What to Do When You Find Yourself Judging
Judgement: admit it, we all experience it from time to time — people, places, objects…
The problem isn’t the judgement — how can we help it? — the problem is when we don’t know where it comes from and, therefore, we don’t know what to do about it.
Well, here’s a lesson that might just change your life…
Unreconstructed in the City
I’m just back from a week in LA, completing an advanced coaching certification, and then a five day family holiday in New York.
I was surprised, after the first couple of days in New York, to find myself judging it. And judging it a little negatively.
Unreconstructed was the word that came to mind. Somewhere that hadn’t quite kept up with changing tastes. Somewhat unenlightened.
The city I used to love felt old-fashioned; like something out of a Jay McInerney novel. The hustle and bustle felt pushy, rude, unhealthy in mind and body (words that surprised me because they were so, well, self-indulgent LA-speak!)
I wouldn’t even have said that I particularly like LA. It’s big, too big to get around comfortably. For its size, it seems to lack the culture vibe that I’m used to in European cities.
That said, what I found myself judging about New York was the lack of a juice bar and an organic vegan restaurant on every corner — things about LA that once felt novel and amusing.
Here’s what I do when I know what I’m feeling isn’t right…
When I have a reaction to something (or at least when I notice I’m having a reaction!) I know to pause and question it.
I know that there is nothing out in the world that can cause this, and that my experience is coming through what I’m thinking — meaning that there is nothing good or bad about New York; while it may be different to LA, there is only my thinking that can cause me to experience it as less than, lacking, or not good enough.
This happens everywhere and, mostly, we’re unconscious if it, asleep to the negativity whirling around our mind. Negativity that will influence both how we feel and how we behave.
It’s easy to look around and find something that looks as if it’s causing these reactions.
It really looked as if there weren’t enough organic grocery stores in the otherwise hip neighbourhood we stayed in; it really looked as if the upper East Side was still living in the 1980s when we wandered into the cute French bistro. It really looked as if that physical reality was the root cause of my judgement.
But, what happened to me last week is what happens to each of us, every day – we find evidence for the story we’re making up, not vice versa.
The moment I questioned what I was thinking (what I was judging!) about the vibrant and exciting city, the more I began to experience the aspects about it that I loved – how accessible central park has become over the last couple of decades, how many more parks have been created along the riversides, how friendly and helpful people were the instant we looked like lost tourists trying to figure out the subway.
When I’m in LA, I spend time with people who live there. I hang out in one neighbourhood (because I’m studying), I do things I probably wouldn’t do as a tourist, and I don’t do things that most tourists would do. I have a different experience because I’m creating a different experience.
What’s around me is always neutral — and then I ‘make up’ stories that I live into — which is what I’ve been doing in LA each time I’ve visited.
It’s easy to allow the unconscious stories we create every moment of the day to somehow become a ‘truth’; to become something we need to change or to hang on to, or to struggle against.
What’s Truth Anyway?
But what if changing your experience was as simple as seeing that it’s a story?
Seeing that there’s nothing about it that’s inherently ‘true’ and the only real truth is that you are the creator of your own experience. I don’t mean this in a personal-development-ra-ra way — I’m not saying “go out and create your experience!”, I mean it in the sense that we are, literally, seeing our thoughts, seeing what we think, not seeing what is actually out there.
What if changing your experience of something was as simple as knowing that this is the way we ‘create’ reality; this is ‘true’?
There’s nothing to do, nothing to change about the circumstances or about what it is that you’re thinking; simply to know, as Descartes postulated,
We think, therefore we are.
It’s the moment we realise we are the thinker that wakes us up to how thought is creating our every experience, and that which is created from thought is exactly the same whether we are awake or asleep. The only difference being that, when we’re asleep, we call it dreaming and, when we’re awake, we call it reality.
What if that reality you experience during the day isn’t quite as real as you think it is?
What might that open up for you….?
I’d love you to let me know!