Have you ever been super judgy about something and then later realize, “Hey, wait. I actually do that too?”
Damnit. My ego hates when that happens.
Judgment clouds our inner compass. Our truest highest selves don’t judge, they don’t have to because they are knowing, and if we listen to our intuition rather than relying on judgment, we can surrender to trust in our highest selves. When we judge, the comfort of being right or better than the thing we are judging is sharply flipped to reveal our own truth. Our inner self gently nudges us from within and then we judge ourselves for judging. When we judge others or ourselves, we are entertaining a distraction from the opportunity to truly understand our own behaviors. Plain and simple, this is a denial response that delays our own growth and healing.
When we find ourselves judging, this is an ego signal, and one that is very healing if instead of judging we were curious. Everything around us is a mirror of what is going on inside of us. The things that irritate us, turn us around, fill us with anxiety or butterflies, are all opportunities to address what is going on within us.
When we befriend the ego and see it instead as a guide to help us along our healing journey, our work becomes much easier.
A while ago I was driving my car, exiting the freeway. I stopped at a stop sign before turning right off of the freeway. A pedestrian was crossing. Not wanting to run them over, the natural thing to do is to remain stopped. The driver behind me could not see the pedestrian, so they honked their horn aggressively at me. I continued to wait for the pedestrian to cross, and took a slight bit of delight in knowing that the pedestrian would enter the view of the driver who would then see they were wrong to honk their horn at me, which is also ego, right? Just deciding someone is wrong, that’s all ego.
And I have been that driver, the horn honking, I have important things to do, why don’t you drive better, driver. I’ve been that guy, so I know how it feels to honk your horn at someone and then slowly realize the person in front of you isn’t distracted, but the absolute opposite. I don’t honk my horn anymore unless I’m in potential danger. I don’t know about you, but nothing teaches me a lesson as well as embarrassment, really.
This journey through judgment began, for me, years before impatient drivers (myself included). One dark and early morning, I was running with my partner at the time when suddenly, he tripped and cursed loudly. I stopped, looked back, and could see he was standing over a large tree branch that had been cut down and was laying on the sidewalk. He continued on, cursing the ignorance of the homeowners who left a branch to obstruct the sidewalk. I stood, feet planted, staring, wondering if it concerned him that he was going to wake the neighborhood with his rant.
As we began to run again, I quietly pointed out that we didn’t know who left the branch on the sidewalk; we didn’t know the owners of that house; and that for all we knew they could be ill or elderly, or for some reason unable to move the branch themselves. He considered it for a moment and conceded there could be something he didn’t know.
From these situations and several others, I came to a simple practice over time. Whenever anything annoys me, I ask myself one simple question: Could I be wrong?
Could I be wrong?
Have you ever struggled with something and then when the solution comes to you, it’s so…simple? There is always something we don’t know. The guy honking behind me could be on day three of no sleep because his spouse is in the hospital; the person who cut me off in traffic may truly just not have seen me there, or how about that one time I got ghosted only to find the guy’s kid was in the hospital? Life is tough sometimes, and if we assume that people mean as well as we do, realize maybe there is something we don’t know, it’s much easier to reign in the judgment and realign with our higher self and purpose.
Judgment is our ego-self acting out, trying to protect us. If the Dalai Lama is right, and love is the absence of judgment, then it makes sense that if we can quell the judgment, bring it down just a little bit, then we will be that much closer to our truest selves. Our truest selves don’t judge, our truest selves only love.
Could I be wrong? COULD I be wrong? The answer is almost always a resounding, “yes.”
My ego, my friend. I’m definitely not perfect, I still have moments where I find myself being judgy. The funny thing about that is accepting the imperfection is how we befriend the ego. Only the ego needles at our imperfections. Our highest selves love our imperfections. Accept your imperfections and when your inner voice is being decidedly judgmental, ask yourself…Could I be wrong?