As an enlightened person, it’s easy to think you’ve got everyone all figured out. Your best friend would be happier if they’d just learn to say “no.” Your boss would be more successful if they’d learn to listen. Your partner would be healthier if they’d start taking better care of themselves. And what do you need to change?
The complexity of human emotion allows you to accept some things and reject others, the basis for all judgment. You judge situations, people, and too often, yourself. But if you’re unable to let go of judgmental thoughts and actions, they can become a destructive force in your life.
Essentially, judging is seeing the world the way we think it should be, rather than how it is. Judging takes you away from reality and instead locks you into one of the most negative places within yourself. More importantly, it removes you from the beauty and energy of the present moment.
Why even do it?
Judgments usually come from your own insecurity. Whether you realize it or not, the biggest reason you judge other people is to try to make yourself feel better. Think about it: You’re having a bad day, avoiding your own issues, and suddenly someone walks by in a terribly unflattering outfit. The nasty thought that’s crossing your mind is simply a way to make yourself feel better: “At least I don’t look like that.”
You also judge people who you want to be more like you. Rather than recognizing and accepting that a loved one has different strengths and weaknesses, you try to change that person. When they do something different from you, you think “Why can’t they just be like me?” Changing someone to behave more like you is just another way of trying to assuage your own insecurity. It’s easier to focus on someone else than take a hard look at yourself to see what’s really making you feel inferior.
Put a stop to it
Like most problems, the first step is accepting the fact that you are too judgmental and you need to make a commitment to improve it. You probably don’t even realize how negatively you view others, so your first task is to start paying attention.
Fist, make an effort to catch yourself in the moment of judgment. Monitor your inner monologue, and when your thoughts turn negative about yourself or someone else, take a deep breath to stop the cycle. Then, put yourself in the shoes of the other person. Imagine what might have brought them to where they are today. Consider them anew through a prism of love and compassion.
It’s not always that easy. When your boss is being jerky, would you rather think of her lovingly or judge her for her flaws? As hard as it is, in the long run, you’re better off trying to approach the situation with love instead of judgment.
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