To a certain extent we are all caught up in judgement all of the time. We have been conditioned since birth to view things as right or wrong. We have been told that ethical people have an innate sense of what is good or bad. We have been guided by a system of judgement our whole lives and breaking free of it is something that many of us are working to do.
This is not to judge judgement. This is not to say that judging is good or bad. Even viewing someone else as judgemental is a judgment. However, the constant judgement that finds other people wanting that the world seems to operate on is not helping us to evolve, live from love, connect.
We all have judgemental people in our lives. Whether these are colleagues, family, neighbours. We may feel we do our best to be kind and forgiving during our interactions with them and are still left unhappy afterwards. We may notice that we are more judgemental when we are around them. So, what responsibility for this lies with us and how can we deal with judgemental people in a way that doesn’t compromise our wellbeing?
The most unhelpful thing we can do for ourselves is judge back. Holding onto unhappiness by trying to internally defend ourselves against what is essentially someone else’s unhappiness is never going to be healthy for us.
Whether we have tried to be the bigger person by staying quiet, letting things go or being accommodating of someone else’s issues, reacting to people who live in judgement generally doesn’t connect us to our wellbeing. We are communicating in this case from the ego.
We must also resist the ego’s attempts to convince us we are better than, more evolved than or more spiritually aligned than those judging us. These people are walking their own path, learning their own lessons. Let us not judge back. Let us even try not to think of these people as judgemental, rather as people caught up in an unhappiness that is manifesting in an unhelpful way. They likely aren’t judgemental all of the time. Let’s not box them in.
We don’t need to fight the feelings that come up when we are around them but we can notice them and reflect on them and try not to engage with them. It is okay to have an emotional reaction to people but it is most helpful when we process it in a way that doesn’t take us away from a clear perspective and peaceful existence.
Here is where our responsibility for our experience comes in. If we can remain in a space of love and peace when we are around these people, we will have compassion for them. If we can’t do this but can at least remain neutral, we’ll be helping ourselves. If we can remember that we are whole, we won’t feel the need to defend ourselves. If we can remember that we don’t have to impress, we can refuse to engage with their judgement of others.
It’s a horrible experience to be living in judgement. The people that are trapped in this way of being deserve our sympathy.
When we make their experience about ourselves, we’ve given in to the ‘me me me’ of the ego and we too become judgemental.
There is one thing that judgemental people do well: suggest consensus. They will always have stories about who else backs them up on their judgements. We must strive not to internalise this. If the whole world were telling us about our imperfections, it still would not be true. We are all perfect within. We may not always know this and we may act otherwise – sometimes in detrimental ways – but help does not come in the form of abuse and judgement.
Life is one great lesson. We can use these people as our teachers but we can also allow ourselves to choose not to spend time with them. We do not have to face a daily reality of judgement. It is not necessarily helpful for us and at times, a lesson is successfully learned once we have enough distance from the situation to reflect upon it.
Mostly, we get to choose to be with people who resonate with us but when we don’t have that choice, we can choose not to get caught up in the opinions and judgements of those who don’t.
When we are feeling the need to constantly defend ourselves against being found to be less than, not good enough, wanting, we are also living in the feeling of judgement. Letting this go, taking a breath every time we react from our ego and questioning our angry, insecure or self-pitying thoughts will help us gain clarity and experience peace.
We are all perfect. We are all a product of our conditioning. We all have the ability and choice to free ourselves from it. Some people will work to, others will cling on for dear life. But individually we get to decide what experience we want to live in and having compassion for those who judge us allows us to free ourselves from the ego’s need to defend and judge back and we get to live in a more enjoyable feeling of love and peace than if we react and get involved with someone else’s unhappiness.
We deserve to be around people who lift us up. If we can’t lift another person, we don’t have to react by bringing ourselves down. We get to choose the feeling we live in. Let’s have compassion for the unhappiness of those living in judgement and choose something else for ourselves.