Saturday, 7 June 2014

Judgements - Are you both judge and jury?

"Judgments are tricky. They pop up automatically. Practice catching yourself judging someone and consciously shift your focus to a heart attitude. The head tends to judge but as you shift to the heart, you will learn to release the judgments and replace them with compassion." The How To Book of Teen Self Discovery, Doc Childre.

We all judge - its what humans do - we do it without thinking and then if we are more wise than clever (or is it simply older?) we put that instantaneous judgement through a more compassionate 'filter'.

I always remember the Stephen Covey story of the man on the underground.

Picture yourself on a quiet subway ride home. Everyone is quiet, there are several people sleeping while others are reading. Everybody as usual, is minding their own business and avoiding eye contact. At the next stop, a man gets on with some children. The children while OK initially, progressively become noisy, then very disruptive by throwing things and finally running up and down the aisle. Just kids behaving badly?

You now catch other passenger's eyes, and clearly 'see' that you would all like the man and these kids, to get back off again. You attempt to let it go - simply unruly children out of control. Then as it gets worse, the kids start bumping into people. You now attempt to catch the father's eye to indicate to him that things are getting too much - but his head is down - it's as though he just doesn't care - yet his kids are now dominating the whole carriage.

Finally as the stress and noise levels rise, you turn and say to the man ˜Excuse me, but your children are being noisy and disruptive, maybe you could do something to control them please." The man almost in a daze, as though he simply doesn't care, lifts his head up, slowly turns and states "Oh sorry. We have just come from the hospital, their mother just died and I guess they don't know how to handle it, neither do I."

Now, right away, you feel bad for the man and your whole paradigm (the way you see the world) shifts and you now want to help him not chide him.

How many times a day do you judge without knowing? How many times a day do you have that internal conversation about how you perceive other people - due to their actions, or size, or dress or car or hair or their overt religious beliefs? How many times do you talk with whoever you are with about what you 'see' or even worse, agree with their instant judgement of something or someone, to 'fit in' and not rock that judgmental boat? To be a peer popular?

How about today - 'seeing' it from a different perspective and seeking the back story as to why this person that you are judging - behaves or dresses or whatever, in the way that they do? Could you give up your own position of 'knowing' (or is it ego?) to move more into your heart and offer a different spirit to that mostly silent interaction?

What's your score out of 10 for judging today - and what could you make it tomorrow?

Your world is your choice.

A Moodscope member.


  1. Loved your post Les....and I'm sure we've all been guilty of this type of judgement before, then we get the rest of the story. Love that you are also a HeartMath fan - also good stuff!

  2. All very true Les and a good reminder. Thank you.

  3. Excellent, thought-provoking post Les!

  4. Thank you Les. A valuable reminder at the start of my day. namaste

  5. Hi Les. I knew it was you from the first sentence (I love how we all have our own styles). That book on Teen self discovery sounds great for my 12 year old daughter. In my line of business I am always trying to make people aware of these judgements and what they can do visually to ensure that these judgements are (favourably) correct; so that we present ourselves honestly and transparently (to a point) - a sort of "what you see is what you get" approach. We need of course to firstly be self aware and secondly self accepting in order to be able and confident to do this. Maybe the first person we need to stop judging is our self.

  6. Ah, and I meant to start by echoing Adam's comment above. An excellent and thought-provoking post. Thank you.

  7. Nice one Les. It's so much easier to be judgemental and make assumptions about someone you don't know but just notice doing something which instantly irritates you. A target for one's anger. I have developed strategies for turning my instant judgements of people around but it doesn't always work. (Hope you are feeling a bit better? I have lost yr email address)

  8. Awesome blog. So right. Don't be overly judgemental, if only for fear of being judged in turn.

  9. Being judgemental is bad for us as well as the people we are judging. If we assume they are being nasty / thoughtless / vindictive etc, we can feel very bad and picked on or attacked. If we can at least imagine that they have their own suffering, their own reasons for how they are, we can feel more compassionate - and their behaviour becomes more about them, rather than personally directed at us. ( This is not to excuse/allow deliberate or unchanging cruelty, of course, just every day less-than-perfect behaviour).

  10. Very enlightening and I am an oldie. Never too late to learn.

  11. Thanks for this piece and the Covey story. How much better a world where a family can walk into a crowded subway and say, "Folks, we need your love. My wife just died, the mother of my children, and we could use a few clean tissues."

    We also cringe fearing the judgment of others, at times. I have to remind myself that judging can go any way: the person may judge us up, down, and the more likely case, not notice at all!

    Or as the pro basketball player responded to some sports writer's comments: put your gear on and let's discuss this on the court.

  12. I tried to post a comment days ago but couldn't; message kept being erased. Grrrrr. Just wanted to say I loved your post. It is a topic very much after my own heart. We live in one helluva judgmental society and it's a daily challenge not to fall into this trap. Great stuff to ponder on, this.
    I too can always tell within a few lines that it is Les's post!