The judgments which usually cause us the most difficulties and distress are those which judge situations/others as right or wrong, as good or bad, or as possible or impossible.
Humans have been making unhappy judgments for centuries. Shakespeare's Hamlet expressed the happier accepting belief, "there is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so." If the happier alternative has been known for so long, why hasn't it been followed? The reason is that we have been thoroughly indoctrinated in right-wrong and good-bad thinking. It is a natural thinking stage for children to pass through. Most of us incorporated a plethora of such messages in our childhoods. We may fail yet to see their tyrannical nature. For right-wrong and good-bad judgments about situations/others cause most of us much unhappiness every single day of our lives.
Another reason for our judgments is our poor self-esteem. Most of us have areas of our lives (our thinking, our emotions, our relationships, our sexuality, our addictions or our hang-ups), which we judge as not being OK, areas in which we have poor self-esteem. We then often try to make ourselves feel better at someone else's expense by judging them inferior in some way, "Look at how good I am in comparison." The macho "women are inferior" judgment has its roots in poor male self-esteem; vulnerability, humanness and caring are covered with a facade of strength. Current male bashing also has similar roots in poor female self-esteem.
I personally strive never to feel or think that another's behavior or action is ever wrong or bad. I can always find some reasoning process to validate and accept what at first glance may seem very wrong or bad. Usually I do this by reaffirming my beliefs that we are all perfect as described later in this chapter or by reaffirming my Earth School beliefs, which require all of us to learn in ways that we might not consciously desire. I can always find a possible reason why such situations or behaviors are as they should be, instead of judging them wrong or bad. By reaffirming my belief that whatever is in our lives is in our best interest, I am able to drop the shoulds. You too have the capability for dropping your shoulds by truly accepting the following happier ways of thinking: we are always perfect, we all are students here on Earth School and everything in our lives is in our own best interest. Where the word should is used, there is an unhappy judgment.
Make sure not to judge yourself as bad or wrong when you find yourself making a judgment. For you and your judgments are, of course, perfect for that moment. The key is to start along the change path towards the goal of dropping that judgment the next time that identical situation arises.
Some judgments as to what is right-wrong or good-bad for me are still sometimes necessary. They are useful (not tyrannical) with reference to selecting action. For example, I won't do that now because I learned in the past that felt wrong, or that possibility feels wrong for me so I won't proceed along those lines in the immediate future. Such judgments do not apply to others. Just because I found something did not work for me doesn't mean that it will not be exactly what you need to do (or, for that matter, what I may need to do in the future).
There are usually objections to this along the lines of, "If I dropped my judgments, then I wouldn't take appropriate action." Not at all. If you put your hand on a hot stove, you will take action in response to the pain. Later you can try to find out why you have done that four times in the past week and why someone or something keeps making burns "right" for you. You respond to pain and discomfort perfectly, of course, for you now.
(Thinking is) what a great many people think they are doing when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.William James, 1842-1910
© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze
|Excerpt from Be Your Own Therapist: "Searching for others' approval (i.e., performing for others) is insidious and incredibly widespread. Often our behavior is so automatic that we don't realize that if we followed our own real desires we would act very differently."|