Judge nothing you will be happy, forgive everything you will be happier, love everything you will be happiest. – Sri Chinmoy
No one likes being judged. Some days we may even fear it. Making sure we say the right words, wear the right clothes and do the right things. Some of us fear judgement so much, that things we have always wanted to try or do, stops us dead in our tracks because we go to that place of “What will everyone think?”
Why Do We Care What Others Think?
I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said to me “I can’t do yoga. I’m not flexible.” Or the later “What will the other people in the class think if I can’t do the poses.”
We spend way too much time worrying about what others think that we miss out on some of the life’s experiences.
If you want to try yoga but are inflexible go anyway with the mindset to just enjoy the experience. Trust me, your instructor wants you to simply feel good and will assist you if and when you need or want it.
Believe me, everyone else in class is there to practice not to ridicule anyone else. This doesn’t just apply to yoga. This applies to so many aspects in our lives! We make excuses and miss out on events or experiences all because we fear judgement.
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” ― Coco Chanel
We Are Where Judgement Begins…
Ask yourself where judgement begins? A HINT: Look in the mirror.
We are where judgement begins. How do you begin each day? Take a moment in the morning and witness the thoughts that flash through your mind. These exact thoughts are setting the tone for the day.
The other morning, when I woke up, I walked into the bathroom to brush my teeth and my first thoughts were “Oh my god, look at the bags under my eyes.”. Without speaking to anyone, those were the first words I said to myself.
I began my day in judgement. So we fear being judged by everyone else and the raw truth is we are the ones doing most of the judging.
Our brain always strives to make sense out of everything! We see, hear, and through our experiences the brain wants to categorize everything by putting these perceptions into its own tiny metaphysical folder. These folders get recalled throughout our lives. Folders named “this is good,” “this is bad”, “this is okay, and this is not”. These folders began developing as children by our family, church, friends, TV, internet and social media where the judgmental river runs wild.
Our Ego plays a big part of the judgement picture. We want to believe in an ultimate best way to do things. A few examples of this are fitness & nutrition. There are countless diet & fitness discussion boards and most of it is everyone arguing with one another. People go there for support, help, learning from one another and it turns into a three-ring circus!
“Can you look without the voice in your head commenting, drawing conclusions, comparing, or trying to figure something out?” ― Eckhart Tolle
We feel the need to be right
Religion is another example.
I grew up in a faith that told us “we are the one true religion. Today, I see things differently. ALL religions at the fundamental core teach LOVE. Then why all the arguing?!
We feel the need to be right. Wars are still being fought in the name of God. Church leaders bash those that are different all in the name of God and this judgement is passed on. There are extremist groups in every religion but not every member of a religion is an extremist. No one wants or likes to be judged.
There is egoism even in the yoga world. First yoga is not a religion but a philosophy. I’ve had people say they won’t practice due to its religious affiliation, but they have always wanted to try. Teachers disagreeing with other teachers regarding which lineage is better is it more beneficial to play music, or no music in class, judging other teachers by their physical abilities to do yoga. Putting your foot behind your head does not make you a good yoga teacher or a good yoga student. Again, labeling continues…
Labels regarding career, schools, religion, socio-economical status, sexual orientation, race, and it goes on. It all gets put in the little folder of the brain.
How Do We Stop Judging? Begin With Yourself
1. Self Acceptance
Begin each day with gratitude. Notice what your first thoughts are each morning. Witness them. Does your day begin in criticism, cynicism, or with a deep sense of gratitude?
We are blessed to get another day. What can you accomplish, and what do you want to accomplish? What can you be happy about? Simply being aware of your first thought begins the ability to change and not judge yourself. All of us can improve but focusing on how far you have come…
2. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Judge me if you want, but at the end of my life I choose to have memories, not regrets. – Steve Maraboli
What have you been too afraid to try due to some of your preconceived notions?
Progress and change never happen in our comfortable place. Get uncomfortable and instead of getting in your head thinking of all the reasons you shouldn’t, see it as an experience. See stepping out of your comfort zone as a way to get to know yourself and let it become your teacher. This applies to everything in life.
3. Don’t Worry So Much!
If you didn’t grow up like I did then you don’t know, and if you don’t know it’s probably better you don’t judge.” ― Junot Díaz
Worry creates anxiety and fear that hold us back. What other people think is their business. Their thoughts are simply theirs. Your journey is yours and until someone can walk in your shoes they will never understand. The same applies to you. Don’t worry about what other people do if it doesn’t directly affect you in some way. Statements such as “I’d never do ……”(fill in the blank) aren’t helpful to anyone. Their journeys are theirs. By practicing acceptance, this gets easier to let go of the labeling and our worries.
4. Think With The Heart ❤
When we react to something it comes from two things: love or fear.
Try to make the thoughts come from the heart. Hate, anger, frustration, anxiety, and judgement are rooted in fear. In this world pain is inevitable, bad things happen to all of us at times but when we slow down and think with the heart, the tumultuous times we face can be dealt with more ease and a clear head. Remember that everyone faces difficult times, so be kind to everyone.
We are human, we all struggle, we want to belong, to be accepted and loved. These are only a few ways we are alike.. If we all took the time to see how similar we all are to one another, this world could become a better place. Look in the mirror, begin with yourself, judge yourself less and love yourself more.