We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path. ~ Paulo Coelho
Most of us know the feeling of experiencing something so fantastic that we want to share it with everyone so they can experience it, too.
Just think of The hCG Protocol, for example.
You have lost tremendous amounts of weight, very quickly, very safely and now you are trying to grab anyone who will listen to tell them that The hCG Protocol is the best and ONLY WAY to achieve weight loss.
I have seen that happen time and time again with people who I have shared the miracle of The hCG Protocol with in my “offline life.” They start losing so fast, and it seems so miraculous that they want everyone they know to jump on the train. Then suddenly, out of nowhere – BAM! — they are blindsided by criticism and judgment.
Ouch. Judgment is a harsh word.
But, let’s pause and unpack it a minute. If we’re honest, most of us must admit that we judge. Every day. We judge everything. We judge people, places, movies, politics, books, diets, restaurants … everything. It’s how we determine what we like, what is safe, who is good, where to turn, and how we feel. Judging is our way of choosing the path that best fits our needs at the moment.
The problem with judging is that most of the time, we judge something, determine we are right, then we don’t allow others the same privilege. We tell them that they are wrong, and that judging is wrong. Oops, that is judging too.
Judging is part of the human condition. It’s the way our brains are wired. And it’s a good thing, too. Imagine yourself walking in an unknown city and you are lost. It’s beginning to get dark out. You come upon an alley. You see one man walking in your direction. You are alone. You stop and JUDGE the situation. Most of us would choose to avoid the alley, just in case. Our judgment in that situation quite possibly helped us avoid danger.
Judging is not BAD.
But, when we allow ourselves to become JUDGMENTAL, that’s when we cross over to the dark side.
When we become judgmental, we close ourselves off to the thoughts and opinions of others. We become self-righteous, believing our way of thinking or doing is the only way.
Judgmental thinking spawns adversarial thinking. It is hurtful and alienating. Anyone who has been on the target of judgmental thinking knows how it wounds.
I believe we can become less judgmental by following some lines of thought:
If you see someone on a path that “you” think is unwise, try to mentally put yourself in his or her situation before you slip into judgmental thinking. Remembering that each of us have unique life situations, up-bringings, and cultural and societal influences. There is no “one-size-fits-all” way to live.
First, seek to understand then to be understood
Author Stephen Covey, in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” pointed out that most of us rush to be understood by others before we pause to understand their points of view. This way of communicating leads to nowhere. The next time you are faced with a situation where you find yourself falling prey to judgmental thoughts, pause long enough to listen and hear the other person before you decide they are wrong.
Do you want to be right, or be happy?
When we are stuck in the vortex of judgmental thinking, it’s easy to get sucked into the desire to be right, at all cost. Ask yourself, would you rather be right or be happy? I, for one, will choose happy every time. For me, life isn’t about being right. It’s about relationships, finding common ground, community and joy. I want my life to focus on making a positive contribution. Being labeled right or wrong, for me, is irrelevant.
Let’s go back to my opening example of The hCG Protocol …
When you are successful on the Protocol, you know in your heart that hCG is the best thing for fast, effective weight loss. You are certain that hCG is a safe, medically sound way to lose weight. You are convinced because all your labs came back, and you have avoided heart disease and diabetes. You are sure that once the whole world knows about this, they will join you in your success.
In your zeal to share your discovery with the world, you can accidentally slip into judgmental thinking: “The hCG program works. Other diet plans pale in comparison!”
But, once your enthusiasm wears off, you can see that in reality, there are many paths to one destination. The goal is weight loss and healthy living; hCG is not the only way to get there.
There are many different factors that determine how each of us see and respond to the world. Your standards and your perspectives are YOURS alone. You’ve figured out what’s best for your life. It is your duty to allow each person to figure out his or her own journey, too. We can love them through the process without passing judgment on their choices.
There is one destination. Getting there will be different for each one of us.