I am usually pretty good about avoiding the passing of judgment on people or situations. It's not that I'm a wonderful and wise person; it’s more that I've learned the hard way what happens when I do pass judgment. Over the years Karma has found creative ways to teach me a lesson or two on that which I've mistakenly judged. I've also found that I hate, hate, hate to be wrong! It's worth it to keep my mouth shut... but it's just as important to keep my thoughts out of the shadow-world of judgment.
So, I try to be careful to make sure that I am not dressing my judgmental thoughts up in 'observational' clothing. For example, I might see two people in a deep conversation. The observation is that they are talking. The judgment comes in when I try to build a story around the 'why' or 'what' they might be discussing. Then I treat my 'story' as fact and start discussing it with others.
So, how can you tell the difference between making an observation and making a judgment? I believe it's all in how the thought makes you feel. You see, judgments will not only hurt others; they also hurt us! Last week I found myself thinking about a situation that has been dancing through my mind for a bit. At first I thought that these were merely observational thoughts. However, then I realized that these thoughts spiraled into other more negative thoughts! Those thoughts left me with a feeling of negativity and being a victim of circumstances... which I loathe! It's then that it hit me that I was not making an observation. I was passing judgment on a situation that was not only none of my business, but also had no actual effect on me.
I have learned to monitor my thoughts in relation to how they make me feel. If I find that my mind is wandering into a place where it doesn't belong, I make it turn around. It's not easy to pay attention to how your thoughts make you feel, but you'll get the hang of it with practice. It's sort of like the feeling you might get if you were walking home and it was getting late. The short cut you usually take, which seems harmless during the day, just feels wrong now that it's getting dark. It feels risky and maybe dangerous. So, you decide to go the long way around to avoid the shadows. That's what you do with negative judgments. Just don't go down that risky, dark path.
I know what you're thinking... judgmental thoughts are not dangerous. However, this is where I'd disagree. As I mentioned earlier, more times than not, we find that what we thought we 'knew' was indeed incorrect. Who wants to be seen as the person spreading false or harmful information? It ruins your character. Judgment takes up prime space in your brain that should be reserved for more important thoughts. Also, keep in mind that Karma has a way of putting you in a similar situation to the one that you found yourself judging not too long ago (I know this from experience!). Now, you'll learn the hard way what it's like to be in the other person's shoes. Dangerous? No! But harmful? Yes!
So, I guess the whole idea is to be careful when you find yourself looking into someone else's world. Are you simply observing and letting it go... or are you passing judgment and allowing those thoughts to take up residence in your daily thinking. Only spend your time on that which you can be certain will move you to a better place.
Cindy Gagne Teixeira
Just like you, I wear many hats. I'm a mom, a teacher, a friend, a daughter, a sister, and a writer. I choose to laugh (and talk... and write) about my problems because crying takes too much time.