Monday, March 8, 2010

Judgments, Tiger Woods.... and you!


Let it run like water off
a duck's back.....
- Kathryn D.

My grandmother may not be the first person to say this line, but she is the one who taught it to me. It fits with this month's theme of judgment.

Tiger Woods is the latest in a long line of public figures such as John Edwards, David Letterman and Bill Clinton to fall from Grace because of their actions. A few months ago, we were judging Tiger's actions, now we, the media and just about everyone in the world is judging "the apology." Was it sincere? Was it enough? Did it strike the right tone? I find this to be a total waste of time... I'll share with you why I feel that way.

In each "judgment" there are two sides. There is the person being judged and the one doing the judging. In this post, I want to suggest that while neither may be a good place to be, the far more detrimental position is to be in the position of judging. Let me be clear here, that the harm I am referring to is the harm it causes to the one doing the judging, not the one being judged.

When someone judges you, it says SOMETHING about them and it says NOTHING about you. I know that this is something people say... but it really is true.

To illustrate this point, let's view this from the position of the person being judged. Think for a minute of a situation where you felt judged. We have all been there, probably repeatedly. Maybe your situation was not as public as Tiger Woods. Maybe you were judged for the clothes you wore to a particular event, the way you handled a situation, not doing "enough" for the PTA or a church event, or the words you used when speaking to someone. These are common, every day judgments that many of us make and many of us are the recipient of. Can you think of a time when you felt judged?

Now the next thing I want you to imagine, seems at first nearly unthinkable..... but there is great freedom if one can do it.

What if you just decided that it was OK for people to judge you and so said to the world, "Go ahead.... judge away!" For example.... I will allow people to judge me for wearing the wrong shoes to an event (as I do this regularly!) : )

Try to stop for a minute and imagine this situation....... What happens?

Has anything REALLY happened to you? Have you been diminished in any way? What is a judgment? It is a thought in someone else's head..... how can a thought in someone else's head REALLY effect you? Even if they verbalize the thought to another person.... and it becomes a thought in a second person's head...... what has happened to you?

NOTHING!!!!!

Think about it for a minute............ it is very freeing.

So now.... in my example Sue told Carol that my shoes were inappropriate for the situation. How does that effect me? What happens to me?

NOTHING!!!!!

I can hear some of you saying, "But it feels bad when someone judges you!" I want to suggest that the only way it can feel bad is if you jump on the bandwagon and agree with them. You then become the judger of yourself..... but be clear it is doing the actual judging that feels bad and not because you have been judged.

Follow? If you do not agree with them, you simply go on with your day!

It is the energy of judging that feels bad itself. We have not been taught this. Most of us feel like we need to accept someone else opinion. It is not really even conscious. We just do it.... if they think that about me, it must be true. This is not the case. We do not have to accept anyone else's opinion of ourselves.

Try telling the flower that you do not like its shade of yellow. Does the flower care? If someone says that they like the color blue and don't like the color red, all we know is their opinion. It does not carry any further meaning like "blue is good" or "red is bad." Do you think that "red" really cares what they think? We can be just like "red" in this example and let it "roll, like water off a duck's back," as my grandmother said.

See if you can follow this a step further.... when someone judges, THEY are the ones who have to live in the energy of judgement. This is where it says something about them and NOTHING about you. This is where the "damage" is done. This is where the negative feelings come from. This could be a whole other post, but think about a time when you judged someone else. How did you REALLY feel afterwards? Did it really make you feel good? Maybe for a moment as you felt "better" than them for a second or two, but that is trading a fleeting good feeling for a long term negative feeling.

If you want to try to take it one spiritual step further..... if one wants to feel something about having been judged, one can feel sympathy for the person doing the judging as they are trapped in that negative energy, not you. This may be a bit challenging if this concept is new to you. If this is the case, do not concern yourself with this step just yet.

I feel the need to clarify here that I am in no way giving anyone permission for bad, or even unkind behavior with this post. Additionally, unless someone has a mental or emotional illness (and we are not addressing that in this post) one KNOWS when they have done something "wrong." One does not need to be told by others that it was wrong I would suggest that when someone does exhibit "bad" behavior, it is a statement about how they are feeling about themselves.... but that is another post for another day!

Until then, as always I would love to hear your feedback as well as any questions you may have, or suggested topics for the future. Also feel free to share your thoughts about this post in the comments section. You can do so by clicking the "comments" link at the end of the post. You can also contact me at Penelope@simplyspirituality.com

You can read last month's post on Intuition and Your own Guru by clicking here.

Until next month,
Here's hoping you keep it simple,
Penelope

9 comments:

Michael said...

Peni, I can totally understand the comment about feeling bad for those who judge. A particular segment of my extended family goes to church every Sunday and then sits in judgment of anyone who doesn't live up to their "standards". They spend a great deal of time judging others, and their judgments even cost them some precious time with their own daughter when she made a choice they didn't approve of. They are the ones who suffer, not the ones that they judge.

Anonymous said...

"The energy of judging" oh yes, you hit the nail on the head, Penelope, ..the negative, life sucking energy of judging others depletes our own 'good energie.' Thank you for clarifying this. It is exactly what I needed to hear on the subject. Cathy

Penelope said...

Michael and Cathy -

You really got what I was trying to say in this post... that not only can we disregard the judgments others make against us, but the additional suggestion was then to look at the way the judgments we make against others can also effect us. Thank you for your comments! I appreciate it.

Penelope said...

I knew this would be a somewhat controversial post as I received some direct e-mails indicating differing levels of disagreement on different points. I welcome this as it challenges me to contemplate more deeply the point(s) I am trying to make.... and be sure that I am sharing truth at least as I see it. I want to share them here in the comments as I am sure there are others who may be thinking the same things.

The disagreements broadly fell into two categories. The first is that they cannot seem to be able to allow the judgments of others to roll off their backs, which I will address here and the second in the comment below.

I would agree that this is challenging, especially at first. As ALWAYS, I suggest to start with things that are Simple for you, like the example I used in the post about shoes. That is Simple for me, but may not be Simple for someone else.

The next suggestion is to try this with multiple topics.

I would then suggest practicing! This is like developing spiritual "muscle." Like any new behavior it must be learned... just like when we learned to ride a bike or drive a car, we did not go out and do it perfectly the first time.

The reason that it FEELS like you cannot allow it to roll off, is that a feeling, while actively being felt in the body, is difficult to overcome. I assure you that PRIOR to the feeling you had a thought. This happens SO quickly that we do not realize it. That thought, most likely, in some way agreed with the initial judgment and subsequently creates a negative feeling in the body. Attempt to slow this process down and become more aware of your thoughts. Over time, it can become easier.

This broadly falls into the category of making changes. I have been attempting to write a post on making changes for the last several months.... so watch for that also in April or May..... or June..... : )

Penelope said...

The second category of comments is that some judgments cannot be overlooked due to the damage they cause others.

When groups of people join together because they share a judgment about another person or group of people, there can be a synergistic energy of a group. In this case, I would agree that there is the potential for harm to be done to the person being judged. I should have been more specific in this post that I am primarily discussing emotional, mental or spiritual harm.

I would still stand behind my initial comment that EVEN with a larger group of people - at the point of belief or judgment - the judgment cannot have any power of you that you do not give it. It does not "feel bad" until you agree with them on some level or allow the group opinion(s) of you to carry more weight than your own.

That being said, I want to clarify that if that group of people is moved to some sort of action on their judgments, be it violence against another group of people, financially hindering someone by not giving them employment or discrimination in any form, I would have to agree that the action not be overlooked.

I would like to further suggest that even in situations where people have been faced with violence and discrimination, it is those people like Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Ellen DeGeneres, Rosa Parks and Gloria Steinem, who have made or promoted change, by chosing to disregard the judgments of others in the pursuit of what they felt was just.

Thank you again to everyone for participating in these discussions!

Anonymous said...

I am able to catch myself making judgments/thoughts in my head and realize this is the little voice - "the thinker" and not my true "soul" I want to express. Some days are more than others for some reason. Practice, practice!

Penelope said...

The realization or awareness is one of the first step towards doing things differently! So good for you for having that awareness!

It does not surprise me at all that some days "are more than others" as you say. I am not sure if you mean that some days you are more aware of it than on other days or some days "the thinker" is more active. Either way, it is really the same and we ALL have days when we are less aware or the mind/thinker is more active.

Lots of things play into that... like how we are feeling, feeling both emotionally and physically, how much sleep we had, if our boss/spouse/check out clerk was nice or mean to us and even what we had to eat!

Thanks so much for sharing your comment!
Penelope

Anonymous said...

P. I came across a book with the title, "what you think of me is none of my business." The title is blunt but I think makes the same point. I haven't read it but it seems to suggest the same sentiment. Now to just get to that state in totality... I'm looking forward to hearing your further roadmap in that pursuit.

Penelope said...

Thank you for your comment! I've not read that book, but from the title and a quick glance on Amazon's web site, it does seem to be saying the same type of thing. What someone thinks of us is what is going on inside their head.... and is a result of their background and experiences. In reality, it has very little to do with us. Thank you for making that connection!
Penelope