You don't have to live stressed out and exhausted.
A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine was telling me about a guy where he works who had told him that he had recently started trying to live his life being without judgment of himself or other people and that he felt much happier. So my friend said to me “hey maybe that is a blog post idea, live happier by being non-judgmental” (side note: since writing this blog you would be amazed how often “hey that would make a great blog post” comes up in daily conversation). Although the concept that nonjudgment is a key to living happier isn’t a new one, it wasn’t one I had actively engaged in–in my life. As a therapist and teacher, I pride myself on being pretty non-judgmental, pretty open to people and their lives/life choices. But I know I have a tendency to be pretty judgmental on myself, and so I wanted to try the experiment and see how it felt.
So I decided the next day I would start trying to live a life of being non-judgmental and then blog about how I felt. As I said at the beginning, this whole concept came to my thought process a couple of weeks ago. Since that time I have tried to make it through ONE day with the consistent, conscious thought of being non-judgmental, unsuccessfully. Finally, I decided that it was too much to go with the goal of being non-judgmental. First (as I always say) you have to start with awareness so Monday I decided just to be aware and notice when I am judgmental and what I am judgmental about. The theory being if I can figure out what I am judgmental about I can bring more awareness to those areas and eliminate them. But my findings were very interesting.
Below is what I learned in my two- day experiment:
- I tend to be most judgmental of myself (not surprising).
- To that same end, many of my judgments about other people come from some place of insecurity about myself. I see someone who has a nice body or looks especially cute, and I make some judgment about her intelligence to make myself feel better that I don’t have that body.
- Much to my dismay, I tend to be more judgmental when I am around certain people–so if someone around me is judgmental and I don’t know them well or am not particularly comfortable with them, I tend just to go along rather than stop the judgment.
I admit part of the reason I didn’t want to write this blog post is that I didn’t want to admit I am judgmental and I do judge myself and others more than I thought. But what I found most enlightening about this experiment (which I hope to continue and falls nicely in my year of love theme) is that judgment is directly correlated with my level of insecurity. I am very live and let live about people and their life choices. However, the areas I am personally insecure about are the areas I tend to be most judgmental about in myself and other people. If we can start eliminating the insecurities/judgments it stands to reason we would live happier because we would be less insecure, less worried about the outside world, more grounded, etc. Now I don’t know if the goal of completely eliminating insecurities and therefore judgments is a realistic one–but it is totally worth a shot to decrease them.
So today I challenge you to your Non-Judgment experiment. Just for the day notice when you are judgmental. What are you most judgmental about both in yourself and in others? What are the themes that emerge? Remember the key is to be non-judgmental about your tendency to be judgmental (as hard as that is).
I would love to hear from you about your experience–were you surprised at your judgments? Did you find similar findings that your judgments=your insecurities?
I will keep you posted on my non-judgment experiment as the year goes on.