Can you make it through one day without passing judgment on another? How about an hour….can you do it? My guess would be ‘no’. It seems to be a part of our processing mechanisms. We take in information and we rate it (softer word than judge). Think about it…someone says something and we ‘like’ it or we don’t. How often does that then translate into our feelings towards that person?
We have our opinions, our standards, what we believe and what we don’t. How often do we judge those who differ from us? Are we quick to point out how wrong they are?
I’m not sure that we will ever be able to ‘turn off’ our rating mechanisms. Our initial feelings or thoughts about what or who we face each day. What I do think that we can work on, however, is what we do with those judgments? How we react to them?
Here are a few questions to ponder:
- Do I allow a reaction to a comment effect my feelings toward the person who made it?
- Do I react or do I take the time to look deeper? Why did they say that? What is it about their lives or what they are going through at the moment that made them speak as they did.
- What is it about ‘me’ that made me react as I did?
- Am I sure that I am right?
Jesus asks us to ‘love one another’…. That kind of love has to include both compassion and understanding…and sometimes, a muted tongue!
Excellent timing, Andie:-) Last week, we (Craige and I) decided to begin the morning by seeing how long we could go without judging or being critical of someone or something. I logged the time we began. Even with a conscious effort/plan, it took less than ten minutes, as I made a negative and superficial comment about the appearance of the weatherman on the morning TV show. This has been an interesting process, though. By making a conscious effort to monitor ourselves, it has brought attention to our mindless criticism and negative judgements. We see how these small impulsive swats evolve into a pile of negativity — the opposite of the essence of God — Love. Will come back later after thinking about your mind-stirring questions. What a great way to start the day! Joyful blessings to you today:-)) So grateful that you are “here” when you are able.
great post, Andie, and fabulous comment, Jerry. Thank you, both. Much to reflect upon here!
All good questions Andie – and even if we think we are right – does that make it right? They are always the thoughts that I do struggle with – justification is a terrible thing 🙂
Mairie, I can certainly identify with you when it comes to justification of our thoughts and actions. For me, it seems impossible to not form some kind of opinion about everything. It seems that everything we come into contact with regardless if it’s verbal, visual, written, a smell, a sound — I tend to process it and unfortunately, categorize it or put it where I think it belongs. I don’t think we can halt that natural discretionary instinct, but I can work on why my judgements take the direction they do and mold those opinions in hopefully, a more Christ-like fashion. Obviously, in doing so, I am going to be a very busy person:-))
One last thought, for some reason the word “empathy” won’t leave my mind while my fingers peck out these words. We all know the feeling of being judged or misunderstood. I think by trying to remember to step in to the shoes of others as best we can — maybe over time, our instinct to “judge” will become more genteel. A warm thank you to all of you — Andie, Claire and Mairie for prompting me to think a little more about such a very crucial part of relationships.
Dear Andie, I know it’s been at least five days since I said was coming back to thrown my “twenty-five cents” worth in with regard to those very pertinent questions you left us with at the end of this post. You know me…it takes awhile for things to simmer in my heart before head tells my hands to take action:-)
Of course, in my less than brief (sleep is about the only thing I do briefly) reply to Mairie just a few minutes ago — I tried to express my feelings with regard to this infinite “judging” we human beings are quite adept at Looking at your questions, because I do think they are good ones and I want to process them.
Yes…I do find myself adjusting my “opinion” of a person by how they react to or make a comment. Thinking a bit further, as I’ve grown older, thankfully, I believe I process differently. For instance, if the comment/reaction is made by someone that I feel I know quite well, I seem to be able to integrate that “new” info and accept their feelings as who they are. I know that’s not exactly clear, but if I try to make it so, the water will become even murkier:-) If it’s someone that I don’t feel I know well, sometimes unfortunately it becomes part of who they become in my head and heart.
With regard to reaction/reflection time — again, as I’ve experienced more of life, I do spend significant time in reflection, especially if the comment/reaction seems to strike me with noticeable weight.
You also present the questions: do we ask ourselves “why” did they say that? Or do we wonder or try and become more aware of their life situation that might promote or provoke their comments or feelings. For me, this goes back to empathy that I wrote about a little earlier in reply to Mairie. Just a quick Holy Spirit-like-swirl of empathy can greatly help us understand why people say and do things they do. In terms of Myers-Briggs, I truly feel blessed being an INFJ. It seems that INFJ’s have easier access to empathy than others. Of course, we have our “issues” :-))
Why do I react the way I do when someone sends me into “judgmental orbit”? Most likely, my own experiences, my insecurities cause me to feel threatened and often it is difficult for us to be faced with the possibility that we are “off-base”.
Am I sure that I am right? Never when it comes to matters of the heart. Just the other day, I was telling someone how a friend was taken aback at how often I say “I don’t Know” or “what does that mean?” Until she mentioned it, I had never thought about it For me, it seems instinctual to do so, but she told me that she felt uncomfortable letting people know that she didn’t know everything. Isn’t that something?
One last bit of humor — I believe I should win an award for leaving the longest blog comments. Heck…no wonder I haven’t posted anything on my “blog” in over a year. I’m too busy commenting. I must be a “commenter” instead of a “blogger.” Thinking about taking some of my comments and turning them into my blog — how’s that for a bizarre idea? Peace to you all, Jer…