When we judge someone else we are living out our human evolution by discerning how the other person is meeting our needs. Are they friend or foe? Will they compete or collaborate with me? Will being with them cause me to lose more energy than I will receive in return? Is this relationship worth engaging? Though judging and discernment is natural behavior, too often our judgment surfaces as more of a habitual response that harms relationships or disconnects us from life-giving conversations or actions. For instance, you might judge your parent, spouse, or child as “wrong” when they do not show up on time or clean up after themselves. Your response might be to withdraw from relating, or retaliating with verbal domination or violence. There is another way.
When you find yourself judging another, concentrate on what the judging says about your values and dreams. Our judgment about another says more about us than anyone else. Maybe you are irritated because your spouse did not do something he or she said they would, such as cook dinner. This tells you have a need for support, sustenance, ease, and dependability. Rest for a time in the energy of these needs without trying to fix the situation. Then consider the needs of your spouse in this situation. What needs were they attempting to meet? Perhaps some of the same ones apply, as well as fun, diversion, autonomy, and balance.
The hope is to open your heart to the full humanity of the other person, and to learn more about yourself and the other. When strategies for meeting needs to do not satisfy both parties, you encounter a wonderful chance to learn what values are important, what you long for, and how healing it can be to hold the other person tenderly in your heart as a precious being. Out of this spaciousness and presence, relationships can flow more from love and possibility, than from constricting unfulfilled expectations. Do you believe this? Try it and judge for yourself.
With the hope of healing,