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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Judgement, Understanding, and Acceptance

Did you ever wonder where judgment comes from? Why people judge someone for what they wear, who they are, or even what they practice? Most people confuse judgment with opinion, in that they do not feel they are being judgmental, just expressing their opinion. The difference, is that judgement is outward, and opinion is inward. Take for instance someone wearing a shirt that a person doesn't like. They might say "that shirt is ugly". That is a judgment. The shirt is neither ugly, nor is it pretty; it is just a shirt. An opinion, which looks inward, is "I personally don't care for that shirt." Since you make it about you, and not about the shirt or the person wearing it, your opinion is not destructive. It is simply a reflection of you. Another example of this, is "That tv show is stupid". By saying that, you are judging not only the show itself, but the creator of the show, the cast, crew, and people who watch it. After all, if the show is stupid, you must be stupid to watch it! But the show is neither stupid, nor smart. It is simply a show on television. When you say "I don't care for that show", the only implication is on yourself, and therefore, is an opinion.

But where does this judgment come from? Well, if you continued that last judgment above, it may give you a clue. "That tv show is stupid. I don't understand how anyone can watch that!" And there you have it. Most people are afraid of the things they don't understand, and it usually comes out in the form of judgment. Now, for a tv show, that might not be too big of a deal. But what happens when you are talking about another human?

Whether it is alternative lifestyles, clothing, traditions, or behaviors, many people do not find peace within themselves because they "just don't understand". Why is understanding so important to humans? Why is it they have to have a clear cut, determining word or action to have something they can try to understand? The insecure feelings on a subconscious  level with people that do not understand something, causes fear, and negative reactions to the things, or people, in which they don't understand. But let me ask you this. How many people understand how the motor in their car works? With electronic fuel injections, valves in the cylinders, compression, and all the many other factors that make your car go forward, how many people truly understand all the hundreds of instantaneous actions that happen in their engines to make their car go forward? Yet they don't hate their car. They don't ignore or berate their cars because they don't understand how they operate. What they do is accept that the motor drives their car. And with that acceptance, comes peace. How many people truly understand how electricity is created in a nuclear power plant, and is then transmitted all the way to the light switch in their bedroom? Do you think about that every time you turn on the light? Of course not. Because you simply accept that when you flip the switch, the power comes on.

Yet when it comes to people that are different from themselves, there is no acceptance, only judement, followed by the wonderful "I just don't understand why you _______________". You can fill in the blank with anything, it really doesn't matter. If people can accept others for who they are, instead of judging them because they don't understand why they do something, peace will come into the world. After all, everyone, and I mean everyone on this planet wants to be accepted for who they are, yet most everyone is not ready to give that same respect back to others. Since you only see the world from your eyes, and since you don't understand why someone is doing that, or wearing that, or wants to live like that, then you judge them based solely on your own beliefs in your own life. If you would fall back on opinion, instead of judgment, no dis-comfort would arise inside of you. You would simply accept, and say "I choose not to do ____________". With no dis-comfort, fear cannot exist. Without fear, no negative energy would be created towards the other person.

If you think it can't be that simple, go back to your car. Have you ever had a verbal altercation with your car because you didn't understand engine viscosity? No, you just let your car do what it does, and you do so in peace. You can do the same in this world towards others. You do not need to understand everything. Just accept things for the way they are, and if you don't like it, realize that is simply inside of you, and has no business being directed outside of you.

So, next time you hear yourself saying "that guy is stupid", or "That person should live their lives different", bring it back to yourself. Start the sentence off with you as the subject. "I don't like the way that person is living their lives". It will be an interesting insight into yourself. What about you does not like it? It is because you do not accept it. Once you accept, the judgment is gone, and there is peace. And when there is peace, understanding is possible.

Remember, we are the human race. Which means we are all humans. Which means we are all the same. Only people, inside of themselves, create separation.


Ms. C said...

How amazing is it that I had two conversations with teenagers today who were both struggling with this very issue. One was being judged because of his own judgementalism (oh irony), and the other was being bullied on fb by girls who were holding her to their own standards...girls who did not understand her.

I am going to borrow your metaphor the next time I talk to them. It filled me with a clearer understanding, and gave me another means to discuss a tough topic with young people. I may even type something up for my students and give you and your blog credit.

I was actually considering a persuasive essay assignment that revolves around this very issue. Thank you for sharing this with me. There is so much GOODNESS out there!!! Thank you for adding to it with your wisdom.

Cindy said...

I agree with Ms. C! That metaphor was really great. It really put it in perspective. I want to know and I want to understand and when I don't, I guess I just reject. What a great idea to share some of this with my students!!!

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