I know this may come off as controversial but I'm gonna say it anyway.
Judgement is a good thing.
Judgement keeps me aligned with my values. It is my spidy senses coming to the surface to check in to see if everything is all good. Judgement is the cop at the car window saying "I'd like to hear it from the lady."
You know when you get that sense in your belly, that something just is not right? You get that feeling that says...mmmm...nope. That feeling is your judgement coming to the surface and ensuring you are in alignment with what is being said or what is transpiring.
Judgement, in fact, has gotten us out of more trouble than many of us care to admit or even know. It's what makes us think twice, it's what drives us to safety, it's what keeps the 8th brownie out of our mouth. But it also gets us into trouble when judgement turns down the wrong path.
When judgement turns into blame or shame...well, now perhaps we've gone too far. When we start beating ourselves or others up for only taking 9,500 steps, for eating 3 brownies or for not being a perfect parent we have taken to the dark path of shame haven't we?
There are so many easy examples: Politics, War, Vaccines, Freedom, Religion. We all look towards these charged topics and we have built an internal alignment with our values and beliefs. We have also then taken it into the dark wooded forest of shame. Our internal dialogue is less than poetic, we point fingers, we publicly comment, we are passive aggressive, we tsk our tongues. We remain silent.
So how do we stop at the wonders of judgement and not dive into the horrible world of shame and blame?
Hold onto Awareness
Hold onto the idea that this life truly is an apprenticeship. That the actual number of steps don't matter and that it is more important to be physically active. That I don't feel good about myself when I polish off a bottle of wine with dinner. That listening to Trump speak makes me cranky and sad.
Holding onto awareness is so damn hard. It's why I am returning my Fitbit. I tried and frankly, it turned me into a shame queen. I compared my stats to my husbands, I worked towards as many steps as possible, I would do the mindful breaks just for the checkmark. Honestly, I think it was the worst device ever for me - that's why it's going back today. I was constantly checking and comparing. This little experiment did create some awareness however and for that awareness, a week with a FITBIT was totally worth it.
my sleep routine is a treat
my days are better when my mornings are quiet
my evening exercise creates a beautiful division of work and home
Holding onto Otherness
I don't have to understand other people to hold respect for them. This is one of the hardest things to apprentice with. I don't understand how a murderer could murder but I respect the fact that their life has been so hard, that this was a consequence. I don't understand someone who gaslights you, but respect the fact that something in their lifetime made them think that gaslighting is ok.
Can we truly look at someone's attachments, statements, or actions and instead of shame them for what they did, understand how they may have gotten there?
I'm not saying you have to like them, befriend them or surrender to it. I'm just saying that when we can look at someone and see their journey, perhaps we can respect the hardships they have been through.
Because no one is born an asshole.
Holding onto Gratitude
I have a wonderfully amazing girlfriend who has had a recent and significant amount of trauma in her life. As she carries on with these traumas as part of her life now, she works very hard on ensuring that these traumas were FOR something. Everyday, she kisses the ground for the chance to be grateful for the chance. She builds a life that has strong cornerstones of grief, gratitude, grace and grit.
She admits that grief often takes over the day when grit needs to rest and that gratitude doesn't always come gracefully. That blame and shame often raise their dark head and that it is grief that holds them close to her chest, that it's grit that keeps them from taking over, that it is grace that allows the unexpected reminders and it is gratitude that alchemizes them into the beautiful woman she is today.
May you experience blame and shame alchemizing into release, gratitude and growth.