For a living I make judgments based on the data, yet I am writing about becoming judgement free? Pretty sure that defines oxymoron? The Dalai Lama would say love is the absence of judgement. Webster's Dictionary would say the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion. This sounds all well and good, but is that really how judgement works today?
It feels like judgement is all around, a constant spiral of white noise in our lives. What is the difference between judgement and opinion? I picture the two a little something like this, an opinion is crabgrass in your yard, it's there, you may see it, but it won't hurt you. You can go about your life and normal lawn-care (self-care) routine. This lawn-care routine has always worked for you. Now there is judgement - judgement comes with an edge, it is the thistle weed that pops up in your yard, unlike the crabgrass, the thistle weed stings a little, it hurts and it takes a bit more than our normal lawn-care routine to keep pushing through.
If only our lawn-care routine was equipped for the unpleasant judgement in life. I wish it were that easy, simple regime that would make us immune to harsh judgement, in life, at the office, on the phone with your mother-in-law, at church, wherever - I wish you could just walk through the crabgrass on go about your life, but we can't, thistle weeds pop up and poke at you, cut you and stick with you.
Why do we judge? For starters, it is in our genes, we are wired to do so. Our brains want to simplify and categorize information. I believe we do judge for many reasons and I think the number one reason is something deeply rooted inside - aside from our genetic wiring. I believe if someone or something threatens our perception of a person or a situation, we are quick pose judgement. Sure, the brain like the simplicity and the compartment, but fear is really driving the bus now. If we cannot or do not identify with the person, the belief, the value, the behavior, the clothing, the culture, the city, the food, the wine, the work, the book cover, we judge. No-one is free of or immune to judgement. Unfortunately there is not a vaccination or a lawn-care regime.
The "Christian" community is an example of judgement gone wrong. Let's say they judgement is based on Bible, much like my judgement at work is based on the data. What's the difference? Umm a whole lot... The scriptures can be interpreted a million different ways, three people could read the same verse and have three different interpretations, while 2 is 2 and I can show you how 1+1=2. Hence, why I think we need to be so careful with ourselves and consider the source when allowing the judgement to penetrate and impact us. The best response to this community, do not judge others because they sin differently than you. Again, no immunity.
What we do with judgement speaks more about us than it does the person placing the judgement. I think our fears and insecurities come to light when judgement is placed on something. If we just step over the thistle weed with care, we will be a-okay. It is when you get stuck in the weeds or cannot escape the weeds, that the hurt begins and the damage occurs.
After setting my intentional word for 2019 as honest, I've been doing a lot of thinking. I worry at times, my "honest" can come across as bitchy or judgmental. And maybe my honest is truly just a mask for judgement. In addition to honest, I am setting 2019 as a judgement free zone. I am guilty of the quick-draw, the immediate judgement. Sure, it could be my brain trying to compartmentalize or it could be me feeling threatened by someone or something. Insecurity is a beast, something I am sure I will write about soon. But, for now, I am going to keep pushing through by working on not judging a book by the cover, offering grace whenever and wherever I can, and focusing on removing the thistle weeds from my lawn this year. What about you? Maybe you could use a new lawn care regime as well.