Awareness in Judgment

For the last few weeks I have been weighed down by how negatively our judgments can impact our lives and the lives of those around us. And as someone who for many years saw the whole world through very judgmental eyes, I can attest to the fact that judging someone, or even a situation too harshly can only cause pain, anger and a pretty obvious lack of contentment.

It is important here, to mark the difference between judgment, which is meant to cut someone or something down and the ability to discern. For some reason, these two can often be confused or mixed up and this confusion is cause for much turmoil or “excusable” judgment.

The way I see it, judgment is a negative label that we forcibly attach to someone or something in order to justify our anger, resentment or fear towards said person or experience. Discernment on the other hand, is the ability to distinguish and become clear as to which outcome will be more conducive to our development or which relationship or people will be more likely to help us grow and which people or relationships are more likely to lead us further away from the light and positive energy meant to help us heal and grow.

This important distinction has allowed me to practice less judgment and to slowly increase my intuitive powers of discernment so that I may continue to grow, develop and love more fully. I have been able to let go of immediate negative assessments of people and situations and have been slowly becoming more aware, present, loving, patient and kind towards life, those around me and my self.

That being said, I am still human and can often fall back into judgment. This is why it is important to practice awareness, groundedness, compassion and love every moment of every day. It would be so much easier for me to simply move through life judging people and situations as good, bad, ugly and everything in between. In fact, the ease with which one can negatively, forcibly and powerfully assign a judgment onto some one or something is scary. This is, as a matter of fact, exactly the same kind of “ease” that led me to constantly tear people apart (mentally or verbally) simply because I felt that I was either inadequate and less than or above and more than x,y or z.

 This easy judgment is what led me to constant comparison and harsh criticism that hurt me more than I may have realized at the time. So, sure, judging is very easy, but easy, does not mean better and it is certainly not more conducive to a healthy life.

One thing I have come to realize about judgment is that more often than not, what we judge most harshly in other people are things that we are struggling with within our selves. We are able to unconsciously identify a part of our own darkness that for some reason we have not made peace with or grown from in other people. And the lack of growth or the very rejection of this aspect of our beings can lead us to lash out at this inner darkness and force a harsh judgment onto others.

But this is not an easy thing to spot or even accept. So making it a point to practice self-awareness daily can make us suddenly present (aware) of what it is that we are truly fighting when we are judging those around us.

Am I really judging the manner in which that person acted? Or am I judging the reality that a part of me would have done the exact same thing? Am I truly offended that this person is wearing, acting, speaking, being this way? Or am I simply coming face to face with parts of myself that I keep hidden, tucked away and feel shamed by?

The truth is, that more often than not, a part of me that does not like how I have acted, thought or inhabited a point in time in my life will lash out against you when you do, say, act or “be” that very same thing and that is where the aggressive designation of attributes, thoughts, paradigms, etc. will happen. This is where judgment becomes corrosive and where it thrives most powerfully.

Becoming aware of this and making it a point to constantly practice self-awareness can heal and help us stop negative judgment in its tracks. It can also simply make us aware of the fact that we are being judgmental and that we will eventually have to deal with the inner work that accompanies this judgment. But even this miniscule awareness, that ability to observe, “I am being very judgmental about this moment or person right now” can be incredibly powerful and healing in of itself.

If I am able to realize that I am creating and assigning a negatively forceful designation onto someone or something (in other words, being judgmental) is just the first step to healing, releasing or simply nudging whatever little darkness has been keeping me stuck or preventing my growth for so long.

I do want to note that another reason we make such harsh judgments of the people and the world around us is that we each have a very particular way of perceiving life itself. And it is through this perception (a perception that is entirely unique and personal to each of us) that we measure, weigh and judge the world around us.

A person who has had tremendously negative or even dangerous and abusive encounters with people who drink, or who are drunks, for example, may in turn repel all situations or people that would resemble that hurtful, negative and subconsciously informative (it is informing the person that alcohol and drunks are and/or act a certain manner) scenario. {*please note this is an example and I am not making any generalizations, as again, we all experience the world in a different manner and have different way in which to cope, heal, live or move on from x,y or z}

So in these particular cases, judgment will mesh a bit with discernment and our very particular viewpoint and inform our paradigm and ideas of what a situation or person are like. – For example, as a kid growing up in Mexico City, I was always taught to be hyperaware of my surroundings and that people do not always have good intentions. I also learned at a very young age not to draw attention to myself so as to not get kidnapped, cat-called, harassed, attacked or robbed (again, this is my personal experience. Sapha learned this; it does not mean all my friends saw the world in the same manner or that all people from Mexico think this way or lived these things) I, therefore, have learned to remain aware, invisible and resentful of any and all attention. So, when I get cat-called (a topic which makes my blood boil and that I will not cover here today) I will immediately become hyperaware of the level of threat that surrounds me and the hatred that has been harbored for many years in response to this act of aggression. I will then judge the situation and person as negative, degrading, dangerous and deplorable. This judgment has been informed by my experiences and perception of life and awareness of it will not change it so much as just remind me where it comes form.

So here we have a few ways in which we make judgments of others and of situations in our lives. The thing about judgment is that it can be harmful and it can stop the growth and healing processes if we are not continuously practicing awareness.

And if we are truthful, judgment is not only easy, but also sweet and rewarding. Because, if I judge someone to be x,y or z, what I am really doing is pretending that I am so much more than them and I am uniquely perfect in ways in which they are not while in reality, everything I have just pointed a finger at in them has been in truth, a billion fingers I have been pointing directly at my own true self.

So take a few moments next time you find yourself making an aggressively forceful label of something or someone in your life to analyze what is truly happening inside your heart, body and soul.

Are you running away from a truth with in? Are you fooling yourself into thinking you are somehow superior or inferior? Are you letting your perspective shape your ideas about the moment and the people around you? Are you letting yourself heal and renew? Or are you pretending you have no clue what darkness you are pointing your many fingers at?

Take a moment, breathe, be open, vulnerable and honest and drop the harmful judgment so that you can heal yourself and share your light more purely with the world and the people around you every day. And remember; be gentle and patient with yourself. You may fall back into judgment sooner than you’d like, but as long as you are fully present and aware, the healing process will follow. It isn’t a perfect art you can master in a second, it is all a practice. “Practice and all is coming.”