Like many people, I used to go through life constantly making judgements. We’re taught to think critically, and to evaluate. And there are many times when this skill serves us well. But I found that my ongoing judging was limiting my life experiences, and preventing me from fully understanding what was going on.
And it was also making me miserable.
So, today, I wanted to share three things that I have learned NOT to judge.
1. I do my best not to judge others. Most people are acting out of fear. People who do hurtful things, are afraid and hurting. When people are in survival mode, they do things that are absolutely crazy. I try to be cautious and keep my distance, but understanding this does help me not to be angry. Along the same lines, I remind myself that I don’t know anyone’s full backstory. I don’t know what misperceptions they have, and I don’t know that I wouldn’t do the same thing, in their place. Parenting has definitely helped me in this area! If you have a kid, you WILL one day appease them, in full tantrum, by giving them a treat at the grocery store. It’s going to happen.
2. I do my best not to judge myself. I have told you before, that I am a recovering perfectionist. And I’ve found perfectionism creeping up in the most unexpected places. I’ve caught myself procrastinating, because I was afraid that I wouldn’t go a good enough job. I’ve caught myself denying my thoughts and feelings, or worse, beating up on myself for thinking or feeling something, because I judged it to be bad. If we can learn to regard ourselves with the same understanding that we give everyone else, we will be able to look into our feelings and thoughts, and understand what is causing them. Rather than being stuck in denial or regret, we can move forward. Our thoughts and feelings are never bad–the ones we judge as bad are often just misunderstandings.
3. I do my best not to judge experiences. In life, we don’t get to pick and choose experiences. Because, if we had nothing but roses and walks in the park, we wouldn’t learn the lessons that are waiting for us. If we’re never made uncomfortable enough, we will never make the changes that we need to make–the changes that will make life richer and fuller. If I hadn’t have been through such a hard winter, I would not have decided to leave and create this new life for my family. So don’t judge difficult times as “bad.” They might be uncomfortable–or even painful–but they are a necessary part of experience.
Most of all, be patient with yourself. I have often caught myself slipping into judgements, and that’s normal. We’re all human. But I can say that putting forth the effort not to judge in these areas has made my life much more fulfilling.