What do you do with your judgemental thoughts?
To judge is to decide, and I have recently realized that I am very judgmental. I judge books by their covers (literally), I judge others, and above all, I judge myself.
In my journey of self-awareness and conscious living, I have discovered ‘mindfulness’ and have been attempting to utilize more mindful techniques in my daily life.
There are many guides to aid in the practice mindfulness, and the majority of them mention that the key to this ritual is to take in each moment for what it is without judgment. To simply allow our thoughts to come and go without indulging them. So, I’ve been attempting to do this daily. A couple of weeks ago I was trying this technique, and at that particular moment, I realized that I judge, a lot. I have since hit a huge road block in my journey. I was driving at the time, and I was sitting at a red light watching the cars coming and going and crossing in front of me. While I made an effort to be ‘mindful’ of what I was seeing on the outside, I started to notice every thought I was having on the inside in a whole new way.
“They are driving way too fast and have no regard for others on the road.”
“I can’t believe she’s texting while she’s driving, how careless of her.”
These thoughts went on and on as I paid attention to each one and the negativity they brought me and I immediately started to conjure up a series of questions:
How are these thoughts affecting me?
I have to disclose here that my judgmental thoughts remain thoughts because I consciously acknowledge that they are not necessarily true. But, regardless I felt as though my judgements were negative, and with each one I considered, my self-esteem went lower.
Passing judgement not only hurts others and our perception of others, but it hurts the self. And It so often happens subconsciously.
As humans, I truly believe that we are taught to judge and criticize because it is a way for us to compare ourselves to others and determine their value. In some ways, through judgement, we determine our own value and how we amount to others. It has the power to make us feel on the top of the world at times and make us feel so very small at other times. But it has sadly become a habit of human nature.
Is it fair to say that we rarely notice how judgmental we are until we have been directly affected by someone’s judgements towards us?
To some degree, this is true, because we have such a habit of looking at our judgement as a normal way of thinking than an actual, separate component of our thoughts. When we are finally the victim of judgement, only then, do we recognize its influence.
I felt more lost than ever at this point.
If you type in the words: ‘Conscious living and judgements’ in your search engines, you’ll be sure to discover countless articles assisting with removing judgement all together. This is what I found yesterday when doing my own search. In a way, I realize that this may seem like an ideal way of living, but I feel that our sense of examining people, things, and situations can be helpful to our safety and growth to a certain extent, especially when it comes to assessing our environment and surroundings. My judgements have saved my life at times and have also proven me terribly wrong. Completely ridding myself of judgement doesn’t seem logical.
So this brought me to my last question:
What do I do with my judgmental thoughts?
Turn them into OBSERVATIONS. To observe is to notice or to simply to see.
“He is impatient” becomes “He is speeding”.
“She is careless” becomes “She is texting while driving”.
And according to this compelling article, observation and mindfulness go hand in hand.
This may seem simple but it is a huge discovery for me!
As I finally end this post I am filled with such gratitude. For so long, I felt seriously stuck. In my mindfulness practice, in my journey, and in the fruition of this piece because I knew that my habit of passing judgement is something I am very insecure about, that it was important for me to take my time with this topic and more importantly, learn something so that I can help others 🙂
Instead of ending this with questions, I’ll end with a ‘Call To Action’. If you find yourself passing judgement regularly and you’d like to evolve, I encourage you to try to simply observe. It’s easier said than done at times I know. But as human beings, we are capable of purposefully becoming aware of habits that hurt us and we have a choice in what we chose to change and enhance within ourselves.
That is powerful ❤