We live in an age of super judgement, and thanks to social media and mass habits of fervent posting and constant commenting we have become an opinion-nation, with more people feeling the right and responsibility to pass public comment and judge the world around them than at any time before in history.
But what is the turning point between being an opinion purveyor or making a comment and passing a critical judgment? Most people believe we own the rights to our opinions, but how many of us slip over our rights and cast judgement on others for theirs? Where does it come from and what impact does this then have on us as individuals?
I asked my favorite coaching mentor Merci Miglino, Global Training Director for the International Coach Academy and an International Coach Federation Master Coach, if she could help me crack down the concept of judgment into some logical chunks with a sunnier outlook.
SS: Why do we judge anyway?
MM: While we must judge or discern to protect ourselves from harm either physical (there's a tiger in my room!) or emotional (the tiger is going to eat me!), we all too often judge out of a perceived threat to our ego.
SS: Always the ego!
While our ego will indeed take a punch every once in a while, it will never die. Not as long as we choose to keep a sense of ourselves as connected to all life. Think about our hero's - Mandela, Martin Luther King, Ghandi, etc. - their ego took a bashing every single day but they choose to rise above it because their mission was one of "connection" not separateness.
SS: So to conjure a healthy disregard towards judgment we need to find a greater sense of purpose for our cause.
MM: Well, we will always have judgements - they protect us - it's releasing judgement that offers us new possibilities, that engage our creativity and opens us to greater intimacy and connection.
SS: By releasing judgment we liberate ourselves. Professional coach training focuses heavily on supporting the client as they learn to release judgment.
MM: That's why coaches look and listen for the underlying belief, thought or idea that is causing a client disharmony or discomfort.
SS: The root cause of judgmental attitudes often starting with the 'self'.
MM: Once identified, the client can hold the belief or thought lightly while they explore or investigate whether the idea is working for them or not and what would be a more empowering belief.
SS: Negative judgment seems to be such a vicious circle.
MM: In coaching we often deal with harsh judgement of oneself - where we turn judgement on ourselves, leading to shame and low self-esteem which prevent us from truly being ourselves and in doing so living a life of self-appreciation and love.
SS: And when the harsh self-judgment is removed, the external judgment is lessened, enabling a shift of the perspective from a place of Judgment into one of Potential.
MM: From this appreciative vantage point, we believe or judge all things as possible - even when we do not know exactly how we can make them happen - yet.
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