“It’s not judgment if it’s true…”
His head snapped up as soon as I said it; and when he saw me shrug sheepishly, my almost-as-smart-mouthed-as-his-mom-14-year-old roared with laughter.
We had just finished watching one of our favorite talent shows, where we had collectively agreed to fast-forward [thank The Wind for recording capability!] through the comments of two of the experts offering feedback on performances.
As three intuitive empaths who are hypervigilant about the energy we put out and let in, it wasn’t unusual for us to make this agreement.
What was different this time was the intensity of our reaction and responses to one of the experts in particular.
“OMG, get the remote!”
“Uhhh…I can’t listen to this!”
“Skip, skip, skip!”
I know, I know – super judgy, right?
Or is it?
My comment to my son was like a moment of illumination for me. [You ever hear yourself make a comment and then think, Dang…that’s true!…? We are such funny creatures, aren’t we? There’s one part of us that knows the truth, and another part that marvels at it when it hits us square in the face.]
I watched him belly laugh for a while and then kissed his smiling face goodnight, deciding I would tackle the concept on my own first and the conversation with him the next day.
It’s not judgment if it’s true.
I started thinking about all of my conditioning around judgment and the limits of these lines of thought:
“Judge not, lest ye be judged.”
Uhhhh…yeah right. Either I have to figure out how to remove my human ego, or I just have to feel bad all of the time because I am judging and incurring judgment by doing so.
“Judge the behavior, not the person. If you’re judging them, you are not showing love for them.”
Yes, it’s necessary to separate a person’s Essence from their Behavior because, after all, we are spiritual beings who somehow forget that fact and experience some opposites before we remember who we really are.
But come on, let’s be honest, this takes a lot more than a simple intention. In order to do more than WILL ourselves to stop thinking those thoughts and feeling those feelings, we have to understand the person, which requires some time to understand them, their story, their reasons for behaving the way they do, etc., at which point we can BEGIN to develop some authentic compassion with practice.
“Be careful to not stay in judgment too long. What you focus on expands. You don’t want to focus on that so hard that you become what you are judging.”
Sure, we can get caught in the spin cycle and hang onto a story so long that it becomes all we can think about.
But this is a conversation of intention.
If my focus is on “bringing what’s been in the dark into the light” in myself, then the light will expand and the wound can be healed and the behavior shifted.
“You only judge others [get irritated, angry, triggered] when they are reflecting back a part of yourself that you are judging. So maybe you should focus on working on that part of yourself.”
This was a powerful AHA for me. Of course, I never wanted to think in these terms, but when I started asking myself, “Where am I behaving like this?” I started to uncover a lot of unconscious patterns and pain that could begin to unwind once it was in the light. Thank goodness for judgment! J
Well, I got really good at working on that stuff in myself and developing compassion for those I was initially judging…
But with this thinking, I never got really good at removing myself from toxic relationships and environments where people were [mostly unconsciously] misbehaving and showed no intention of stopping.
Ah yes…there it is…
It’s just another iteration of “it’s all true.”
The next morning, I was ready…
“Buddy, let’s talk about my snide remark last night.”
He nodded and I proceeded to share these insights with him, watching his expressions change as he wondered at how someone could have expected people to not be judgmental/human, and interfaced with the “what I judge in you is also in me” concept for the first time ever.
“So, we shouldn’t have been so harsh?” he wondered.
“Well, here’s the thing: I really believe that all of this is true. It is a worthy goal to become the type of evolved soul who sees others as divine beings first and foremost and doesn’t experience high levels of harsh judgment because you get that humans have some big stories and challenges that cause them to behave in ways that are not true to them. It’s also true that what you focus on expands, so you don’t want to get trapped in vicious cycles of judgment where that’s all you can think about…or you will find yourself dealing with more of it. And it’s true that it’s a good idea to pay attention to what is triggering us and look inward for the why and bring all of that to the light…”
“So, it’s all true…?”
“Yes, and so is, ‘It’s not judgment if it’s true…’ Let’s talk about WHY we all reacted so intensely to this expert personality…”
“Well, that person just seems so…” he searched for the word… “fake…like everything about them is an act…”
“Right, and so what can you do with that information?” I coaxed.
“Well, I guess I could look for the places where I feel like I am being a fake…?”
“Sure. That’s a worthy inquiry. And… what if you considered the possibility that you are right – that the person IS a fake? How might that information help you?”
“Well, if they are a fake, then I don’t know if what they are saying is true…it doesn’t feel like it.” I could see him working for this and I loved it.
“Right…and THAT is why it’s not judgment if it’s true
– it’s DISCERNMENT.
There is a part of you that knows the truth of what is
happening around you and in you all the time.
And it sends you signals to help your human
figure this out and navigate this world safely.
Your impulse that this person is a fake and fraud is
a signal to you to not trust them.
I had the same impulse with this person,
and I’ve had it before.
Let me tell you a story…”
He leaned back on the couch to listen…
“I was at an event with a dear friend of mine. We were standing in the back, listening to the speaker move from inspiring the audience to selling their product. The energy in the room shifted so abruptly that we both took notice but didn’t say anything.
“Later that afternoon, over lunch, my friend said, ‘I felt terrible in there. I just couldn’t stop judging them. I have such big issues with selling my services. What is wrong with me?’
“’What if that wasn’t judgment?’ I asked.
“’It felt like judgment…’ she said.
“’Sure, you have some work to do in that area, but what if it wasn’t JUST judgment? What if it was a signal that the speaker had shifted their energy from being a conscious Inspirer to a [conscious or unconscious] Predator? What if that was your Intuition telling you that the selling tactics they were using weren’t empowering? What if that was your soul telling you to get out of the room?’
“’I did feel like running – like it was unsafe – but I thought that was just my stuff…”
Aaron was nodding in understanding. “I get it. Listen to my gut. That’s what we were doing by fast-forwarding, and the judgment was all the extra stuff we put on top of it. It’s all true…”
He got up and high-fived me on his way out of the room, and I was left to wonder how my life might have been different if I had known this when I was 14, 21, or last year…for that matter!