I don’t like those shoes.
I can’t believe she said that.
It makes no sense when he puts the bowls in the top of the dishwasher.
That color does not work for her.
Why would they pay money for that?
Did you hear what he said to his daughter? Tsk. Tsk. Tsk, say the voices of judgment.
And it seems these days we’ve all got the tone down pat. We are quick to scrutinize and form opinions about other people and things.
Judgment Hurts Us
Of course, this habit has also helped us survive. If we deem someone a bit sketchy, or too drunk to drive, or unsafe we are more likely to stay away and stay out of danger. We generally don’t do the things that we judge as harmful to ourselves and others.
But too often quick judgments are flat out wrong loaded more with snark than survival skills. And when we do this thing, cast out our views on others, we are putting up a major block to our own success.
Judgment can hinder our creativity. When we figure that things are bad or wrong or unsolvable or too hard, we are less likely to try. If we judge things as having only a single solution, we shut down innovation.
It also limits our relationships. We are less likely to connect with others we deem as too snobbish or mean or boring, and we miss out on important friendships, or connections that can help us succeed in life and on the job. When we judge our nearest and dearest we are prone to criticism and contempt –that doesn’t work so well in a marriage.
And when we hold tight to a single view about vaccinating our kids, gay marriage, a woman’s right to choose her medical care – when we hold to a single view about anything – and judge others for not sharing it, we veer toward criticism, hostility, anger, even war.
Judgment restricts us. It keeps us where we are. Sometimes it keeps us angry.
Acceptance is Easier
Acceptance leaves a better taste.
You don’t have to change your mind, or give up your position to accept those of others. It’s just that instead of blaming, fighting, criticizing you can let it be. You don’t have to have an opinion on my business. I don’t need to weigh in on yours.
You can advocate for your position, but you don’t have to disparage others for not holding it. You can work your angle, without needing to challenge mine.
When you do this, live from this place of acceptance, it lets a little light in. It allows room for the amazing. It opens up the impossible and allows you to see a black and blue dress when others see it as gold and white.
Acceptance allows for understanding and compassion and curiosity and growth.
Next time you are cut off on the freeway, or someone holds a position you don’t understand, next time someone scrutinizes you with their eyes and you feel judged by another, take a deep breath, tune in to your environment and notice things just as they are – without opinion or judgment or criticism. The guy judging you, you don’t need to judge him. He’s not your business. You can simply get quiet, notice the world around you and see what happens.
Chances are the subtle shift will elevate the moment into something that serves you far better.