The Effects of Judging

A judge's gavelI found myself judging. I didn’t want to, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself. I tried to shift my energy, to at least control my voice, but it wasn’t enough. The judgement oozed out in my intonation and the damage was done.

Our 17-year old was in Sacramento with his friends and the other kid’s parent couldn’t pick them up until 10 PM. I feel uncomfortable having him out late at night so far away, so when he asked for a ride to come home early, I wanted it, too. However, John was sick with a bad cold–tired and feeling icky with a horrible cough. I can’t drive and felt frustrated by the situation that was thrust upon me.

I remembered a time when that same son was just a baby. I was sick with a fever and John expected me to fix dinner anyway. I remember preparing the meal with an enormous amount of resentment.

John hadn’t developed as much compassion back then and I hadn’t developed the skill of setting and maintaining boundaries. In truth, though, that experience was my responsibility, not his.

Still, I was flooded with the feelings of that memory and I was feeling resentful that John was taking care of himself. If it was me, I’d pick up our son even if I was sick. So, in my line of thinking, John was not only being selfish, he was wrong.

Whenever we make what someone else is doing “wrong,” we’re bound to have problems. It can look a variety of different ways, but judging is never pretty.

  • “She should be more responsible with her money.”
  • “I would never do that.”
  • “What he did was just wrong.”

To be clear, when we are judging other people, they’ll feel it. It always comes through. So I encourage you to watch for when you’ve got some judgements you’re making. In fact, my coach said on a call today that “dropping any conversations about something being wrong is the fastest way to make a shift.” I’m in the process of letting this truth soak into my bones. It’s application is huge and I feel like I’m only beginning to grasp what it means.

To finish, the story about John and the ride he wouldn’t give our son… The judgement came through loud and clear and it caused a rift between us. Later that night I apologized, which he acknowledged. The next day there was still tension between us and I apologized again and explained what I had going on and let him know I wished I had handled it differently.

It was a great experience to show the damage that judging other people can cause. And it was a great awareness of how judgement comes through even when I try not to let it out. Now I’m seeing how necessary it is to let go of something  being wrong or that it really should be a different way.

I encourage you to check where you’re judging other people and how that’s affecting your relationships. I trust it will be a beneficial exercise for you and for the other people in your life.


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