To Judge or Not To Judge, That is The Question.

20 Nov
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Judge away. Everyone judges, it’s an automatic process. A part of our brain called the amygdala works out trustworthiness in a flash, giving us a gut feeling which then mixes in with a jumble of thoughts and flashes of life experience, and just like that, the foundation for our unique, perceptual lens of reality, informs our decisions.

So if we think about our judgements as super-personalised opinions rather than facts or universal truths, a little discernment may be needed before they fully inform our decision making. It’s helpful to bring our unconscious into mindful conscious focus. We could invite the observer self in and be curious about what we say, how we say it and why we say it. For instance, if we’re in the habit of expressing overly strong opinions/judgements that leave little room for others to have or share their own experience, it could be time to learn to choose more neutral descriptions. Or we might need to express things in a way that puts more personal ownership onto our observations. It might require us to decide which judgements are worthy of acting on and which are better to trash or transform? Consider if sharing them is kind? Necessary? Or could we instead emotionally investigate why we feel that strongly about something? We could also breathe low and slow, and say nothing at all.

Judgements shouldn’t be used to prove others wrong. When they’re directed and delivered with a lack of acceptance towards other’s beliefs, ethnicity, gender, spirituality, sexuality, or appearance, they’re distasteful and best avoided. When judgements are thrown around at gossip bonding sessions or used as fuel by bullies to spread rumours or ostracise, they’re damaging. Judgements on social media that include hate speech, abuse, threats of violence and bad language, are thoughtless and disrespectful and are best deleted as quickly as possible to avoid the old fashioned game of Stacks on the Mill.

When we congratulate people on their good fortune and achievements, or praise them for work done well, that’s a positive judgement.

While not all of the private inside our head thoughts will be sunshine and rainbow filled, nor are all the people and situations we are likely to come up against in life.

There are so many things that can force us to interact or conform with people or situations outside our value system, like fear, naivety, social pressure, conditioning or politeness. A good strategy to implement is a buffer, which allows the necessary time to tap into our subconscious wealth of knowledge and lifetime of experience. It’s more than okay to look and learn, to walk on by or to just say no.

Or you might want to try:

I need to check my diary.

My policy is to be really sure of my schedule before I commit.

Let me get back to you on that.

The adage, always test the water before you dive in and be sure of what lies underneath, could be our guide.

Once we have time to think, a plan of what we might need to do or not do becomes clearer. We may even want to dip our toe in and find that a new experience is exciting or challenging or helpful.

Those of us who really know ourselves, know what our limits and boundaries are. We understand what kind of energy is good for us, we know what we are able to tolerate or not tolerate, we have clear reasons for what we choose to eat or not eat, do or not do, and we have a fair idea of most possible consequences. We’re also less susceptible to influence and prefer commonality. It might make our circle smaller and cause more people to have judgements and opinions about us, but as Brene Brown says “Compassionate people have boundaries made of steel.” It’s important that the decisions we make best fit our goals (and steel gates) and we don’t deny our needs or override our intuition just to make others comfortable.

So, let’s keep trusting and exploring our physiological reactions to emotional content, because judgements can hugely inform us of our triggers and threats and they can guide us towards or away from certain situations and/or people, kindly, for everyones good.

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