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Judgment is automatic, what you do with it is your choice

posted by Joshua on March 16, 2017 in Awareness, Nature, Nonjudgment
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People are so quick and smug to say, “You shouldn’t judge so much” or that they don’t judge.

Next time you notice yourself judging, try to notice if you chose to create that feeling of judgment or if the feeling happened without conscious intent.

The involuntary part

I haven’t experienced how anyone’s mind works but my own, but as best I can tell, feelings of judgment happen automatically, without conscious intent on my part. In this sense, they’re like the feelings of pleasure when I eat delicious food.

I don’t choose to feel pleasure when I eat a fresh, ripe mango. When I bite into it, I experience feelings of reward that come from part of my mind I don’t control. Same if someone gives me a shoulder massage. No choice. Just mental response.

I don’t know how your mind works, but in mine, feelings of judgment seem to arise the same as those reactions. Different emotions, similar process.

The choice

How I act on those feelings, I seem to have more voluntary choice over. I’ve learned that imposing my values on others doesn’t improve relationships, so I don’t, as I wrote in my post, “Judging doesn’t annoy people. Imposing values on others does.

Why the difference matters

The reason I distinguish between feeling emotions of judgment and expressing or acting on them is that when people say you shouldn’t judge, I think a lot of people think you shouldn’t feel emotions or feelings of judgment.

Then when they feel them, they

  • Think they’re doing something wrong, bad, or that they shouldn’t
  • Feel guilt or shame
  • Suppress and deny parts of themselves
  • Deceive others about how they feel

They lower their self-awareness. I’ve never heard anyone who loved life say lowering self-awareness improved life.

What to do

So what do you do when you feel judgmental?

My solution is to observe the feelings the way you’d observe any part of nature. It’s there. It’s how the world works.

If I think communicating the judgment will help someone, I’ll try to think of an effective way to share it. If I can, I will. If not, or if I don’t think it will help, I don’t.

But I don’t tell myself I shouldn’t judge, nor do I hide that I felt the feelings.

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