“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ~ Carl Jung
The kabbalists teach that where we place our consciousness is what stays with us. In essence, it’s what we create in our lives. When I look at another person and choose to see darkness, I awaken that darkness within myself. If I spend a day judging ten people — “they have such a bad attitude,” “I can’t believe she made that choice again,” “that is so wrong” — then I have brought an equal ten elements of darkness into my own life.
This is a powerful teaching, but it doesn’t need to incite fear or dread. It can actually be an incredible tool for our own self-awareness.
When we understand how potentially damaging a judgment of someone can be, both to us and the people around us, the act of judging no longer feels “good.” And while in moments of weakness it might bring us a mini-surge of ego power to think less of someone else, it doesn’t last and creates nothing positive. Judgment only leads to hurt, be it to yourself or others. It limits our growth and separates us from ourselves, from our experience, from our loved ones, from our emotions and our ultimate potential as human beings.
The principle of cause and effect is an important one to the teachings of Kabbalah. Everything we think, do, and say (cause) creates something in our life; experience (effect.) Like anything else, we get to choose whether we are creating something positive or negative. The choice is always ours.
Everyone has good and bad; duality is a necessary part of our lives. If it weren’t for duality, we wouldn’t have the power to choose, and choosing to see the good in those around us creates more goodness than we know. Finding the good in a person or situation not only brings love onto the scene, but it creates that goodness in our lives too.
For example, let’s say that a close friend of mine has made a decision that I don’t agree with. At that moment, I have two clear options; I can judge and invite that negativity, or I can choose to say, “I know that everybody has good and bad, but I am going to focus on the goodness.” I can share with my friend that I’m there to support her no matter what and that I love her. I can guarantee that this will bring about much more love and connection than any judgment would!
Again, we all have positive and negative tendencies, and these tendencies awaken depending on our consciousness. Remember the principle of cause and effect. It is delightfully simple.
When I think a positive thought or focus on something positive, I awaken positivity within myself.
And conversely, when I think a negative thought or focus on something negative, I awaken negative forces within myself.
What makes it challenging is that we get tricked every day into awakening something negative. Reading headlines in the news, being thrust into situations with difficult people, physical ailments, daily responsibilities — these all provide us with plenty of reasons to judge, and while these judgments may feel perfectly justified at the time, they never are.
Our thoughts, words, and judgments have energy. When we can have the awareness that these seemingly innocuous elements of our lives carry big consequences, every moment becomes an opportunity to create positivity. That co-worker that is always running late is giving you an opportunity to bring more Light into your experience. That challenging conversation you had with your family member is helping you to strengthen your consciousness of peace and love. All by choosing to see the good.
No one is perfect, and judgments are bound to happen, so here is the next piece of working with our judgments: start with yourself. Don’t judge yourself for judging! In fact, don’t judge yourself at all. While we hold judgments against others, we hold many more toward ourselves. What we will find though is that the less we judge ourselves, the less we will find ourselves judging anyone else. Judgments can often act as mirrors; they reveal to us something that we have yet to love and accept within ourselves. That doesn’t mean we make our bad behavior okay it’s just that until we accept it and bring it compassion, we can’t heal it.
The next time you catch yourself judging, recognize the judgment and find the good. Next, grow from it and ask whether or not that judgment might be something that you see in yourself.
I use the following mantra whenever I feel a judgment creeping up:
“When I measure and compare everything against the yardstick of my vision and ideals everything falls short because this isn’t an ideal world. It’s a real world with real people; growing, making mistakes, learning, and evolving. Judgments block energy and hold negative patterns in place. I release all judgments I place on myself and others.”
THOUGHT INTO ACTION
Where have you been judgmental lately? Are those judgments mirroring something within you? Either way, work to find the good instead and see how that shifts your experience of what you’re judging: even if it’s yourself.