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Non judgment

Photo by on This is a picture of a cell phone with an anger emoji on the phone

I was out to dinner with colleagues and one now works in the school system. She went on about parents that were not showing up to their children’s IEP (individual education plan) meetings. I almost lost my marbles. There was a smart comment about the parent “just being a house cleaner” and “can’t she talk while she is mopping”. I was so upset that I recorded my rant so that I could write it here.

Maybe my upbringing in a disability household just has a different perspective on things. I definitely understand how chaotic it can be. Let’s not forget COVID. Many people have lost their jobs. Picked up side jobs to make ends meet. If given the choice, get fired or attend an IEP meeting, parents are going to pick food on the table way before picking up that phone or having the luxury of attending the meeting in person.

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noun: judgement

  1. 1.the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.”an error of judgment”
  2. a misfortune or calamity viewed as a divine punishment.”the crash had been a judgment on the parents for wickedness”

Source: Oxford

Why are we so quick to pass judgement?

Why are judgments harmful?– source:

“Judgments are generally harmful for three reasons. First, they reflect the state of mind of the person forming it. Psychological studies have revealed that more than two thirds of the time, the average person is in a negative mental or emotional state. Feelings of depression, grief, anger, fear, impatience, and pride rule the average person. Until or unless one has learned to master these states, judgment is usually an expression of one’s own state. That is, we project onto others, what we ourselves are experiencing. We assume that they are experiencing what we are experiencing because our perceptions are colored by our own internal state. They harm the other by projecting onto them a negative, if not erroneous reaction.

Secondly, judgments are harmful because they assume a static condition. When we express a judgment about another person, there is an implicit assumption that the person judged is unlikely to change. While human nature is generally habitual, it is often erratic. People have bad days, tragedies, emotional outbursts. Such behavior is atypical, and does not reflect the person’s underlying character. So forming a judgment about a person who is having a difficult day or acting outside their usual character, is erroneous. Also, young people do grow up overcoming immature behavior. The strong-willed overcome bad behavioral tendencies and reform themselves. Therefore judgments do not allow for growth, for change in a positive direction, and are therefore harmful. Judgment typically confuses the person with their behavior. One needs wisdom to perceive the difference. With wisdom, one realizes that we are not our body, mind and personality; rather, they are like clothing, which we can change, or keep out of habit. With wisdom, one realizes that one’s true identity is pure consciousness, the soul, the Seer or Witness, and that it has the power to change habitual behavior by exercising its will.

Third, and most important, judgments are harmful because they reinforce the quality condemned, not only in the person being judged, but also, and most significantly in the one who is judging. When we form a judgment about another, for example, thinking, “that person is so greedy,” we are actually dwelling upon the quality of greed, and are therefore strengthening it within ourselves. Like worry, which can be defined as “meditating upon what you don’t want,” judgment of others is meditating upon what you do not like in yourself.”

In the Yoga Sutra’s of Panjali, Book 1, sutra 33 states “By cultivating attitudes of friendship towards the happy, compassion towards the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and equanimity towards the non-virtuous, the consciousness returns to its undisturbed calmness.”

It took me a hot minute to calm down after this. So why did this disturb my mind so much? Why did I react in the way that I did? It took me a few months to write this post. I know I am a bit quick to react these days. Lovely combination of changing hormones and grief. Clearly, this is still an area I have to work on. I have one button- when people talk ill about people with disabilities. Maybe, I felt like this was a personal attack.

Keeping the mind calm in these situations is what I need to work on.

Where do you find yourself passing judgements? How do you catch yourself and learn from it? What do you do to calm the monkey mind? We all do it. Just have to learn and adapt. I would love to read your responses below.

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