How Judging Yourself and Others is Keeping You From Being Happier Than You Could Imagine

HJ: The act of judgement is keeping you from being content and happy.  Furthermore, judgement is insidious in that we often do not even realize we are doing it.  We must disassociate from and observe our thoughts in order to get a real handle on how often we may be engaged in judgement.  Don’t worry, this is not that difficult to do, despite how it may sound.  It just takes the simple intention to do so.  Get centered and present and begin to observe your thoughts.  View postInstead of immediately identifying with them, which is typically our default state, instead observe the thought objectively.  Do not judge it or judge yourself.  Simply observe and notice if it is a judgement.  Doing so disarms the thought from its power over you.  Notice how often you may be engaged in judgement.  Can you identify why you are judging so frequently and vehemently?  Try to trace back your tendency to judge and see if you can identify the root cause of it [Hint: it typically relates to some egoic insecurity, which is only as real as you allow it to be.]  Then, after identifying the belief that underlies your perceived need to judge, simply remove it by letting go, accepting the lessons it has taught you, and replacing it with an empowering belief that does not require judgement! 

Yes, it really is that simple.  You may have to repeat this process over the course of a few day or maybe weeks if you are really struggling with it, but that is the essence of the recipe to release judgement.  On a more basic level, you can choose at any time to begin releasing judgement.  You can get the ball rolling by setting an intention to do so.  This will automatically initiate a chain of events and thoughts that will eventually lead you to release judgement, although it may take much longer than it would if you simply engaged in the method explained above.  There is no right or wrong way.  Take as long as you wish, it is all in divine time.  However, the real question is how long do you wish to suffer at your own hands? And, how quickly would you like to experience peace, joy, happiness and love?

– Truth

 Judge nothing, you will be happy. Forgive everything, you will be happier. Love everything, you will be happiest.  – Sri Chinmoy

When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself. – Wayne Dyer

Remember that is it most helpful to realize that every time you find yourself in judgement against someone else, it is because there is a hidden judgement about yourself that you do not wish to see. Every time. There is no exception to this. It is always you that you are running away from by putting judgement ‘out there’ – Bartholomew

Why Judging People Makes Us Unhappy

By Toni Bernhard | How to Be Sick

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” ~Henry David Thoreau

A friend of mine likes to joke that dying will be a relief because it will put an end to the “heavy burden of judging” as she calls it. She envisions herself lying in a hospital bed and, moments before death, noticing the ceiling and thinking, “What a hideous green.”

Here’s a modest proposal: Vow that for the rest of the day, you won’t judge your friends and you won’t judge any strangers you happen to see. This would include a friend who’s a non-stop talker; it would include a friend who’s always complaining about his life. It would include the strangers you pass on the street or see in a waiting room.

I call it a modest proposal because I’m not even addressing the issue of self-judgment, let alone BP or Gaddafi. No. I’m just asking you not to judge friends or strangers.


It’s entirely possible you won’t make it past a few minutes without judging someone!

So, why not just “judge away?”

To answer that, let me start by drawing a distinction between judgment and discernment. Discernment means perceiving the way things are, period.

Judgment is what we add to discernment when we make a comparison (implicit or explicit) between how things or people are and how we think they ought to be. So, in judgment, there’s an element of dissatisfaction with the way things are and a desire to have things be the way we want them to be.

Take that talkative friend. To think or speak in a neutral, purely descriptive tone, “She can talk non-stop for 15 minutes,” is an example of discernment—assuming the assessment is accurate, we’re just describing the way things are.

On the other hand, to think or speak in a negative tone, “She can talk non-stop for 15 minutes,” is an example of judgment because that negative tone reveals our dissatisfaction with how she is and our desire for her to be different.

The same analysis applies to the complaining friend. If we say, “He complained about this life the entire evening,” depending on our tone, it could be a neutral observation (discernment) or it could reflect our dissatisfaction with him and our desire for him to be different (a judgment).

Now think about strangers. If you’re like me, there’s almost always a subtle judgment waiting in the wings. “She could stand to lose some weight.” “Doesn’t he know how to pick a tie that goes with a shirt?”

So, again, why not just “judge away”? Recall that in judgment, there’s an element of dissatisfaction with the way things are and a desire to have things (in my examples: people) be the way we want them to be.

So, judgment is just a recipe for suffering: start with our dissatisfaction over how a person happens to be and mix in our desire for them to be otherwise. To make that suffering nice and rich, be sure the desire clings tightly to the dissatisfaction!

It doesn’t mean we have to hang out with someone who talks more than we’d like or who does nothing but complains about his life. But we can make the choice about whether to be with them without judging them. When we do, it feels good; it has that peaceful quality of letting go of clinging to the way we want people to be.

As for those strangers, maybe the woman I saw has a medical condition that results in weight gain, or maybe she eats to deal with uncomfortable feelings. Perhaps the man was wearing the only tie he owns. Judging them did nothing to ease their suffering, and it certainly didn’t ease mine.

Now try this experiment. Think about a couple of friends who annoy you in some way. Can you let them be the way they are without desiring them to be otherwise? Sticking with my two examples, can you open your heart to her talkativeness or to his constant complaining?

Walt Whitman said, “I contain multitudes.” I like to think of the world as containing multitudes. I do this by consciously thinking: “This world is big enough for both the talkative and the untalkative; for both the complainers and the non-complainers.”

Judging is such a well-ingrained response that I hardly notice when I’m doing it, so I know I have a lifetime of conditioning to overcome. But it’s worth it because when I don’t judge, I feel the benefits in both my mind and my body: I feel as light as a feather.

I truly hope I can shed that heavy burden of judging before that moment in the hospital bed when I’m starring at the green ceiling!

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