We live in a society where passing judgment on other people and situations is a favorite pastime. We’ve been at it for so long and so often that it’s an unconscious reflex. Experts might say it’s a hold-over from the human evolutionary period when we needed to make snap judgments about whether the approaching thing was going to eat us. In most cases today, it serves no purpose. Admittedly, there are situations where it’s good to size someone up before they can do us harm. But, when it comes to constant, superficial judging, a habit in which most of us engage way too frequently, we’re better off without it.
Check yourself. Think about it. How many times a day do you find yourself looking at another person, or thinking about a situation, and suddenly you’re feeling impatient, angry, annoyed, critical commentary running in the background? How many times a day do you find yourself looking at a total stranger, or someone you know, and judging them, criticizing them in your mind…or maybe even out loud?
Working yourself up over what a total stranger, neighbor, colleague or loved one is saying or doing, or a situation that you can’t control or doesn’t concern you, is a habit that plagues many of us. When we give in to the unhealthy habit of being judgmental, our blood pressure spikes, our heart starts to race, the tension in our face and around your eyes intensifies, our chest muscles tightens and our cells are floating in a chemical bath of negative emotions.
Nearly ALL of us engage in the bad habit of wasting valuable time and expending emotional energy that benefits no one – especially not ourselves.
I’ve consciously decided to turn the tide in my life by exercising more control over my mind and emotions in this area. In the same way people use Mindfulness techniques to reduce stress, I’m using these same techniques to become conscious of when I’m judging others and interrupt the process.
Since judging is such an involuntary reaction, it’s hard to head it off at the pass, but as soon as I realize what I’m doing, I stop. Instantly, I feel my negativity melt away. My shoulders lower. My eyes soften. My disposition lightens and I sometimes even find myself smiling ever so slightly – finding pleasure in letting go of a habit that serves no one, especially me.
Give it a shot. I guarantee you’ll feel the difference, too.