Judging other people is a natural human instinct—one that, now that we’re in a global pandemic, we’re all doing times a million right now.
Have you expressed judgment about people who believe in the benefits of staying home, or about the people who are gathering to protest or clogging the beaches, or the people who aren’t wearing masks?
I read an article the other day that talked about corona shaming, where people will pile on celebrities, like George Stephanopolous, who had pictures posted of him at CVS without a mask just after it was announced that he had tested positive for corona.
I have experienced it myself. I went out on a walk the other day and a driver going past me shouted at the window, go home! I couldn’t help but realize that he wasn’t exactly at home, so I judged him for judging me for something that he himself was doing.
You could also be judging the people you’re quarantined with. Maybe you don’t like how they’re spending their time, or maybe you think they’re taking the corona thing either too seriously or not seriously enough.
Really, there are so many differing opinions and approaches to containing the coronavirus that it’s almost like judging each other is a secondary pandemic. And one pandemic is enough to deal with, am I right??
Let’s take a big, deep, cleansing breath with a big audible exhale and calm the eff down.
Whew. Now let’s take a calm look at all this judgment we’re feeling, why and better yet, rein it in.
What Judgment Is All About
Judgment feels really righteous and kind of awesome in the moment, because we’re feeling that not only are we right about something, but someone else is wrong.
I’m sitting up here like Judge Judy, gavel in hand, looking down at you. I render my verdict. Drop the gavel. Drop the mic.
Judging someone else in the simplest terms makes us feel better than. And then. That feeling better than feeling is so great, until it isn’t. Because if you’re feeling better than people, what you don’t realize in that moment of feeling righteous is that you’re also classifying yourself as separate from other people. And that is lonely. Especially now, when we’re already quarantined.
And I can tell you this: people can feel when you’re judging them. It does not feel good. It does not help you feel close to each other. Your isolation grows.
Stop the Judgment Cycle
I’m not here to judge judgment, or judge you for judging. Judging is part of life. It comes from the ego, which is your survival mechanism–it’s all about trying to figure out what’s going to keep us safe and what puts us at risk. It got us this far.
But the ego is stuck in survival land. It doesn’t give a rat’s butt about being a good person. It just wants to be an alive person.
Judging is actually a great reminder that we’ve gotten afraid, and when we’re afraid we start lying to ourselves–that there’s not enough toilet paper to go around, or that people are out to get us, or that we’re losing somehow.
Judgment shows us what we’re afraid we can’t have. If you’re judging folks who don’t wear masks, maybe you’re afraid you won’t have that carefree approach to life any more, or at least any time soon. If you judge folks who hoard toilet paper, maybe you’re afraid of looking selfish. We all have these weird hidden fears, there’s no shame in them. It’s only by bringing them in to the light that we can see them—because you can only heal what’s been revealed.
Healing the Patterns that Lead to Judgment
So what’s the opposite of lying? Telling the truth. The truth is, love is always, always, always more powerful than fear. Just remembering that you’ve gotten stuck in fear again will help you feel better, because it will suddenly make sense why you’re feeling catty and mean. Of course! You’re afraid again.
Today I encourage you to take a moment to jot down all the things you judge. You can do it on the back of an envelope, or in the notes on your phone, or in your journal. Whenever you get that catty “can you believe they are doing that?” feeling, just write it down.
You want to see what your judgments are trying to tell you about what you’re wanting, deep down, but feeling like you can’t have.
Often these can be pretty hilarious. When you only hear your judgments inside your head they can seem like the voice of the great and powerful Oz himself, but when you write them down, you see that it’s just a little white haired man in a funny suit.
Then ask yourself, what do these judgments show me about what I secretly wish I had? You can’t fulfill a desire you don’t know you have–so let’s just see what’s hiding in plain sight inside your judgments, whaddyasay?
I would LOVE to hear that you’ve done this exercise–come find me on Twitter or Facebook at Katewhanley–don’t forget the W! Or on instagram at katehanleyauthor. You can give me a fist bump or post your favorite Judge Judy gif to let me know you’ve done it, and I will send you a virtual high-five back.