I’m not proud of it, but one of my biggest internal struggles is how quick I am to judge others.
Without even knowing their story, I use my own limited perspective to paint a picture of who they are in my mind.
I rank myself as being “better” or “worse” than them in one way or another. If I see someone skinnier than me, my ego sends me mixed messages of both harsh encouragement and protection. The first message might be something like, “You seriously need to stop eating pasta and start working out.” Yet, not even a few seconds later, my ego chimes in with, “Well she can’t seem to keep a boyfriend, so at least you’ve got that going for you.”
If I see someone more wealthy than me, my ego runs the same commentary. I hear the messages of not enough: “This house is way nicer than anything you could afford, I wonder how much money they make. They must think they are so much better than you after seeing your place!” Then, to help me out after feeling the blow of the first comment, my ego provides me with another “uplifting” message: “Well, money doesn’t buy happiness, and at least you’re happy. Isn’t happiness what really matters?”
But now that I have recognized this powerful egoic pattern I have long used to protect my wounded self, I can begin to heal.
In the beginning, I met this awareness of my judgmental traits with more judgement.
I would think to myself…
“Who are you to think you are spiritual?”
“What is wrong with you for thinking this way?”
“How could you help anyone else, when you still aren’t perfect yourself?”
I soon learned this self-judgment about my judgment was counter-productive—unhelpful to both me and those around me. Instead of allowing this commentary to keep running in my mind, I decided to sit in stillness.
I got out my yoga mat, made myself a hot cup of tea, then grabbed a blanket and a journal. I created a space to focus on my breath and observe my thoughts. I watched the thoughts float across my mind like clouds. Of course, there were times when my mind would attach to a thought, but whenever I noticed this happening, I simply returned my focus back to my breath—without any judgment. I would then go back observing the clouds float across my mind, over and over again.
In the silence, I made the most beautiful yet oh so simple discovery:
I am human.
I am not perfect.
And I will never, ever, be perfect. But that’s okay, for none of us are.
My judgments came from a hurt part of my self, the part of me who didn’t feel good enough because I was picked last every time for sports teams. The part of me who felt like the “slow” or “stupid” one in all of my elementary school classes. The part of me who felt that my worth was diminished or determined by what another person thought of me.
When I recognized this, instead of meeting my judgmental thoughts with more judgement, I could meet them with love instead.
As I practice releasing judgement toward myself, I continue to release judgement toward others. My ego might still be quick to judge another, but now I notice the judgement and ask for gentle forgiveness and support to see the situation out of love instead. This is the only way to heal this trait of the ego—for you, for me, and for all of humanity.
The next time you notice this trait in yourself, see if you can send a little extra love and forgiveness both to you and to the ones you are judging.
This small little act of love and kindness will help change the world.
Author: Megan Hallman
Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
Social Editor: Yoli Ramazzina