Judge Not. Failing that? Learn a lot.


{Photo via}

{Photo via}

“It took me a long time not to judge myself  through someone else’s eyes.” ~ Sally Field

It has always been important for me to do my best to be non-judgmental toward myself and others.

Looking at this concept more deeply, I realize that the entire topic is far more complex than a sweeping statement of intent could possibly encompass.

I don’t want to judge others. But I have done so.
As we all have, to some degree.

I don’t want to judge myself. But I have done so.
As we all have, to some degree.

I don’t want to be judged by others. But I have been subjected to it.
As we all have, to some degree.

At one time or another, I’m sure you’ve heard yourself or someone else say the words: “I never judge.”

Over time, I’ve come to view statements framed in absolutes as suspect, including those uttered from my own mouth. Such rigid declarations can only be spouted from an ivory tower. A disconnected place where assumptions are too easily made and illusions of perfection are foolishly constructed.

It is only when we choose to leave that lofty place of isolated perception that humility is learned and empathy and understanding begin to unfold, if our hearts and senses are open to it.

Stepping away from an impossibly restrictive way of thinking allows us to consider the idea that what we aspire to is not necessarily what is, no matter how much we wish otherwise.

So excuse me while I descend my ivory tower and burn the drawbridge on the way out.

From a more grounded place, I can better state my intention with greater clarity: I aspire to be non-judgmental toward myself and others. I am not entirely there yet, but I will continue to make a conscious effort.

Rather than berating myself or giving up, should I fail in those efforts, I will remember why this intention is important to me, and take steps to do better next time.

Attempting to avoid judging others while also being strongly opinionated about subjects that are important to us individually is a struggle we all share. It is at times both a perplexing and highly illuminating contradiction.

Here’s the thing: opinions are often formed through personal experience, hearing other people’s stories, or through the lens of popular culture, but they are not necessarily based in fact.

Knowing that, I’ve come to see that when I express an opinion based on little more than observation and less than personal experience, I come away with a lesson. Generally a painful one, but infinitely educational.

With that in mind, I will take care to avoid saying “I never judge.” Instead, I will focus on self-awareness around my original intention not to do so.  The reality is that I do not want to judge, but sometimes I do.

Ultimately, I want to learn to notice if I’m passing judgment in some manner, identify the thoughts I’m having around it, and change the course of my thinking in a loving and compassionate direction. I believe that it is in those moments of conscious self-reflection that real, lasting change in our own patterns can be made.

Getting it wrong once in a while does not extinguish the many future opportunities available to get it right. And so I am embracing every chance I can get to do and be better in this life, with gratitude.

“By seeking and blundering we learn.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



Rebelle Society
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