There is a lot that comes up when I think of judging and what it means to me. I’m taking my KISS advice here and making it as simple as I can…. but this will be a longer post than usual!
Judging is our default human condition. Our inner judge is there to keep us safe. For example, in an instant we observe and then evaluate the burning fire to see if it will hurt us or if the water is too deep, or if the animal coming towards us wants to eat us! We need to make judgments to keep ourselves safe.
However, over the years our judging thoughts grow and grow along with our ego. This is especially true if we are surrounded by other judgers such as critical parents or teachers.
Judging becomes the conditioned norm and we are not even aware of it. Our ego is reinforced because through judging, it makes us feel safe, in control and more powerful. Its more important to protect in this way than to be free to take risks and change. Its more important to be seen in a certain way.
Our ego is being fed, but our heart and soul begin to ache.
We become prisoners to our own judge without realizing it. Conditioned thinking becomes more important that truly feeling and connecting to our true selves. It also prevents us from being vulnerable and truly connecting to others.
The inner judge takes on a life of its own and becomes a part of us and, as we know, turns in on ourselves as well. We learn to be self critical. We put ourselves down. Our inner critic tells us we aren’t good enough, strong enough, smart enough. We shouldn’t have said that or done that. We don’t deserve this …
Then one day we wake up and get such a sense that something is not right. That something is missing. That life has more to offer, but we don’t know what the key is.
Here’s the key:
When we judge others we are projecting on to them a part of ourselves that we have not fully accepted in ourselves. Its something hidden within us. Its the shadow side that our ego cannot face. If you get triggered by a lazy person, then chances are that you have disowned that part of yourself. You don’t accept it in yourself or others. If you prickle when someone is showing off… If you react to snobbery… If you get angry when you see someone smoking or eating junk food… If you get annoyed when you see other people judging. Then ….
There is something for you to look at here. This is your issue hiding behind criticisms. Hiding behind the persona you show the world. It isn’t really about the other person. Instead of it being about them, take this as an opportunity to look to yourself … without judgment. With kindness.
We all have our shadows. The shadows are the other side of the light. Our ego wants to only see the light and how good we are. As long at it thinks the shadow is “bad” it will shun it and try to run away from it. The ego strives for a perfection that can never be.
Next time you catch yourself judging ask the hard question “How am I that?” Let yourself feel this discomfort, notice the judge and be kind to yourself. Let yourself be present with this feeling.
When we judge others, then know that we are surely judging ourselves even more.
When someone judges you, or you see them judging others, know that they are also judging themselves even more.
Judging goes hand in hand with inner struggle. It prevents people from feeling fully and being open. It protects them from feeling vulnerable, but the pay off is living life less fully. Be kind towards the other judgers out there.
Judging keeps us from becoming fully present and facing what is real. A good example is when we sit to meditate in the early stages of the practice. Its the ideal situation for our ego to rebel. The mind and ego don’t like to be controlled, they have to be in charge to feel safe. So critical thoughts come up to keep us from being present and opening a connection to our heart and soul.
Moving from judgment to kindness is one of the most difficult and important paths for all of us. When we recognize our judge and start being more kind and accepting of others, also remember that the practice of self kindness and self compassion is the key. We cannot fully accept others until we have fully accepted all aspects of ourselves. Including our own judge.
Be kind to all aspects of yourself.