Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Judgments, Tiger Woods.... and Anthony Weiner... and Rep. David Wu.... and You!

Photo of the Month:
One Human Family, Key West, 2007
Quote of the Month:
Let it run like water off
a duck's back.....
- Kathryn D.


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

The original title of this post was Judgments, Tiger Woods and You!  Posted in March of 2010.. less than 18 months ago.  At that time, Tiger Woods was 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.  Reading these names today, we have probably forgotten the extent of the hoop-la and media circus surrounding these events because they have been replaced by Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer and Rep. David Wu.  

At that time, the collective "we" was judging Tiger's actions.  The media and just about everyone in the world was judging "the apology." Was it sincere? Was it enough? Did it strike the right tone? I find this to be a 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.

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.... for additional reading on this topic... try the post titled The Gift of Compassion!

I'll leave you with one more thought... as the photo above suggests and quoting Albert Einstein, "A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe.....  He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures.... "  We are all part of the same one human family.  A related topic for another day!    

As always I would love to hear your feedback as well as any questions you may have, or suggested topics for the future. You can do so by clicking the "comments" link at the end of the post. You can also contact me at Penelope@simplyspirituality.com

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