Are you unconsciously experiencing a continual energy drain due to a rogue thought life? Passing judgement of any kind is a transfer of energy that we only have so much of on any given day.
Last week I began to lay the foundation for what I believe governs much of our instinctual thought life – the judgement of ourselves, other people and situations. If you haven’t yet read it, hold on and read it here – it really is essential before continuing with this post.
With an understanding as to why we judge, we can now explore the ways we judge and what we can do to be free from the internal disquiet it brings.
If we are constantly judging our self (with much of it in ways we don’t realise), then we are perpetually not accepting our self.
If we don’t accept our self, then we cannot be at peace or experience feelings of content, calm, happiness or true joy.”
But I don’t judge…
At this point, you may be thinking to yourself “well I don’t really judge myself or other people… I don’t really think this is for me”. That was certainly my thoughts before I did an exercise last year writing down things I knew to have judged either in the past or at the time of doing the exercise. I remember thinking I wouldn’t have much to write down and almost didn’t bother, writing eighteen down straight off the bat genuinely surprised me.
Though some judgements are obvious thoughts we outright know and may own up to having, many exist purely as feelings that haven’t made it into our conscious awareness. How the hell are we supposed to know about those and can’t we just let them be?”
Becoming Aware Of The Things We’re Judging
Someone’s cut you up on the road, how do you feel? Annoyed or angry because they caused you to slam on the brakes and there might have been an accident, people could have been hurt? If this is true, the energy of the judgement will likely linger with you for a few hours; not necessarily the factual aspects of what could have happened, but the type of person you labeled them because of what they did and your sense of annoyance.
You walk into a store and there’s a sizeable queue. Impatient because you have to be somewhere, you internally (or maybe audibly) judge the queue, causing yourself more stress (plus you’re probably still riled about the car situation from earlier).
It’s raining and you have to walk back to your car, but you forgot your umbrella. Now the weather cops it for a judgement call.
Scrolling through your social media feed later that evening, you see someone’s latest achievement. You like that person, you do, you’re happy for them and continue scrolling, but for some reason, something about the post touched up against an energy inside you. You don’t know why – it just did.
You’re getting undressed for bed and as you take off one layer and put on another, you notice that body part you’ve been noticing since your teens. You’ve made your peace with it and are actually ok with it now…ish, sort-of.
Take your pick, on any given day, there are multiple opportunities to judge where life simply doesn’t look the way we (the ego that’s never happy) would prefer. This judgement scenario runs riot in our lives, often completely undetected and contributing continually to our dis-ease at the days’ events.
Imagine being able to let go of the energy attached to situations, so that once they’ve happened, the energy of them doesn’t linger. You observe your annoyance or internal correction of the situation, but then can let it pass.
What You Can Do To Judge Less
You’re not going to believe how simple this is and I hope it’s not an anti-climax because you were expecting something more profound, but it begins with simply being aware. On a thought level, start to notice all the ways you have something to say about the situations or circumstances you find yourself in. On a more subtle level, notice when your feathers are ruffled. This means there’s an internal movement of energy going on which is some sort of resistance to whatever’s happening.
If you wanted to create more of a moment at the front end of this life-changing process, taking pen to paper is a good idea.
Allow yourself to get really honest and write down any major situations you know you habitually judge, or one-off’s you know you’ve had in the past that you’ve been unable to let go of.
Committing judgements to paper helps objectify them as thoughts which, therefore, need no longer be part of you. Forgiving yourself in this way is essential for growth.
Case in point
My queue frustration I began working on whilst in the supermarket and post-office. Simply by bringing my attention to the present moment, noticing whenever I felt peeved it wasn’t going faster, and turning my attention instead to breathing. A road trip 8 hours down the country was made so much easier than it had been the previous year; I genuinely did not care about the traffic!
Once you declare open season on being willing to become aware, you’ll likely notice many coming up in your consciousness. By shining the light of awareness on your thoughts, you give them nowhere to hide. It’s the equivalent of using a torch to focus on something in the darkness.
Yes some judgements require more working through, but we take down the giants by being willing to address the small stuff.
It’s not easy.
It does feel uncomfortable.
But it is life-changing!
This concludes Principle One, next week I’ll be finishing off this little three-parter with Principles Two and Three of upgrading your thought health!