Engage in and experience events, rather than judging them.
When you indulge in judging the events and interactions of your life, your mind becomes a tempest of critical thoughts. Evaluations replace awareness and judgments lead to distance and dissatisfaction.
Choose to approach life with openness and curiosity rather than judgments, and to participate fully in each present moment experience. You’ll find you get more enjoyment, feel more connected and have greater peace of mind.
This is good, that’s bad, she’s right, he’s wrong, that’s okay, this is not okay. How often during your day do you have some sort of judgment going on in your head? How many of the events and experiences of your life do you only half-attend to, because you’re so busy critiquing, evaluating and categorizing them in you mind?
Early Training in Judgment
I still at times drop back into the old habit of judging the activities of my life rather than engaging with and experiencing them. How about you?
Most of us were well trained from a very early age to judge and evaluate. Practically from the time we were born, we heard things like, “What a good girl/boy.” or “You did a good job!” or “Bad boy/girl, why did you do that?”
You likely began to think of yourself and all of your activities in terms of being good/bad, right/wrong and so forth. And you likely quickly learned to judge the words, behaviors and performance of other people and things. “She’s naughty.” “He’s doing it wrong.” “This ice cream is good!” “These peas are awful…”
Are You a PJP?
So, like me you probably also grew up to become a PJP. A Perpetually Judgmental Person.” “I love her.” “I hate him.” “She’s such a bitch.” “He’s a good guy.” “I can’t stand that.” “How can she dress so hideously?” “He’s such a jerk.” “Isn’t that crappy?”
On and on it goes throughout our lives. Not only do we judge others continually, we fret and worry about the judgments others have about us! Our minds run at high speed, assessing ourselves and others, doing mental check lists, weighing the data and determining whether things are okay or not okay.
That means constantly referencing the past for benchmarks and criteria by which to judge. It means continually projecting oneself out into the future to imagine what might happen or what might be needed. The perpetual judgment game requires a tremendous amount of attention and energy that can alternately be spent experiencing and enjoying life more fully!
Give Up Judgment as a Way of Being
For me, it got to be exhausting! I was stressed and anxious much of the time. Until I began to understand that there was another way to be – that I actually had a choice whether to continue through life as a PJP or not!
The alternative to evaluating is to be fully present to whatever you’re doing in the moment. To be engaged with the people and activities at hand, without needing to make any meanings – positive or negative – about what’s going on.
When you participate in life with your awareness in the present moment, there’s no space for the mental activity of judgment and critique. When you choose to give your attention completely to whatever person, conversation or activity you’re involved with, you will experience less stress and anxiety, which translates directly to greater enjoyment and peace of mind.
What You Can Do
Awareness is the key to peace of mind. Breaking out of old unconscious habits and patterns of thought and judgment requires that you observe and become aware of what your mind is doing.
- Start each day with a conscious intention to be less in judgment and more fully present with the activities of your life.
- If you notice that you’ve slipped into an old pattern of assessing or judging yourself, others and the situations you’re in, stop. Then mentally step back letting the critical voice in your head go silent as you do.
- Take a deep breath and bring your awareness onto your body. Your breath and body are always in the present moment, so they can serve as an anchor for you to return to at any time.
- Consciously turn your attention to the activity at hand, and choose to immerse yourself in it completely.
- If you find yourself beginning to disengage and to mentally critique or comment on what’s happening, just stop once again. Breathe, pull your awareness back into the present and re-engage in the moment.
I’m happy to share that I’m not longer a PJP, rather an OJP (Occasionally Judgmental Person). For me, it required a process of re-training to be more present, more of the time. I’m not perfect at it (which is in itself an evaluation). But I am much more aware and able to more easily set aside the tendency to judge so that I return to the moment, where Peace of Mind exists!
Give It a Try!
So now give it a try yourself. Take on the project of retraining yourself to shift from PJP to OJP.
One more thing, there’s no need to make yourself right or wrong for how you do. Just participate fully and have fun with the process!
Thanks for reading,
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