Sunday, October 22, 2006

Stepping Stones #6, About Love – Judgment

By Greg Gourdian
Web Blog: http://tangledintime.blogspot.com/


We often make a critical error in our relationships by judging either ourselves or those whom we love. Judgment is an insidious destructive process that can become habitual and may often do great damage to our relationships with those we love. We must learn not to judge either ourselves or others in order to build happier, healthier more joyful relationships.

Most of us are culturally trained to be judgmental. We are trained to judge ourselves and to judge each other as part of the game of competitiveness. Being judgmental becomes a survival tactic and an ingrained habit. Without our judgment and prejudices we may fail to respond quickly or appropriately enough to many situations which we face on a daily basis; so being judgmental and prejudiced has some merit or value. However in new situations, and especially in our relationships, being judgmental can be very destructive, particularly when we are judging ourselves.

Unfortunately, we often fail to realize how being judgmental can work to our disadvantage. One way our judgment and prejudices can be harmful is when situations change over time and we fail to notice when our conditioned responses are no longer in tune to the new circumstances or our own changing needs. In the context of a close relationship, this can lead to misunderstandings and disappointments and create uncomfortable stress when a friend or family member no longer seems to respond appropriately.

A second way being judgmental or prejudiced harms our relationships is when we are unfairly critical or habitually critical. Unfair criticism often arises from laziness; we fail to perceive what is really going on and instead rely on our past experiences to be the template for our current responses. So we may not notice when someone close to us has improved. Then we may fail to respond supportively to their growth and maybe instead continue being critical for something they no longer deserve to be criticized for. This is a typical pitfall in the relationships between parents and their children.

One consequence of this sort of habitual criticism is that those we criticize may come to fear and avoid us, thereby costing both parties the loss of love, companionship and nurturing. The more withdrawn our loved ones become in response to our judgment, the less feedback we have from them and who they really are; our judgments about those we habitually criticize therefore become based less on the reality of their lives and more on our own opinions and imagination. We may completely lose touch with the fundamental realities of our loved ones' lives, realities which could have helped us to understand those we love in a better light.

Another consequence of this sort of habitual criticism is that those we criticize may learn to judge themselves too harshly. It's a consequence of believing our criticism whether our criticism is warranted or not. When we train those around us to belittle themselves through our eyes, we cripple them by undermining their self confidence. They may become less capable of managing their lives; we may also cripple them by inspiring them to hate themselves as well.

Another important way in which our judgment and prejudice can hurt us is when we judge ourselves, particularly when we do so either harshly or habitually. We can develop such a serious hostility towards ourselves that we wind up hating ourselves and manifesting illness and other harmful self-sabotage.

When we hate ourselves in this fashion we also make it impossible to allow anyone to love us and thereby reduce the amount of positive feedback that could us feel better about ourselves. The lack of positive feedback may then turnour self-hatred into a vicious spiral. This is perhaps the most critical harm we can do to ourselves and our relationships.

Our judgment and prejudice may have survival value in limited circumstances of a practical nature, but when it comes to our relationships with ourselves and with those whom we love, judgment and prejudice turn toxic and destructive. We need to develop non-judgmental attitudes toward ourselves, our loved ones, and to everyone we meet.

When we judge another person, we are also making a judgment about ourselves. So by refraining from judging others we are also refraining from judging ourselves. This is an immense benefit because often the judgments we make are mistaken. When we do not judge we do not burden ourselves with unrealistic expectations for ourselves or for others. Where there is no judgment and no expectation there can be no disappointment and the ensuing regrets or blame which follow disappointments do not appear.

Regret and blame hinder us from loving ourselves and others. So we are better able to love everyone, especially ourselves when we refrain from being judgmental or prejudiced.

It is easier than you might think to let go of being judgmental. Whenever you make a decision about another person’s character or about your own character, try to challenge it. See what things you can think of which make your experience of yourself or other people richer and more rewarding. Try to accept each person as they are for who they are without thinking something is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Let go of your prejudices so that you do not automatically label yourself or other people you meet.

By practicing acceptance and understanding, by listening and allowing ourselves and all other people in our lives to speak their hearts clearly, we achieve a greater appreciation for both ourselves and for all other people. We then learn to love ourselves and all other people more wholeheartedly and more easily. By extension, we then feel the love other people have for us more deeply and sincerely, and we more easily love everyone around us.

BIO:
Author Greg Gourdian has worked with the general public as a psychic reader from 1981 to 1986. Much of his written work is channeled, although he will admit that he has no idea who many of the sources for his channeled work may be. He has many strange tales to tell regarding his spiritual journey and tells his tales in an entertaining manner. Greg has taught classes in psychology, sociology, metaphysics and parapsychology.

Visit Greg's blog at http://tangledintime.blogspot.com/