We can all agree that judgment permeates our world views these days. Hop on any social media platform and within nanoseconds you are blasted with a fiery back and forth about:
- Politics (particularly now in the US with the 2020 election just around the corner)
- Covid-19: mask/no mask, vaccine/no vaccine, is it really that bad?
- Race: black lives matter vs. all lives matter
- Police brutality/power
- Sexual orientation
You name it, we can find a way to be divided on it.
Just yesterday I was scrolling through LinkedIn and noticed a post from a transgender man celebrating his new identity as well as his company for its support through his transition. Since my practice and company are founded on the vision of fostering unwavering self acceptance and self worth to believe anything is possible, I celebrated with him by commenting on his courage and determination to speak and embrace his truth.
The comment directly below mine, however, was filled with disgust around the topic and judgment for posting it on LinkedIn. The person believed transgender transition doesn’t belong on a social media platform geared toward connecting professionals – “there’s no place for that here”. Well curiosity got the better of me, and I scrolled through more comments. Judgment was more prevalent than support … for at least as long as I scrolled.
And the cycle continued
Because I’m human and can be triggered, I immediately went to judgment. How can people be so hateful and unsupportive? How can they say something is too personal for LinkedIn when our profession is rooted in our person? Have we really gotten here? Is this truly the level of hate and divisiveness that exist?
I could feel the anger and resentment rising in my throat. I wanted to scream and respond to these people to let them know their comments were disgusting and rude; that their close-minded views are wrong and only add to our continued divide.
As I started to craft a response, I stopped. I stopped dead. Not only was I perpetuating my own pattern of anger, frustration, and judgment, but also theirs. Additionally, I was allowing my need to be right hijack my energy and take away from what I always want to accomplish; to show empathy and compassion for everyone’s point of view, regardless of my agreement with it, and break the cycle of constant judgment.
Where judgment starts
The root of all judgment is one of three of things (in no particular order):
- Self [ego] preservation. Our self judgment is so strong we judge others to level the playing field. We get into a pattern of beating ourselves up so badly (i.e. our established insecurities), we project it onto others to give ourselves a break. It also creeps up when we see traits in others we want, but perceive we don’t have. We judge to make ourselves feel better.
- The absence of a highly regarded personal value. We all hold certain values near and dear to our hearts whether we know it or not. And when one (or more) of them are missing from a situation, relationship, whatever, our anger and judgment rise because we can’t access it.
- A highly regarded personal value is triggered from the outside. When someone is in direct contrast to what we hold dear, we judge their inability to understand it. We can’t grasp any reason as to why they also don’t find it important.
Regardless of the source, it convinces us we have to win and hijacks our minds and energy until we think we have. We’ll keep the cycle going until we’ve perceived that we have the upper hand. It distracts us from accessing the most effective sides of ourselves and moving forward in a productive manner. Rather we engage in forcing our way or will onto or into something/someone else. Our minds and hearts are blocked by our own destructive energy. It’s in this space we make rash decisions that don’t reflect our truest selves and how we truly want to show up.
Interrupting my Pattern
I deeply honor everyone’s right to speak their truth. We’re all here to be individuals and live in a way that’s meaningful to us. And so when the transgendered gentleman’s truth was challenged with so much hate and disgust, I snapped. I wanted to project and protect my point of view as well as a fellow human. All of which makes total sense! It’s important to me, and I want to be able to speak up and out for what I believe is just. I’ve struggled to find my voice when it matters most and I wanted to show up for someone else whose truth was being bashed. But with that, my anger and judgment were all consuming. They were all I could see, taste, and feel. Responding with such disdain was not how I wanted to show up.
So I asked myself these 2 questions:
- What about their point of view is actually mine to judge?
- What will I keep myself from accomplishing today if I hang onto this judgment?
Yes. I vehemently disagree with every dissenting comment I read. Yes. The collective points of view fly in the face of love, compassion, support, and genuine human connection, all of which are deeply important to me. But what is judging them going to change? No comment I write will change their minds. It will only fuel the fire and my anger, as well as maintain our [collective] divisiveness.
The only thing my judgment does is hijack my energy and prevent me from accessing my highest self. The self that wants to demonstrate empathy towards everyone even when it’s REALLY hard. And plus, if I honor one person’s truth, how can I not honor another’s? Though there’s no part of it I remotely agree with it, it’s their truth.
Interrupting your Patterns
Differing points of view are a fact of life. Judgment and anger are inevitable because we’re made to be different. It’s unnatural for 7B people to think the same and agree on everything.
Without a doubt something said in a meeting, on a text, in a Facebook post will set you off today, if it hasn’t already. The urge to fight, stand your ground, and prove you’re right will bubble up inside of you. You’ll be tempted to keep punching until you have the upper hand …
Which makes perfect sense! Of course you want to speak up for what you believe in, establish your sense of self, and protect yourself and others. Though if that desire brings about a pattern of judgment and anger that hijacks your energy to the point it’s all consuming, take a breath and ask yourself these 5 questions:
- Where’s my judgment coming from? (self/ego preservation, absent value, triggered value)
- What about this situation has me thinking I have to win?
- If I go down the combative path, what will I have actually won?
- How will a “winning” outcome further my ability to get what I want?
- What’s another way to approach this situation to more effectively control my mindset?
Taking the next step
Nothing about this is easy or simple. It takes A LOT of work. Despite the fact of having the awareness of where my judgment comes from and tools to redirect it for the last 18 months, it’s been only in the last nine that I’ve made progress in interrupting my patterns.
Deepening your self awareness and taking control of your mindset are the not-so-secret ingredients to untangling the mental and emotional chaos that’s preventing you from finding the clarity and confidence to run after what you want.
If you’re struggling to let go of anger and judgment and you believe it’s getting in the way of accessing your most productive self, reach out today. I’m passionate about working with women to step up, step out and go after their dreams on their time and on their terms. The most effective way to do that is to interrupt the judgment and anger patterns that hold you back and repurpose them to drive you forward.
Be the version of yourself you’ve always dreamed of being.