Life is a mystery; it seems as if judging is unavoidable, but is it? It seems to me that the act of judging is more of a vice than a virtue.
The lack of clarity in word meaning can be at fault. The concept of judging I’m referring to is what we do when we seem to evaluate in two drastic categories, good or bad, even if we lack information or knowledge.
When we, rather, observe, question, and seek to understand, we’re exhibiting the virtue of empathy.
Let me share with you an anecdote to illustrate my idea. When I lived in Germany, I couldn’t understand people of both sexes, regardless of age, and of all different types of bonds, being in the nude in public saunas or topless in public places. I immediately judged it as negatively, but thanks to my childlike, restless spirit, I went and asked my male friends, why. “What about sexual modesty?” I asked. For me, this was a word often used in the Spanish language to describe sexual discreetness. When I pointed it out in the dictionary, they opened their eyes wide, and one of them said, “That word is seen as negative for us, and it means to be embarrassed of your sexuality.” I had to analyze and came to the realization that, yes, in fact, I was embarrassed by my naked body.
In another example, I judged that stores being closed on the weekends was bad for the economy. When I asked why, I was told, “Our government focuses on the wellbeing of the families, by giving them time to spend together, not purely on the economics.” I know today that I sounded ignorant then, but a smart ignorant because I decided to ask.
The act of judging is mostly accusative. It’s another form of blaming, and, most of the time, it’s given ignorantly.
There can be good uses to judgment, as in the criminal justice system, but, for the most part, judging is detrimental in our society. The vice of judgment is like a weapon we point at ourselves, and, quite often, we seem unable to get away from it.
In this blog, I have the intention to, at the very least, balance this aspect of ourselves and direct it to our growth and not for harm.
I have to admit, frankly, that I have a strong judge in my head, and, today, I realized how much of it comes from ignorance.
Has it happened to you that you end up doing what you greatly judged in the past? It has happened to me. It happened enough times to teach me to shut up next time. I have done exactly what I had judged.
I see the opposite of judgment is empathy, and empathy is the greatest challenge of this civilization. I’m not saying empathy is only operated from the powerful to the weak or from the rich to the poor. I’m not talking about compassion; I’m talking about, at the very least, considering that we don’t know the whole story, and we’re not in those shoes.
HOW TO STOP JUDGEMENT
• Recognize that it is more of a vice than a virtue, and that it comes from a misperception. Treat it as if you were trying to quit any other vice, like smoking. Apply determination, discipline, and kindness.
• You are here to learn. Yes, you will live your consequences as a result, but even then, you will learn. Learning never stops. If you judge yourself while learning, then you have a neurosis. Neurosis can only be healed with kindness directed inward.
• Practice, practice, and share this outlook on judgment.