We tend to think we live in a world that is black and white. If someone has an opinion we don’t agree with, it’s wrong. If something happens that hurts or disappoints us, it’s bad. Those we like are usually right and when an event occurs that makes us happy or helps us achieve more success, it’s good.
Many of you would probably respond to what I’ve just said with one word: duh! Of course we think that if something hurts us it’s bad. Why wouldn’t I see a happy event as good? You think I’m crazy, right?
I’m not talking about judging as in Can you believe what’s she’s wearing?? though of course that’s not a good thing to do either. I’m talking about judging anything.
We tend to look at everything that happens in the world in a highly personal way. We not only process the event or the action or the words, but we also attach meaning to them. That meaning inevitably involves how the event, action, or words affected us directly. How did it make us feel? Did it violate any of our values? Did it threaten the way we look at something? After we’ve gone through these questions, usually subconsciously, then we deem it to be good or bad, right or wrong.
And in the process of doing so, we lose our true awareness. We cannot see anything as it really is when we judge it. When we judge something, we alter it. We turn it into something that has happened to us and we attach meaning to it that is usually highly connected to something inside us. When you put it like that, it’s easy to see how you quickly lose objectivity when you judge.
So how do we do it? How do we quit judging everyone and everything around us and just start accepting and being aware? One of my favorite pieces of advice comes from Ryan Holiday’s book The Obstacle is the Way that I blogged about a few months back. It states to look at everything as a detached observer. That means, stop thinking about everything in terms of how it affects you.
If you’re a reader, consider looking at events as if you were experiencing them in the pages of your favorite novel. When you read or watch a movie, you can still process what’s going on, but rarely do you get really upset about the events because they aren’t in your life. You can still have empathy for the characters, but it’s that step back from the personalization that frees you.
Lack of judging is not the same as detaching from your life and becoming disinterested in what’s going on around you. In fact, when you stop judging, you are often able to participate and empathize more.
It’s only when we stop judging that we see and appreciate the world for what it really is. I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, but I urge you to try putting aside judgment just a little at a time, day by day. I guarantee you it will change your life. That decrease in judging will also help you implement the next principle we’ll discuss: Life is a perfect adventure; a game that cannot be won or lost, only played.
Trish Cody has over 18 years of experience consulting with some of the world’s top Fortune 500 Companies. Today, as an ICF and iPEC Certified Coach and Energy Leadership Master Practitioner, Trish works with clients to uncover their core values and beliefs, clearly see how they are showing up in their behaviors and impacting their success, and to shift their thinking to naturally attract positivity and success. For more information, visit www.TrishCody.com.