Finding Freedom from the Need To Judge (Part 1)
If you observe your thoughts, you’ll soon notice that the mind compulsively gravitates toward negative judgments about ourselves and others. These reactive judgments will often arise out of nowhere and involve virtually anything.
Whether we are driving and someone cuts in front of us, a co-worker doesn’t perform to our expectation, or we lack time to spend with our children, our thoughts are inclined to form judgments about our own performance, situations that we find ourselves in, or people that we encounter. Even when we meet someone for the first time, we make instant conclusions about that person based on their looks, clothes, gender, race, wealth, job, nationality, fame, or even the jewelry they wear.
The judgments we make, however, convey more about us than them. The ego that seeks to feel special and superior makes a snap verdict about whether that individual will enhance our sense of self. That decision is based on what story—whether heroic, self-pitying, or guilt-ridden—the mind is currently obsessed with. So the judgment of that other person is not really based on facts, but instead on our interpretation of facts. And that opinion is rooted in an unconscious bias to whatever strengthens the ego.
So when you meet an attractive person and they seem interested in you, you feel good about yourself, and therefore you make a favorable judgment about them. But if that person gives you the cold shoulder, your sense of self is threatened, and therefore you will subconsciously try to find something in that person to criticize and complain about.
Another way we judge people is by placing them in a category and giving them a label. If our primary sense of identity is our occupation, often the first question we ask a person we meet for the first time is: “What do you do?”
Their profession is a way for us to subconsciously determine whether the person is inferior or superior to us. Or when we derive our worth and sense of self from our political affiliation, we try to determine whether the person is a conservative or liberal. If his political persuasions oppose ours, we instinctively we feel more enlightened than him, and hence our ego is enhanced.
To be continued tomorrow…
Adapted from David Youngren, Awakening To I Am Love: How Finding Your True Self Transforms Your Wellbeing, Relationships, and Whart You Do. (page 169)
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