judgment

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I grew up in a family situation in which judging others--and often making fun of them--was pretty much the norm.  I don't see that as an awful part of who my family members were, for that's what they learned somewhere along the line about how to treat and deal with other human beings.  Their judgment was more a reflection of their own fears and insecurities than it was a statement about who the other people were.  It took me quite a long time to realize just how inappropriate and harmful this habit was, and it took me just as long to leave behind the habit of judging others myself.

When I judge someone, after all, I'm almost always looking at an incomplete picture of their actions and their motivations.  It's easy to get angry at the person who just took your parking space, but you know, there's a very good chance that he didn't see you, or that something terrible just happened in his life that keeps him from seeing things that he normally would have seen.

Our tendency to judge seems to be based partly on our need to be right--we see someone else do something that we don't believe is right, so we judge them to be wrong.  The problem with this tendency, of course, is that our version of right is based upon our personal systems of belief--and what's right for us isn't necessarily right for others.  We may be tempted to convince ourselves that there's such a thing as a universal right and wrong, and that we are the enlightened ones who know what that universal right is, but the fact is that right and wrong are almost always matters of perspective and of beliefs.

Our tendency to judge also seems to be based upon our need to lift ourselves above other people to make ourselves feel better.  After all, if you just did something wrong and I can judge you harshly for that, while I personally didn't do anything wrong, then I'm somehow better off than you, I'm somehow more compassionate or more deserving or more courteous or more honest than you.  And that, for some reason, should make me feel better.

But judgment really ends up being nothing more than a way to put more distance between us as people.  It's just a way for us to find more cause for separation, more reasons not to come closer to another person, not to accept another person fully, not to become better friends with someone.  Judgment helps us to maintain our illusion that separation is good for us, our illusion that there are many good reasons for avoiding closer contact and closer relationships.

Judgment keeps us looking at life from a "right and wrong" perspective, without feeling the need or desire to understand what other people may be going through.  When I was young and I heard judgmental statements, those words made me feel that there never was a chance of becoming friends with the person or persons being judged.  Those people were worse than us, after all, and there was no reason to feel closeness, compassion, or friendliness with those people.

I've found over the years that judgment on my part has hurt me greatly.  There have been many great people that I've never come to know well because I judged them too early on too little evidence.  There have been situations that I've shut myself out of, relationships that I avoided, people that I never met, simply because I had this need to find something wrong in others.  Perhaps it was a defensive measure on my part, but I'm more convinced that it was more a question of ignorance that kept me from seeing things more clearly.

I try hard not to judge now, and I find that I see many more brilliant things these days, and I meet many more very cool people because I don't allow myself to create the obstacle of my judgment between me and anyone else.  Life with little judgment in it has become very pleasant, and I see people much more clearly and much more compassionately when I know that no matter what they do, I'm going to try to understand it rather than judge it.  When I set myself up as judge, then I put a tremendous burden on myself and on others whom I expect to live up to my expectations.  Life is much richer when I rid myself of such a useless and difficult burden.

   

   
When you are interested in other perspectives, it doesn’t imply, even slightly,
that you’re advocating them.  I certainly wouldn’t choose a punk rock lifestyle
or suggest it to anyone else.  At the same time, however, it’s really not my place
to judge it, either.  One of the cardinal rules of joyful living is that judging
others takes a great deal of energy and, without exception,
pulls you away from where you want to be.

Richard Carlson
 

When you feel offended, you're practicing judgment. . . What you
may not realize is that when you judge another person, you do not
define them.  You define yourself as someone who needs to judge others.

Wayne Dyer

   

The thought of judgment, criticism and condemnation must,
in time, operate against the one who sets it into motion.

Ernest Holmes

   

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If you judge people, you have no time to love them.

Mother Teresa
 

Judge a tree by its fruit, not by its leaves.

Euripidea

 

People hasten to judge in order not to be judged themselves.

Albert Camus

 

To the judgmental eye, everything is closed in definitive frames.
When the judgmental eye looks out, it sees things
in terms of lines and squares.

John O'Donohue

  

Great Spirit, help me never to judge another until
I have walked in his moccasins for two weeks.

Sioux Indian Prayer

  

Whoever undertakes to set him or herself up as a judge of Truth
and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

Albert Einstein

   
Our judgments judge us, and nothing reveals us, exposes our weaknesses,
more ingeniously than the attitude of pronouncing upon our fellows.

Paul Valéry
   

It is well, when judging a friend, to remember that he or she is
judging you with the same godlike and superior impartiality.

Arnold Bennett

   

It is very unfair to judge any body’s conduct, without
an intimate knowledge of their situation.

Jane Austen

   

    

The life in us is diminished by judgment far more frequently than by disease.
Our own self-judgment or the judgment of other people can stifle our
life-force, its spontaneity and natural expression.  Unfortunately, judgment
is commonplace.  It is as rare to find someone who loves us as we are
as it is to find someone who loves themselves whole.
Judgment does not only take the form of criticism.  Approval is also a form
of judgment.  When we approve of people, we sit in judgment of them as
surely as when we criticize them.  Positive judgment hurts less acutely
than criticism, but it is judgment all the same and we are harmed by it
in far more subtle ways.  To seek approval is to have no resting place,
no sanctuary.  Like all judgment, approval encourages a constant
striving.  It makes us uncertain of who we are and of our true value.
This is as true of the approval we give ourselves as it is of the approval
we offer others.  Approval can't be trusted.  It can be withdrawn at any
time no matter what our track record has been.  It is as nourishing of
real growth as cotton candy.  Yet many of us spend our lives pursuing it.

Rachel Naomi Remen

  

Judging others will avail you nothing and injure you spiritually.  Only
if you can inspire others to judge themselves will anything worthwhile
have been accomplished.  When you approach others in judgment they
will be on the defensive.  When you are able to approach them in a
kindly, loving manner without judgment they will tend to
judge themselves and be transformed.

Peace Pilgrim

  

Judgment always rests in the past, for past experience is the basis
on which you judge.  Judgment becomes impossible without the
past, for without it you do not understand anything.

A Course in Miracles

   

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There is a higher Will operating most efficiently in this world, although most
of us are not privy to it.  When we make judgments that things are not happening
the way we think they should, this is the height of arrogance.  This is acting as
though our way is superior to the Higher Power's.  We're acting as though we
know better.  But do we actually know the cause and effect of everything
happening around us?  While we may share in creative power, until we have
merged our consciousness in the Creator, we are in absolutely no position to
judge when and how things happen.

Michael Goddart
   

When we plant a rose seed in the earth, we notice it is small, but we do
not criticize it as "rootless and stemless." We treat it as a seed, giving it
the water and nourishment required of a seed.  When it first shoots up
out of the earth, we don't condemn it as immature and underdeveloped,
nor do we criticize the buds for not being open when they appear. We
stand in wonder at the process taking place, and give the plant the care
it needs at each stage of its development. The rose is a rose from the
time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains
its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change:
Yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.
A flower is not better when it blooms than when it is merely a bud;
at each stage it is the same thing -- a flower in the process
of expressing its potential.

Timothy Gallwey

  

Judgment consists not in seeing through deceptions and evil intentions,
but in being able to awaken the decency dormant in every person.

Eric Hoffer

   

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I think of her every time I judge myself or someone else too harshly.  How
do we really know the worth of our work?  It's not our job to judge the worth
of what we offer the world, but to keep offering it regardless.  You might
never know the true worth of your efforts.  Or it could simply be too soon to tell.

Regina Brett
Be the Miracle
  

Withhold judgment and criticism.  The human way is to judge in haste the
actions of others, but the divine way is to remain quiet and loving.

White Eagle

  

Constantly I am having to fight and overcome my prejudices because I
realize that first impressions and judgments are often misleading.

Harvey Day

   
  
We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing,
while others judge us by what we have already done.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  

The less harshly we judge ourselves, the more accepting we become of others.

Harold Bloomfield

  

While people judge others from their own moral standpoint,
the wise person looks also at the point of view of another.

Hazrat Inaya Khan

  
People judge us by the success of our efforts.
God looks at the efforts themselves.

Charlotte Bronte
   

I've heard many people choose not to judge as if judgment is some form of evil.
It is important to remember the difference between judgment (gloating over
someone else's inadequacies or differences) and discrimination.  The
discriminating eater chooses specific, healthy foods for their well-being.
Eating a salad is not a judgment of gravity-challenged individuals.  It is a
self-sustaining choice.  If you do not wish to be around smokers and their
smoke--discriminating in such a way that keep you smoke-free isn't a judgment
about smokers--it is a demonstration of one's courage to choose for self.

Joe Vitale
Life's Missing Instruction Manual