“The highest freedom of mind comes from becoming non-judgmental.”Debashish Mridha
As much we try not to, we are constantly judging as human beings. Our mind is constantly involved in judging, in evaluating, in thinking. Mind’s nature is to judge so that we can differentiate between good or bad and right or wrong. By judging, we tend to find where we stand in relation to other people. Sometimes, it leads us to understand the things that require our attention. But being judgmental takes significant amount of our focus and energy to evaluate everything we experience.
The judging mind is often divisive. It closes you to people and new experiences. Most often judging stems out of our own fear and insecurities and results in being critical of things in ourselves and others. We judge people against what we believe life should or shouldn’t be or judge ourselves in comparison to others and end up criticising ourselves and others. Being unaware of your judgmental mind results in getting trapped in negative emotions, stereotypes, assumptions, biases or preconceived notions.
Judging others is our natural state of mind
Judging others and being afraid to be judged by others seems to be natural. We Judge others on their appearance, their trustworthiness, their authenticity or expertise. We know it hurts when we are unfairly judged, but inspite we continue to judge other people in same way. Instead of basing connections in understanding, it is human nature to believe others are different from us. Many times judgment to someone is a reaction and is not often intentional.
Our Judgment of others and self relies mostly on our own conditioning and is automatic. We tend to categorise those who have different preferences, lifestyles and values in a negative way and resort to distorted thinking. We form beliefs based on those judgments we make where we deem certain traits, people or things likeable and distance ourselves from those that we deem as not likeable. We spend much of our lives pushing people away based on judgments we make of them.
Because judging happens so subconsciously that we don’t realise we are judging and thereby is hard to break the habit of labelling others or generalising a person or situation. Since it is not intentional, to become totally non-judgmental may not be easy to achieve. However, being aware of our automatic judgements, we can choose to observe our judgemental mind without engaging with it much. Instead of habitually getting stuck in your judging behaviour, you can be aware of the nature of your judging mind.
Observing mind powers non-judgment
If we ever hope to become better at connecting with people in a more meaningful way, we must accept that we all have flaws, imperfections or shortcomings. If we want to know people’s intentions, we mustn’t judge them by their words, actions or behaviours. By frequently drawing conclusions or judgments of others, you end up creating lot of negativity in yourself and in those around you. This kind of non-acceptance makes you resistant to change and cannot attain freedom of being your true self and also cannot see other’s inherent true self.
Also, categorising as good or bad just pits you against yourself and other by using competition, punishment and leads to negative emotions like hatred, anger, and frustration. To live in harmony with yourself and your emotions is to live beyond judgment. Observing your judging mind non-judgmentally, you can go beyond the judging mind and open yourself to new experiences. This allows your authentic self without classifying it as something or categorising people or situations.
Moving beyond the judging mind
To be non-judgmental is to be involved with your experience by not grasping for more, neither resisting nor ignoring or avoiding the present moment. It is more about changing your relationship to your judgment. Knowing that they are temporary thoughts, and you don’t need to be swept away by them just because they arise in your mind makes you free of your judgments. Simply observing them provides a holding space without the need for either engaging nor suppressing or getting rid of the thoughts.
Not feeding your judgmental mind through justification, you can choose to allow things to just be without denouncing or clinging to them. The criticism will begin to fade and calms your mind. Setting down the judging mind, even for a short while keeps you open to the experiences itself. By simply being, you will be in a position to engage or let go rather than habitually be stuck in judgment. By observing your judging mind, we can avoid automatically buying into negative judgments. This transforms how you view your present moment and transforms your experience as you respond rather than react impulsively to people and situations.
Aim to quieten your mental chatter by being mindful of your thoughts. Notice when judgment arises. Recognise that you are being judgmental. Watch your thoughts for what they are without engaging, avoiding or clinging to them. Practice non-judgment by returning your attention to your present moment. Bring mindful, you can simply watch what comes up in your head non-judgmentally.
When you judge someone, you are conveying more about yourself than the other person and it shows your pre-conceptions. Instead of becoming judgmental or classifying it as good or bad, choose to observe and be curious. Seek to find out more information before you draw conclusions as to whether your judgment of the other is because of your limited view of the world, or is it because of bias, values, knowledge or experience.
Be open to your present moment experiences. This way, you can choose how you react to the situation without being controlled by the automatic thoughts that arise in your mind. It is always beneficial to replace your idea of criticising yourself with an acknowledgment of your strengths and things you are thankful for in your life. From this perspective, you will prefer to observe what you are doing or feeling rather than critiquing yourself.
Change the way you look at yourself. If you pride yourself on having a fixed mind, realise that it is based on your preconceived notions. Instead of having prejudiced view of things, see yourself as flexible. See yourself as a person who observes instead of judges. Avoid taking one position and sticking to it, rather be in harmony with al, proper, especially those whose opinions conflict with yours.
It is easy to judge other people by the imperfect things they say and do, but we very seldom judge ourselves in this way. We generally like to have our intentions understood, especially when on the receiving end of judgement from others, but we don’t extend same kind of understanding toward others. When we unconditionally accept people, we will rarely take offence at their imperfections and shortcomings.
View everyone’s experience as unique and be empathetic of y]the baggage others carry that is not always apparent. Listening to understand rather than judge can expand your point of view. Instead of criticising, try looking at their positive attributes. Often the things we don’t like about others are a reflection of our own issues or insecurities.
When you take time to observe rather than judge, you allow things to just be. As you become aware of your judging mind, you can break the cycle and end it there for that moment instead of waiting for a particular time in the future to achieve a non-judgmental state.
As you move away from judging yourself, you will no longer remain a person of a fixed mind. The labels and categories become totally unimportant when you change the way you look at their so-called value. You exist in harmony and you no longer see yourself or others as ‘good’ or bad’ when living beyond judgment becomes your preference.