compelling results through coaching, training & organizational development

Withholding Judgment

"The difference between a flower and a weed is a judgment." ~ Barry Neil Kaufman

Withholding Judgment

A relationship without judgment is a relationship without problems. This includes the relationship with yourself. Have you ever noticed that nearly every time you judged, the judgment you received back was more than the judgement you put out? For instance, remember when you dared to speak one sentence of judgment against your parents and got a ten-minute lecture in return. Or the time you criticized your spouse and ended up 'walking on eggshells' the rest of the week. Realizing that we get back more than we put out creates the strongest fear in the human race, the fear of being wrong, criticized, or condemned.

Have you ever found it difficult to speak up for fear of being wrong? Or found it difficult to try something new because you might do it the wrong way? This is because you remember how that compounded judgment felt. The fear of experiencing that again is so strong in us, it often stops us from moving forward.

I remember times in my own life, when I was so afraid of making a mistake, I was paralyzed to go after my own dreams! I worried about other people's judgments and opinions and wanted others approval to the point where I put my own dreams and aspirations on hold, and instead did what others said I should do. I believed if I did what they thought was appropriate, they couldn't judge me or criticize me. Which of course was not true!

What I have found for myself and my clients is that until a person has done a lot of personal development work, they are often living someone else's life - not theirs. Until one discovers WHO they are, the courage to risk making a mistake is just too great for fear of being judged.

Whenever you call someone else wrong, it does not make you right, instead, in their view you become wrong. When you judge someone else - you are opening yourself up to be judged in return. So why judge? Usually it is because you have an opinion or belief about something and want others to agree with you. If they agree- they're right; if they disagree, they're wrong. So who made you "The Big Judge"?

What you hold to be right or true is only your perception. You may say, "Well, I know it to be this way, I saw it with my own eyes." Think for a moment: When five people witness an automobile accident, there are five different versions of 'what happened'. It's all perception - each individual's experience of what they saw or heard. The only thing you can judge is your experience and your experience is you and not the thing you are judging.

You may have a luncheon encounter with a potential relationship and judge that person to be either savvy or boring. He/she may be neither, but as you have judged them to be one or the other you believe it to be so. Your face may be different from mine- does that make you better or worse, right or wrong, prettier or uglier? No. As Shakespeare stated," There is no right or wrong, but thinking makes it so."

All that is necessary is that you entertain some doubt about the reality of your version of the situation.

Your perception and interpretation is based on your subconscious programming and determines the way you feel, act, and relate to self and others. When you change your perception (your thoughts - the way you see the situation), the situation, conditions and the person's behavior will change. I recall someone saying when they were 7 years old, they thought their father was really dumb, and at age 37, they couldn't believe how much wisdom their father had gained in twenty years - merely a change in perception based on the experience.

When I say a relationship without judgment is a relationship without problems, I do not mean that judgment or discernment is never to cross your mind - which is impossible. What I do mean is this: as the questions, doubts, judgements arise - do not give them energy, do not take them as 'written in stone'. Do not condemn or lash out at another or even yourself. Certainly do not entertain guilt as a by-product of your judgment. Guilt paralyzes you. Ask yourself very simply, "Is there another way of looking at this?" Be open to what comes and do not to judge it. Copyright,Judy Irving,2001. All rights reserved.


SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE - "Harbor no thought that will burn." - ~ Elaine St. James


Back to Articles