Don't Judge Someone Because They "Sin" Differently Than You
And today's topic is don't judge someone because they sin differently than you. This is a pretty big topic and Covid -19 seems to have really brought this to a head. So let me give you some context. This morning as I was teaching online, I complimented one of the students on how great her hair looked and then I asked, did you get your hair done? I thought that this was going to be, you know, just a "girl therapy" where we just kind of share compliments of one another. She started explaining how when she got her hair done, all of the precautions that were taken place in the salon, you know, for safety measures due to Covet -19. I actually, I felt badly because that was not where I was coming from at all. I watched as a person feeling the need to defend their choice.
That moment highlighted to me how sensitive I think many of us are becoming in regards to our choices in our lives. Now, I'm not naive. I know judgment and judging of people happens. It happened before Covid -19 and actually it is something that happens unconsciously. There's a statistic that was really sobering as I was preparing for this blog. Within the first seven seconds, someone has already made up their mind about us; about our intelligence, about our trustworthiness, about our socioeconomic status. And all of this happens unconsciously. We couldn't stop it if we tried. I found it sobering because if I'm having one of those days where I'm just dressed up like I'm going to home Depot or I'm having a bad day, or I stubbed my toe right before I met that person and maybe have this look of pain on my face, they've already unconsciously made some choices and judgments about me.
What is judging vs. judgment?
Judgment - Let's say we're going to go cross the street. We look left, we look right and then we make a decision on whether or not to continue walking across the street. That is a judgment because it's based on objective wise discernment and how to continue with a course of action.
Judging is very different. And I found this little poem on a blog.
Apple is red, sky is blue. This is an observation. I hope you noticed it too.
I like red apples. Red is best. This is a judgement. Put it to the test.
The first part is an observation where facts are being stated and no conclusion is being drawn of it based on our observations or based on our personality or based on our past. The next line is a judgment. Now if it's contained in that little vacuum where it's only for the use of the person that you know stated it, there is no encroachment on anyone else. But what about when "I say I like red apples and red apples are best" and then I proceed to convince others. If they "say no, no, no, no, no. I like green apples. Green is the best." If I feel a certain way about them because of their preference I've judged them.
Now I'm getting into this fear of being judgy or judging. Another question that came to mind was, is it okay to judge others? I SAY YES but with a cavoit. Here's the thing about judging. Judging others is simply us mirroring our doubts, our insecurities, our fears, and any other number of emotions onto other people: PROJECTING. So when we look at judging in that fashion, we begin to realize that the act of judging has nothing to do with the person or act being judged and it has everything to do with what's going on inside of ourselves.
Here's the ironic thing. As far as I know, the folks that I've talked to, do not want to be told how to live their life. Most do not want to be judged. I've heard it before, "who are other people to judge me? They're not paying our mortgage, they're not making our decisions, they're not in our shoes." So no one really likes to be judged and yet it's something that we're doing more often and it's really beginning to be obvious. I saw it a lot during presidential election. It's REALLY obvious when it comes to the choices about how we deal with Covid -19. We use fear of getting ill as the reason why it's OK to judge but unless we're hermetically sealed and have zero contact with the others we're judging the choices of others. We judge others based on if they go get their hair done, wear or don't wear a mask, have gatherings of more than 6 people at a time. The list is endless.
We Convince Ourselves We're Not Judging - When We Really Are
Watch out for the following phrases to convince yourself that you are not judging:
I'm not one to judge but...
No judgement - really I hate this one
I know it's none of my business but...
I don't care if that person does "X" but...
Hey, it's not my life or place but...
Watch as you tell a story about someone else. Watch how we set it up in such a way so that the other person draws your same conclusion. It's genius actually. YOU'RE not judging. You're just telling a story. Uh huh...
Did you see a pattern in most of these examples? They have the word "but" in them. My rule is I ignore everything someone says before "but" because what they really mean follows the word "but."
What can we do:
Set expectations: Just know of our inclination to judge
Get aware: Ask yourself am I observing or am I judging?
Course correct: If you found yourself judging, take a step back — State observation separate from the judgement. In other words, separate facts from fiction — Ask questions, explore possibilities especially when judging others
Reinforce: Watch the calming effects of observation and keep practicing it.
So, what are you observing right now?
All my love,
Yoga Alliance: 500-hr E-RYT