Grab Your Judgments By The Balls

12347646_10153340793300765_2793189339201837839_nThe other day, I was listening to a friend tell me about a tense situation she was having with another friend. She said, “Honestly, I think she’s pretty judgmental.”

I responded, “So are most of us.”

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about judgments, in particular my own. I am judgmental. If you sit back and truly examine your thoughts, you are judgmental too. It’s actually a natural reaction – our brain is attempting to classify and discern information to understand if something will hurt or help us (it runs the gamut of saving our lives by not eating the beautiful – but poisonous – berry, to the emotional/physical threat “that there has been some damage to me or to something or someone close to me; that the damage is not trivial but significant; that it was done by someone; that it was done willingly; that it would be right for the perpetrator of the damage to be punished”). It’s an evolutionary protection mechanism that we actually have to learn how to work against, and some believe a constant psychological adaptation that will continue to spontaneously occur without our ability to control it – we can only decide what to do with it after it arises.

A lot of us spend a LOT of time judging others without even realizing it. If we tune into our internal world, we are spending a LOT of time judging ourselves, too. It’s almost as if we are lifting the intensity of self punishment by projecting it onto others. It makes us feel somehow safer.

So I’ve been trying a new exercise. When I find myself judging someone for something they are doing (these judgments are often just in my own head, though sometimes I’ll share them with others), I start to think about what part of me does the exact thing that I’m judging. 99% of the time, I actually do just that thing – it may not look exactly like what the other person is doing that irritates me, but it somehow pretty clearly exists in myself. Then I remind myself that I can’t change what the other person is doing (even if I continue to be irritated about it); I only have control over how I handle myself. Then I try and put my energy into shifting my own shit, and let them handle (or not handle) theirs.

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