The Costs of Being Judgemental
One way that I help my clients (and myself) relieve unnecessary suffering is through questioning and loosening a mindset that most of us have unintentionally. The concepts of ‘right or wrong’ are the telling words that we are being judgmental… and it is costing us.
Good or bad is another pair of words that reveals a set of judgments. Judgments are most often unnecessary, and unwelcome, and drive wedges in our relationships both with others and ourselves.
Often my clients start with me using these two pairs of words freely and without question. They often use it about themself and also of others AND they use these words often. These words create unnecessary suffering in the forms of guilt, shame, bad, wrong, not good enough, and different.
I grew up trying to be a “good” girl, trying to please the people around me, and with the mindsets of right and wrong. I remember when I was home from college one weekend and I witnessed my dad drop something in the kitchen and then berate himself. I had the ah-ha moment. His judgments, which formed many of the voices in my head, were not true but rather they were the ways he talked to himself in his head.
At this moment I vowed to stop berating myself when I ‘messed up” or dropped something. Raising my daughter with this mindfulness has been healing for my own inner child. Sure she still acts in ways that I give attention to and share with her the impact and consequences. I even will disapprove of behavior like not telling the truth. But in my parenting, she is always a good girl. Nothing she does can take away her worthiness, love, and support.
Judgments can be useful at times. Like running a business or managing employees; there are numbers to meet and performance that is expected.
Also when it comes to safety; judging if something is safe or not is important. My little one has had a thing with dogs… meaning she gets up in their face and pokes them. So obviously she has been a bit a few times.
So the judgments that I encourage you to focus on are your peers, your friends, strangers, and your partner. Try looking at what are the upsides of judging them. (Hint, there are none).
What are the costs of judging?
Puts wedges in relationships, including with ourselves.
Makes both parties feel icky.
Creates disconnect and space.
(Judgments do not help people change- which is how we often justify judging).
So… next time you hear yourself say. “That’s wrong,” “That’s bad,” “That’s not good enough” I invite you to pause and notice if you are feeling ‘judgy.’ If so question if this mode of thinking is serving you or the person you are judging.
This could be on the topics of
– “to vaccinate or not”
– How to live one’s life
– How to drive (one of my dad’s favorite places to judge)
– How to dress
– To be nice or not
-How to eat “healthy or not”
– And so on
This is the pathway to relieving unnecessary suffering, create closer relationships, which are both rooted in creating new neural pathways- a fancy way to say changing the way we think and show up.