Judge not….(or Maybe Just a Little)

“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

Grand Canyon 2011 028

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?

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19 thoughts on “Judge not….(or Maybe Just a Little)

  1. Just the mere fact that you are coming to these conclusions
    As I have felt to , your already moving less and moving towards an inter peace within yourself
    Great post Amy
    Very powerful and inspiring
    We need more of these
    Thank you very much
    As always Sheldon

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I read something just today about how empathy and kindness towards other people is intrinsically linked to how self-compassionate a person is. (It was in relation to practicing mindfulness to quell one’s inner demons.) It’s only one person’s opinion of course but it sort of makes sense in so much as any skill becomes easier and more natural if it’s practiced frequently and repeatedly. And I think that being kind and forgiving to oneself does not come easily to many (and I would include myself in the many). We can be overly quick to believe the negative stuff. Great post again Amy. You write so beautifully. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

      • Ok – brace yourself because she’s not everyone’s cup of tea – it’s something by Ruby Wax. The book is called “Sane New World” in the UK but might have a different title in the States. If you never liked her comedy, you’re unlikely to enjoy this. She writes a lot like she monologues! If she ever was your comic cup of tea though, I’d thoroughly recommend it. 🙂 x

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      • I did a little research into her online and liked what I saw, so I actually ordered both of her books. Thanks for the recommendation! 🙂

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  3. Pingback: Judge not….(or Maybe Just a Little) | Out of a Great Need

  4. What a fabulous quote and post! I am so proud of you. I too, strive to never judge others. I think it is good to question why people do some of the things they do in order to understand what makes people tick. You have started the most important step of all – believing in yourself and surrounding yourself with more positive people. When your heart is full of love it becomes easy to dismiss all the dogma that drags others on! Bravo! ❤

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  5. Great post Amy … and intention! May I put my coach hat on here … Research into language and the brain shows that we filter out certain words, and that phrasing something in the negative (not to do) doesn’t work well. Think of when you tell a toddler “Don’t touch the oven!” The brain registers touch and oven first… and you know what happens next.
    So re-framing and re-phrasing can be helpful. Something like. Be more kind. or Be compassionate to myself and others. (After all judgment starts at home)
    xo

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    • I actually thought about that when I was writing this post. I have heard that as well. I ended up framing it the way I did because it speaks directly to that point of sometimes the more we try not to do something, the more we do it. I agree that striving for more self-compassion and compassion towards other is a better way to look at it. Thank you for articulating that so well.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a topic we hashed around many times in a Bible discussion group I was part of some years ago. The need for us to make decisions means choosing between options and that means making a judgement. It is part of living to have to make decisions.
    I find that I am more negatively judgmental when I am scared and hurried, as if my need to make choices in a stressful way magnifies a negative view of a situation.
    However, making a positive judgment can also lead to bad situations. We see this where people decide that someone has all the answers and suspend our own judgment to let that person make the calls. Trusting someone who betrays trust is a trap I repeatedly fall into. How does one protect oneself without some amount of discernment about situations?
    The complexity of the issue of judgment means that it really is the study of a lifetime. Taking the time to understand people is really important and talking things over can really help process a situation.
    I guess you can tell that I don’t have any answers on the topic, but have lots of questions, even after much reflection.

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    • I like your perspective, and it is part of what I was struggling to articulate in my post. I think you have summed it up pretty well, and I agree, there are a lot of questions still to answered and reflected upon. Thanks for your thoughtful post.

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  7. Years ago, a favorite aunt of mine sent me a book that speaks a bit to this issue. It changed her life, attitude and she was sure it would change mine. In essence, it claims that we are most judgmental about those attributes that we see in others that remind us of things we dislike about our self. It made so much sense to me, and explains all the triggers in a very personal way. The book is “The Dark Side of the Light Changers” by Debbie Ford. It was eye-opening for me.

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    • Thank you for the recommendation. I’m going to have to get a hold of it. I have heard that as well, and I can see a lot of truth in it. It is good to hear others struggle with this as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: #Writer’s Quote Wednesday & #BeWoW – The Weekly Wrap-Up from 1/6/16 – Silver Threading

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