspect is that judgment of the self, others, or a situation is like a neon sign flashing the words "Contrast Exists Here" and, what that actually means for us. Whenever anything contrasts with our perception of how we, another, or a situation "should" be, we turn to our familiar "friend," judgment. Being in a judgmental state about others or situations, lets us believe we are what we deeply want to feel: that we are in the right. We fear being in the wrong or incorrect.
In past writings I said it is important to release self-judgment. My thinking has shifted about this for a specific reason: it is a worthy goal, but there is a step that needs to be taken to get there. Plus, non-judgment may not mean what you think it does (keep reading for a different definition). When self-judgment is triggered, it alerts us to the fact that something we believe about ourselves needs exploration, that a truth or personal truth waits for us to discover it and understand how it fits, or doesn't, into our PERCEPTION of reality, including how we perceive ourselves.
The next time you feel judgmental about yourself, another, or a situation, ask what the contrast is that you feel. Let the contrast reveal an important message to you. That is its purpose.
Contrasts can assist you to discern a perception vs. a truth or personal truth. Consider the not-enough-information syndrome. Have you ever jumped to an assumption and believed you were looking at the whole truth, only to discover or realize later that you were not? "Do I have enough information to justify my judgment" is a question you might write down and put where you can easily see it.
Anthony De Mello wrote in his book, Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality, that we do not like to admit we are not always right. When we discover we are wrong, or know we are, it is uncomfortable because we (and others) hold a judgment that it is a form of failure to be wrong or incorrect, rather than a part of life and learning and growing. Contrasts are opportunities to expand our awareness.
So, I now modify my statement to release self-judgment and suggest you practice easing up about judging that you judge. Also ease up on your attachment to how you believe self-judgment is "supposed" to be experienced and processed. Allow any form of judgment you feel to communicate what it wants you to discover about YOU.
It is tempting (and programmed in us) to believe contrasts are about others or situations, and that the solution or resolution is for "them" to change. Action taken because of this belief is like nailing your shoe to the floor and turning in circles: you go nowhere and you repetitively cover the same ground, deepening the rut you are in as you go. You keep your focus on the shoe and miss the fact that you are the one keeping your foot in it, and that only you can remove your foot (discover and understand the message for you and about you in the contrast) from the shoe (the contrast, which is a manifested reflection of what is going on inside of you).
See if this different definition of non-judgment resonates for you: no old programs, tapes, or memories running. How do you do this? Ihaleakala Hew Len of Ho'oponopono fame and co-author of the book, Zero Limits, wrote, "Peace begins with me. My problems are memories replaying in my subconscious." Think about this and see where it leads you; see what it reveals to you and for you. Dr. Hew Len describes how to do this in the book, if you are intrigued enough to learn more.
You Are More! Empowerment Coach Joyce Shafer, author of I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, but I Have Something to Say.