Pay it Forward: Become a Supporter of the Work. Learn More
You’re driving to work and a car cuts you off. You instantly judge the driver. Self-important! A toddler has a meltdown at the market. You glance at the mother and think to yourself, Pushover! A coworker makes a careless mistake and you assume, No common sense!
Our ego leads us to judge others every day. It happens whether we are aware of it or not. When we interact with others we often silently assess their morals, ideas, and actions because we are envious, need to feel superior to another, or because we simply become annoyed by someone’s actions.
Criticizing others makes us feel better about ourselves, but doesn’t really get us anywhere. It doesn’t help us grow, it doesn’t strengthen our connection to others, and it doesn’t bring more Light into our lives. Judgment is an emotional trap that feeds the ego and robs us of the opportunity to build positivity around us. “The truth is,” says Karen Berg, “that the minute we fall into judgment of others, ourselves, or the situation before us, we lose the opportunity to see and immediately act upon the chance to reconnect to the Light.” But by shifting our thoughts towards the positive, we can break the habit of judging others and open ourselves up to spiritual growth.
Notice how you feel when someone receives recognition for hard work. Are you genuinely happy for them, or does it highlight your perceived shortcomings? Jealousy can arise when others have something we want. In order to make ourselves feel better about it, we judge the methods by which they got it. When this happens, ask yourself if you’ve worked hard enough or been proactive enough, in the pursuit of your dreams. This kind of comparison can be a powerful motivator.
It is human nature to feel jealousy. However, we control whether we indulge in these negative thoughts and feelings or use the situation to propel us forward in our ambitions. According to Karen Berg, “When we are able to view our reality through the lens of personal responsibility rather than through the lens of judgment and blame, we gain the ability to free ourselves of the karmic influences that keep us experiencing the same patterns over and over again.” Next time you feel envy creep up when someone has received blessings, try congratulating them, even if it feels uncomfortable. Then ask yourself how you can plant seeds for future blessings in your own life?
When we measure ourselves against someone else we can begin to feel inadequate. Negative feelings arise and we may begin to make a habit out of searching for others’ flaws. However, judging the natural talents, characteristics, or blessings of another is more harmful to us in the end. While we may feel better in the short term, it stunts our growth and hinders spiritual transformation.
Make a conscious effort to shift your attention towards the positive. Look for the good in others. By flipping your habit of judging into a habit of seeing the good in all things, you’ll be more likely to stop the ego before it gets started. It’s also important to remember that when we are in the habit of judging others, we are probably also harshly judging ourselves.
Our goal should always be to connect to others and spread positivity. “Full awareness of our own intentions and motives is hard enough,” says Michael Berg, “so how can we pass judgment on another person’s life? ... If we accept that our understanding of the spiritual world is limited, it is foolish to imagine that we can see through the intricacies of the spiritual universe enough to penetrate the mysteries of other people’s destinies.” Every individual must walk their own path through life, which naturally comes with unique successes and failures. When we stop judging others we open up space for our own transformation.