I once was quite judgmental. When it was called to my attention on a number of occasions by
people who really mattered to me, I made a decision that I wanted to be a different way. About that time I read two books, A Return to Love by Mary Ann Williamson and Love is Letting Go of Fear by Gerald Jampolsky. Both really helped me change my mindset and realize that there are only two choices in every situation, love or fear. I can act out of love or I can act from a place of fear. Judgment is a form of fear.
I began deliberately trying to approach every situation from a place of love. A loving response is accepting “what is,” doing that with curiosity instead of railing against it in judgment. This is not to say I don’t feel anger or judge anymore. But, when I find myself in that place, I take it as a signal that I need to check in with myself and figure out what I need. It’s usually a call to take care of myself in some way — by making a request, getting clear about what’s important, walking away, whatever will be most loving for me and the other. It’s also a signal to keep my mouth shut and breathe deeply to calm my feelings.
I believe I really learned how to be less judgmental when I began doing clutter clearing because I got to practice every day. The way I did it was to focus on my intention for doing the work — to make a positive difference for my clients, to be a loving force in their presence. I deliberately chose not to focus on what was wrong with them and their spaces, but rather to look for what was right about them as people, their gifts, their passions. I look/looked at their spaces with a neutral mindset, with curiosity. By refusing to allow judgment to take up space in my brain I was free to consider how to approach the challenge and work effectively with the client.
By keeping my greater intentions in mind — to approach everything from a loving place and make a positive difference, I was able to suspend judgment. I also reminded myself that judgment hurts others and goes counter to my values and intentions. Coming from an interested, curious, respectful place also worked well. I got lots of repeat business because clients felt safe with me, because I didn’t judge them.
I also keep in mind the wise words of Bill Harris, the founder of Centerpointe Research Institute and the Holosync®* method of meditation, that a great source of misery is not accepting what is — not accepting who people are, what is happening in the moment, the reality of a situation. That motivated me to accept what is, whether I like it or not, and put my energy into doing what I can to take care of myself and move forward despite what is.
It takes a lot of practice and patience to learn how to stop being judgmental. Perhaps a good thing to do would be to ask yourself if you like who you are being when you are being judgmental. Many people focus on who’s right and who’s wrong, and what’s right and what’s wrong and miss the opportunity to working things out in a respectful, loving way.
The first place to cease being judgmental is with your yourself. When you look at clutter in your space, the weight you have gained, the state of your finances, watch your thoughts. Are they condemning, critical and negative? Many of us think that judging ourselves negatively will motivate us to change what we are doing. Unfortunately the opposite happens. The judgment undercuts our self-esteem, sucks away energy and motivation, and increases the probability that we will stay stuck right where we are.
On the edge of a new year you have an opportunity to do something different going forward. What could 2015 be like if you looked at your clutter and other challenges with curiosity and an intention to let love for yourself and others be your guide?
*Holosync® is a method of meditation that creates profound changes in the brain, leading to life-changing mental and emotional changes.