Explore these questions with me:
How can I be with judgment in a more neutral way?
Next time you notice yourself making a judgment take a moment to feel into what kind of charge it carries. Is there tension, repulsion, discomfort, anger, fear?
You might at first say:
Ugh! She has no boundaries! She is such an annoying a**hole. Her lack of boundaries is a huge problem for me. She really needs to get it together.
Why do I have to suffer because of her issues? Why can’t she be different? Why can’t she be a real grown up and state what she needs before a crisis arises? Why can’t she be more like me? I never would have done that! I don’t wanna be around it.
Restating it in a more neutral way, try:
I’m noticing she is not very good with establishing or maintaining boundaries. This causes me discomfort and I’m really angry. This seems to be a pattern. I am just going to notice it for now…
My first reaction is to want to get away from this. Is that the best thing? How can I be with the truth and take care of myself in this moment?
How can I use judgment as a way to improve my quality of life?
To continue with the example above, having the judgment that someone has trouble making healthy boundaries is not wrong. This assessment can improve our lives in many ways.
One way is that it can awaken us to our own participation in someone else’s pattern. Questions you can ask yourself are:
In what ways am I complicit in not establishing healthy boundaries?
What exactly is triggered in me when I experience this person in this way?
What are my needs in this scenario?
How can I be with the truth and take care of myself in this moment?
Another way is that you can help someone else be more conscious of their patterns. Admittedly, this is more difficult…
You might ask the other person: Do you notice that you tend to get overwhelmed when you don’t take care of yourself?
Or you might tell them: I notice you have a hard time saying no.
* Take note how these statements can be expressed without the negative charge that is present when we are being judgmental.
How can I judge and be accepting at the same time?
We can take responsibility for the fact that the feelings that someone else might trigger in us are our own. The other person is not responsible for our discomfort or anger.
This means that we don’t push our feelings away by blaming the other person. We accept our feelings and the judgment that arises. The judgment might be a truth that is asking to be acknowledged.
You might say: Wow, that really gets to me when she melts down. I don’t feel the space or the safety to get my needs met. I am angry about it.
I see and acknowledge that, at this moment, she is not capable of establishing the boundaries that would create the space and safety I need. How can I be with the truth and take care of myself in this moment? I feel like crying. I am angry and sad…
Judgment can be a gateway to the truth. What truth needs to be acknowledged or expressed? How can judgment be used in service of the greater good?
The practice of self care helps us be awake to our own feelings and reactions. When we reflect on our own judgments with compassion and kindness we have access to the truth and, ultimately, more happiness and freedom.