Hello again. Ok, so the question is "who has ever felt judged?" I know I have certainly felt judged throughout my life. I will give you a few examples:
I've felt judged at school for not wearing the latest, up to date clothes. I've felt judged for the jobs I've had. I've felt judged by people's total lack of understanding of a situation and their assumptions and perceptions of the situation from their own view point. I've felt judged by my family, friends, colleagues and complete strangers, and yes these were my own perceptions and feelings at the time and in some of these cases I may have been completely wrong in reaching that conclusion......but at the end of the day the feeling was there and over my lifetime it has damaged my self-esteem, confidence and I've had to overcome certain hurdles of judgement and judging people myself.
Whilst training to be a Counsellor one of the most important hurdles faced is not passing judgement on clients seeking help. You can not help someone you judge. Being trained to see beyond how a person looks, acts and has become because of their past history was one of the greatest gift I received during training and it is a corner stone of building a professional relationship in counselling.
Recently I've researched why we judge rather than seeing beyond how a person presents in any given moment. You might have just met someone, heard of them or known someone for years, so why do we judge? I believe it is mainly learned behaviour. If you put a bunch of 18mth old babies in a room together, from every background you could possibally think of, they would all get on, do their own thing and be fully accepting of each other. If you placed a bunch of 18 year olds in a room together their behaviour would be very different. There would be internal judgements flying through the minds of many individuals, but not all. This shows that 16 and a half years of learned behaviour, societies influence and historical influence are all affecting people in ways none of us really understand or want to acknowledge.
We all judge at some point in our lives.
Now let's look at the effect of judgement. My experience, both personally and professionally, has taught me that feeling judged causes so much damage to a persons wellbeing. Feelings that arise are those of isolation, paranoia, shame, sadness, anger, disbelief, shock, mental numbness, the fight or flight reflex and withdrawal within the self. People who feel judged go in on themselves and begin to question the person they are.
Being judged also leads to judgement as a form of self preservation. A battle commences within the person being judged, when all they want and need is some understanding, compassion and a degree of empathy.
Depending on the circumstances of the situation, being judged comes in different levels of judgement. Momentary judgements may come in the form of thinking the judgement in your mind.
Let's say you see a person and think "gosh I would never go out looking like that!". This kind of judgement isn't damaging to the other person because it is contained within the mind, therefore has no effect on anyone but the person thinking it.
The next level is sharing your judgement with someone, and the judgement being spoken about, overheard and arriving within the persona of the person being judged. Now the judgement is out there and can begin to do damage to the persons wellbeing.
Lets say the same judgement is taken to the next level of being shared by all three parties involved. The judged, the listener and the victim. They all speak to one person each and then those people pass the info on to someone else......it isn't long before it becomes the topic of conversation in the pub, play ground, workplace etc etc.
Now let's think about the circumstances of the victim. Maybe the person has just lost a family member, friend, job, pet? Or maybe this person has been suffering from relationship difficulties, family problems or some form of mental health issue. The possibilities are endless as to why someone may be looking a little down, looking a little unwell and not quite themselves......and by receiving judgement they are being weighed down even more.
Imagine yourself as the victim?
Imagine what it must be like to have someone pass judgement of an area within your life without knowing the full facts or experience.
We each have our own life story, we each have our own historical upbringing from our parents/caregivers, grandparents and great grandparents......the learned behaviour goes way back in time, and not always do we have the choice of what life we are given, what coping mechanisms we are given or what circumstances we find ourselves within.
I believe in the saying "walk a mile in a persons shoes before you make any form of judgement of them" (I'm not sure who the quotes I use belong to, so I apologise in advance for not passing on the credit) and I'm a great believer in "Every saint has a passed and every sinner has a future".
Who has the right to judge anyone?
Yes if a person has committed a crime they are put in front of a court of law and judgement is made. But in this blog I'm referring to people within our everyday lives, our friends, our neighbours, friends of friends, work colleagues, the bloke you see in the pub or the shop assistant etc etc. We have no right to judge each other as none of us knows the truth behind the circumstances, judgements, gossip or behaviour of anyone.
So if you find yourself thinking a judgement of someone.......pause for a mo.......do you really understand the person you are judging? What if there is more to their circumstances than you are actually seeing, maybe your judgement of them is the last straw for that person!
Thoughts do nobody any damage if you keep your thoughts to yourself.....but if you act on your thoughts that's when they do damage and that's when you no longer have any control over the effect of them.
The greatest gift to yourself and another is to not judge anyone. Think to yourself "hey do I really know all the facts to pass judgement?" And if you hear judgemental views being expressed maybe inject an antidote of "do you really know all the facts to be making that judgement?". The likely answer will be nobody knows the whole truth about anyone and unless you are within their life. So their actions, choices and way of living is nobody’s business.