I’ve been thinking a lot lately about judging. Not as in a contest judge, but rather having an opinion about someone or something. I’d say it has been on my mind every day for months now.
It seems like there is a tremendous amount of judging that occurs for us as humans. I don’t think this judging really serves us most of the time. When we worry about how others see us for example. Or we have a harsh opinion of someone’s appearance. Or we look down our noses at another person’s so-called ‘bad’ behaviour. And all the times we put ourselves down for mistakes we’ve made. If we were to ask ourselves if this is really how we’d like people to remember us after we are gone, I’m guessing most of us would say no.
When we judge others for what they say or do, we can’t actually know why they do or say the things they do. If you believe (as I do) that our souls live many lives and that we come here in each life to learn lessons, it becomes easy to see that we have no way of knowing what lessons that person is here to learn – or what their past lives have been like. What kind of emotional and spiritual baggage have they brought to this life? What else has been added to that this time around?
And their choices are really none of our business anyway. As individuals, we probably ought to be more concerned with improving our own lives. (Insert this German proverb: “Sweep in front of your own door.”)
I know I have ‘issues’ that logically in this life don’t seem to have any reason for existing – fear of being successful for instance. Ironically, I am also afraid of failing. If I don’t know where my own insecurities stem from, how could I ever presume to know what’s best for someone else? How would I possibly know what hurts they have yet to heal from- in this or a past life? (I mean, we could be talking hundreds of past lives.)
What I know for sure is that when I judge someone else, I am uncovering an unhealed part of myself. Noticing a judgement can be a great opportunity for learning and healing.
In the end, it really makes no difference what clothes we wear, how fat our thighs are, whether we are the best student, how much we’ve accomplished in our work, who we choose to have a relationship with, what colour our skin is, etc. What matters is how much we’ve loved and the ways in which we have tried to make life better for even one person.
Mother Teresa is quoted as saying, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
So, my hope is that regardless of the situation, instead of judging (others or myself), I will do my best to extend kindness, compassion and forgiveness. That’s the kind of legacy I’d like to leave.