My Mom was definitely an expert at judging everyone and everything from angles most people would never even dream of, so I consider myself well trained. In fact, at 46 I can still hear her voice (in my mind as she passed away 18 years ago) judging many of my actions. An interesting thing has happened over time, though. Her voice has turned into my own, self-judging everything until at times I simply stop all action because I don’t know what to do next. Lately I have been hyper-conscious of the little judge inside me, what she does to my relationships when I am critical (“helpful”) toward others, and how to distinguish the difference internally between the voice of self-judgment (“reason”), and the voice of spiritual Divine guidance.
To start, I am shocked at how much of what we think and say is a judgment. Our mind has nothing else to do, so this goes on 24/7! This is good. That is bad. This is stupid. That is ugly. Oh how beautiful! Isn’t so-and-so ridiculous/brilliant/lazy…why don’t you do this faster/slower/softer/louder…it never ends! It isn’t so harmful running a-muck in the mind, but then we are gracious enough to impose these judgments on those we to us. You should…you ought to…have you tried…why don’t you…??? Oh, but it doesn’t stop yet. Next, we get insulted, offended, or puzzled when they don’t take our well-intended advice, as if we are inside of them and know exactly when they should do what for their Highest good. My favorite action that I have observed is to then repeat myself as if they must not have heard me the first time(s). What is that all about? We humans are really funny critters.
What about what we do inside ourselves to ourselves? How harshly we criticize ourselves because we don’t think we’re up to par. I’m not sure what gauge we are using, but often it is perfection itself, and it becomes obvious why we never measure up. (Possibly we again had some helpful family members in childhood measuring our progress against perfection and letting us know how we were doing…like teachers with grades, parents with unrealistic goals, etc.) Then we run around feeling unworthy or inadequate. There is that insecurity and absence of self-love in every aspect where we harshly judge ourselves.
Next, along come a few well-intentioned friends and loved ones to tell us what they would love to see us do differently/better/faster/slower…and if we think they know better than we do what is best for us, we may even try their advice. However, at some point we are designed to live our lives according to our internal compasses and to fully have the experiences we chose in coming here. How can they know what those are or how we could best manage our life? Simply, they can’t. Their opinion is just that, an opinion!
We must turn inward on a regular basis through meditation, prayer, journaling, etc. to bring to light the internal judge and to clear the way for Spirit to guide our thoughts and actions in ways of service for our Highest good. Spirit is the only Source we can respectfully surrender to and find the guidance we so desperately want and need in this world. Our well-meaning loved ones really can’t know what is best for us, just as we have absolutely no idea what another person is here to experience or their best course of action.
In Buddhism, they talk a lot about being the observer of ourselves. That is a great way to detach from our overly stimulated minds and allow the thoughts to come as they do without reacting unconsciously to them. The mind is a busy organ, and a great resource, but it is not the best navigator to happiness, for it is unable to feel happiness. It is the ego keeping us safe by judging everything around us and remaining on guard for possible danger, threats, opportunities, etc. Watch with amusement and gratitude at how well it operates, and then turn within to heart and Higher Mind for the answers Spirit knows are best for our unique individual Path.
Sheryl Sitts, Founder & Chief Inspirational Officer