For those of you who have been following my Facebook LIVES, you will know that I am currently reading “Judgment Detox” by Gabrielle Bernstein. It is proving to be a very thought provoking and worthwhile read. And it is helping me soooo much as a parent.
No matter how big or small, whatever way you look at it, judgment is judgment. And it is toxic. I talked about this in my Mindful Monday, Facebook LIVE today.
I have been decoding and deciphering my judgment and trying to understand just why I do it, why it is so seductive and destructive. It has been so helpful.
Why do I do it?
I judge or make an assumption about something or someone in order to try and understand it or them. I NEED to understand in order to feel in control because not knowing is a highly uncomfortable and vulnerable place to be. I think that as parents, it is something we all fall into the trap of doing. We judge. Why we do it will be different for all of us. But, I can almost guarantee that if you are a parent reading this, that you will, in some way shape or form, judge your kids!
What do I do? I make an assumption based on what I see or hear and I create a story in order to “understand” it because it is quick and it is easy. It is also reassuring and seductive. In a split second, BOOM I have it all figured out. Now I know. The seduction of knowing feels good doesn’t it!
Until it all catches up to us. Until we find ourselves tangled in a net of reactivity.
We have to remember that stories are just that. Stories. They are based on our thoughts and our thoughts are not real. So therefore, my judgment is also not real. It is fiction. It’s fabricated on my perspective, my interpretation and my want to understand things, my way.
But it goes further than this. This toxic cycle doesn’t end here.
I then attach to the story I created. I believe the story. It becomes real. Then I identify with the story. The problem is that as soon as I, or someone questions my story, I take it personally. It’s as if they are questioning ME. It becomes all about ME.
When this happens, I feel attacked by either myself if it a story I have created about me or by the other if it was by them.
The net result: blame, projection, reactivity and conflict.
And. All. From. Judging.
Think about how this might be playing out with you and your child or partner, or a co-worker or even friend in situations where you do not feel heard.
Every parent I work with complains about this.
“My kids never listen to me!”
Let’s use this as an example. On page 39 in the book, there is a table with four questions:
- What or whom am I judging
- How does this judgment make me feel?
- Why do I feel justified in this judgment?
- What moment in my life triggered me to feel justified in this judgment?
I found this a very interesting exercise to do as not only did it help me deconstruct the judgment, it revealed my judgmental patterns. It is only when we become aware of our patterns that we can bring about a change.
In the book, Gabrielle Bernstein discusses a six step approach to help us heal our judgment.
The first step is about witnessing our judgment without judgment which is powerful because we have to be compassionate with ourselves. Judgment is, dare I say it, almost a pre-wired human condition! Who doesn’t do it?
However, I think there’s a step I need to take before I can witness it. To witness something is to experience it. In order to experience something, I have to know that it is there.
I have to develop a Judgment Radar Detector (JRD).
I have to be able to implement my JRD to Mind My Mind. I have to know where my mind is. Is it here, in the present moment, now? Or is it off gallivanting somewhere else, running amok, untamed, constructing stories and judging!
Because a judgment is a thought, I have to learn how to watch my thoughts, so that I can detach from the unhealthy ones. The ones superfluous to requirements. I have to learn to LET.THEM.GO and not get on that thought train.
My breath helps me get out of my mind and anchored back into the present moment like nothing else can. It helps me stay on the “platform of awareness” (Dr. Shefali Tsabary). Isn’t that an amazing analogy; to be on a platform of awareness. Wow!
I have to first notice and be aware of my judgment.
Then I can witness my judgment, with no judgment.
Once I witness it, I can consciously shift from judgment to curiosity. When I do this, I open myself up to more perspective, more depth and understanding and, more connection and compassion.
We have to go deep within, look beneath the surface, of ourselves and of others. We are all like icebergs, we carry with us much more than meets the eye. Making assumptions and predictions about people and their behaviour is akin to being on thin ice. So rather than crashing through the ice to a depth we are forced to react to, instead we can get curious and tread softly. Feel the cracks. Be gentle with the cracks.
Walk in their shoes.
For it is there you will find yourself wearing a compassionate hat and discover more connection and intimacy with those you walk with.
P.S. If you have enjoyed this blog post, join me LIVE on Mondays, on Facebook where I will be discussing this further and also in The Conscious Parent Community Group that I run on Facebook.