Judgment of Others and Ourselves

In our continued quest for sobriety and inner peace, the next topic in my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing, is judgment, or lack of it.

The kind of judgment to which I refer goes beyond the assessment of a situation to assure our safety. I am talking about the type of judgment that degrades another, that diminishes them. 

“Why do we judge others so harshly for being who they are, if their actions and behaviors feed their spirit and are not harmful to themselves or others?” The verse goes on to ask why we are so judgmental of ourselves for the same reasons.

Do you suppose we judge others so harshly because we are uncomfortable with ourselves, and, in an effort to feel better, we cut someone else down?

We first judge by appearance, so if someone dresses in a way that is out-of-the-norm, we have deemed them unworthy of our liking or consideration. It is said that in the first seven seconds of meeting someone, we have judged them. How do we have a clue what they’re all about in seven seconds?

Ah, perhaps we don’t care what they’re all about. Perhaps, we use that seven seconds to compare them to us, and we size ourselves up to their looks, so we can feel better about ourselves. Is that what we’re doing?

We don’t have to like everyone; that’s not what I’m advocating. But we can find out who they are inside, in their heart, and then let them be themselves without judgment of whether they’re good or bad people.

And what of ourselves, when we judge ourselves harshly? What’s with that? Often, we are harder on ourselves than we are with others. Instead of doing that, could we be kind and gentle, showing ourselves compassion? 

Today, take a minute to notice when you greet others whether you are judging them. Try instead, to see their soul, who they are as a person and reserve judgment. Take several minutes to reflect upon how you judge yourself, and just for today, try to catch yourself, and stop doing it. See how freeing and peaceful that feels?


Absence of Moral Judgment


Why do we judge people so harshly for being who they are, if their actions and behaviors feed their spirit and are not harmful to themselves or others? Is it because we are afraid of them and their differences, and/or is it because we’re not feeliing okay about ourselves?

As it turns out, I am grateful to have become an alcoholic, because I was forced to learn how to assess myself pretty honestly. I did not feel good about myself. Lots of assessment and healing later, I began to see how my negative thoughts about others were very morally judgmental, in response to my fear and esteem issues.

It was through the process of self-appraisal that, as I began to feel better about who I was and took responsibility for my thoughts, the less I handed out moral judgment, the less I denigrated their soul. So maybe the more we love ourselves, the less we judge others negatively.

I notice a whole litany of judgments running through my mind at any given moment, always judging another, as well as myself. First, I see myself noticing things about people and then judging them as safe to be around.

That is inate in all of us. It part of the automatic fight or flight mechanism – to continually assess our situation so we keep ourselves safe. We just do this, it just happens. It’s unconscious much of the time.

Yet, for me, the judgment takes on a tone of morality, sometimes indignantly, because I’ve continued my assessment, which includes deciding whether someone is good or bad.

By having these thoughts about someone, do I not set up an energy that they can feel on a soul level and it denigrates them as a person? In sobriety, I decided I wanted to stop denigrating people in my mind.

Initially, it was a conscious thought to go to that place where I said to myself, “Isn’t that interesting what that person thinks or is doing?” and leave it at that.

***** This only applies, of course, when the person is not being harmful to himself or others. That’s a whole other discussion…

Now I more automatically notice when I am judging someone, and this allows me to stop doing it. I find myself really enjoying what that person has to offer.

I have experienced the most beautiful moments with people whom I used to judge as bad. What an awesome discovery that was, and continues to be, as a result of my attempts at learning to lessen and negate my moral judgment.

Wow. What a long way to peace that would go if, once assessing that we’re safe, we stopped with our moral judgment of others. Would it be a world  filled with more happiness and the experience of more wondrous moments?

And if we stopped with the moral judgment of ourselves, would we each experience more happiness within, leading to our inner peace?