“When you think yours is the only true path you forever chain yourself to judging others and narrow the vision of God. ” ― Shannon L. Alder
Happy New Year! Here is my first Writer’s Quote Wednesday post of the year.
My friend and I were lamenting about how we set this great intention for the New Year to be less judgmental, quickly realizing that no sooner than we had set the intention, we were already breaking it. Much like going on a diet, the more we tried not to judge, the harder it was to stop.
So I’ve decided to take a different approach now, a softer, more compassionate approach, by recognizing that this activity must be serving some purpose in my life. If recognizing this part of myself is the first step to changing the behavior, then perhaps I can slowly replace it with something more kindhearted. Being more conscious of when I am engaging in this one-dimensional cerebration may lead to some greater insights into myself and can be a good indicator about how I am feeling about myself. Being judgmental of others is often the result of feeling bad about myself and can ultimately make me feel worse.
If I examine my judgments more closely, I realize there is some momentary payback that is satisfying and possibly even comforting. Lamenting about someone to my friend can be a way to blow off steam and work through my petty grievances without creating unnecessary conflicts with others. When I am dealing with more serious concerns, it can help me to put a little space between myself and the person I am judging in order to think things through more carefully. In the latter scenario, I can run the risk of increasing my frustrations, but most of the time it seems to have the opposite effect, allowing me time to examine my own part in the transaction more clearly.
I haven’t abandoned my quest to be less judgmental, but I am realizing it may be a life-long endeavor to figure out how to manage this part of my personality. There are plenty of good reasons for me to keep on striving to improve. In its most innocent form, it can be entertaining, and in its worst form, it can be quite destructive and toxic.
We live in a society that seems to revel in being judgmental, and we are constantly seeing posts on social media as well as news and television programs that are all about tearing people down. I don’t want to get caught up in that kind of negativity, so all I can do is to start on a personal level.
When I am having a particularly difficult time, I utilize an excellent tool from the Work by Byron Katie, called the Judge Your Neighbor work sheet. The goal is not to self-censor but to put my judgmental thoughts down on paper and then examine them more closely. I have found this tool to be extremely helpful in identifying how to make peace with my most troubling thoughts.
I would love to hear how others deal with this aspect of their personality. Do you find yourself judging frequently? Any good tips?