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The Irony of Judgment

Why we need to step into grace and not judgment.

Throughout the years, I have wrestled with a mind of judgment. I struggled for so long, and continue to struggle at times, with thinking that judgment will lead to improvement. I mean, won't it? If I look for what is wrong or what could be better, I can fix it. I can help my students fix it, right? As a teacher who grades on rubrics, colored pen in hand, my eye is trained to see the error. I point them out in myself and in others. I have spent years leaning into this natural tendency of mine, getting paid even to do so. The problem with this is that we can get stuck, either in defeat or inaction. We can put up barriers in the way of ourselves and with other people. We can be so hard on ourselves, stealing our own joy that could have been found instead in the process of learning.

“The problem with this is that we can get stuck, either in defeat or inaction."

Stay Open

Judgment prevents us from opening our hearts and reaching out to others in fullness. Nineteenth century French novelist and playwright and early pioneer of literary realism Honore de Balzac said that "The more one judges, the less one loves." How true that is. We become closed off and protective. We do not step into moments of opportunity to connect because we fear the judgment of others, or we judge ourselves that we might make a mistake, say something silly, or feel uncomfortable in the process. And of course we are just so busy. Our to-do lists must be done, toys to be picked up, laundry in the dryer, hungry family to feed. We lash out at our spouses or children in judgment, diverting the blame we put on ourselves. Pinterest-perfect parties to host, baby weight to lose. We hustle to prove of worth, even to ourselves. What if there is a better way?

"The more one judges, the less one loves."

Listen and Love

The World Golf Hall of Fame golfer Nancy Lopez warns,"Doubt yourself and you doubt everything you see. Judge yourself and you see judges everywhere." We must then begin with ourselves. For today, just observe moments that we are in judgment of ourselves. The Dalai Lama teaches that"Love is the absence of judgment." So when that moment of the judging mind comes up, send love to that area. Accept. Take the current moment in. Focus on the breath. Send love and gratitude to whatever you want to fix. Lopez continues, pointing the way for us,"But if you listen to the sound of your own voice, you can rise above doubt and judgment. And you can see forever."

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