A Point of View – Notes From the Road Less Traveled – Chapter 3

From My Place On the Wheel

awareness

awareness (Photo credit: paloetic)

I have been working to understand something recently.  I spend most of my waking life contemplating the situations I find myself in, and the people who are diligently playing their parts so that I may expand into a state of pure Awareness that is unshakable.

I am not there yet, not by a long shot, but I am sincerely working towards that goal.  This weekend gave me a couple of opportunities to put my pondering cap on. Some parts of these things I am still processing, but I feel I have had an insight around one in particular.

The question of the day for me has been:  When does a comment become a judgment?

People seem to throw that ‘J’ word around a lot these days, talking about how we shouldn’t judge each other.  But what, really, are they talking about, and do they even know the difference?

I had an encounter this past weekend where I made a comment, then an observation, about something, and the lightning-fast response was (complete with a finger pointed in my direction, I might add) “Judgment!”

“No,” I replied, “that was an observation.”

“Whatever you say,” (or words to that effect) as the person turned on their heel and strode away.

Me:  standing there confused. Feeling, well, judged,by the person I’d made the comment to. Yet if you had asked me to tell you in that moment WHY I felt that way, I would not have been able to identify it for you.

I had a wonderful long drive home, which gave me ample time to contemplate.  Driving is often a mindless activity, and I will confess to going on autopilot more than usual when on those long, deserted stretches of interstate.

When I arrived home, I went to two of my favorite teaching tools to do some research:  the dictionary and the thesaurus.  What I discovered there – which frankly surprised me – was that there are basically two levels of meaning for the word ‘judgment’.

The first definitions for the word were all about forming an opinion of something, usually after due consideration. Also, “to determine or declare after deliberation.”  Feeling, or impression also fell into this category.

Some of the other definitions for the word had a totally different connotation, and energetic feel, to them.  Condemnation, or to pass sentence on, or assumption, presumption, or conclusion.

Signature: L. Bramer 1643.

L. Bramer 1643. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, when does a comment become a judgment?

A comment becomes a judgment when there is the energy behind it that, especially when sent through a pointed finger, stabs at your energy field.  Whether you are consciously aware of it or not, it will impact your energy.

It will usually be delivered with great speed, by someone who does not know you, or at least does not know you very well.

I made my statement from a place of having observed the situation in question for years, on many occasions. The response came so quickly, there was no time for reflection or deliberation.  It came from a place of presumption, maybe, or assumption, perhaps.

The other person was someone who does not have a clue about how hard I work every day to transcend my human frailties.  I am constantly, earnestly, laboring to understand those layers beneath the surface; to discern where the Truth of Who I AM resides, and to bring that forward in Service as much as possible.

I am the first to admit that some days I do better than other days.

I had come to the place of concluding that it is actually the energy behind the words, the intention, that tips the scale towards ‘judgmental’ when I came across this quote as I prepared to write this piece:

Making a clear observation about a situation is NOT negative or judgmental.  It is only an observation. ~ St. Germain

All original material posted to this site is (c) 2012, Julie Marie. All rights reserved.

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10 thoughts on “A Point of View – Notes From the Road Less Traveled – Chapter 3

  1. Judgement, judgment, judgement!
    It triggers a lot of mixt feelings, mixt ideas and a lot of questions.
    To make a correct judgment, the judge must know what the truth is and what the lie is, or what are the correct answer and the wrong answer.
    When it comes to human experience, knowledge and understanding, the truth is partially known and often tinted with personal beliefs.
    Classroom teachers, judges, umpires, referees are some of the paid professionals for rendering a judgement, evaluation or giving their opinion with potential good or bad consequences for those being evaluated or judged.
    The questions that nowadays come to my mind whenever I want to pronounce my evaluation or judgement on some acts, behaviour or a body of works or words, is: “Who hired me for such work? Who is paying me for giving my evaluation? Who will be helped or harmed by my judgement? Am I going to get a fair exchange for my hard or skimpy thoughts called judgment? What will be gained or lost if I keep my opinions to myself?”

    • Such a sticky wicket, this one. I just composed a lengthy response and then hit the “wrong” button, thus erasing my words. Am going to take that as a sign…I will simply agree that sometimes the wisest choice is silence.

      • We are not all as precise as we would like to be. Due to fatigue, divided attention, distraction, I also hit delete, but when I have to rewrite, sometimes new and better insights come along. It happened to me more than 10 times while writing term papers for my classes. Well, I would have liked to read what you thought after reading my reaction and this time, I would not have considered your reaction as a judgement, there you are safe. Be sure of this: You are thought provoking in your blog and at the same time very inspiring. Thank you. You are a gifted writer and at the same time a treasured gift to us, your readers.

      • Ferdinand, Thank you for your kind words. When I write here, it is always my highest intention to remain as true to myself, and the truth as I understand it, as I possibly can. I rely upon people like you for feedback and inspiration. Please continue to keep me on track.

  2. …it’s interesting,..as an avid Blogger, i’ve been pondering lately just how argumentative and judgemental i can be with my comments ..oftentimes i can go in looking for something to disagree with(Judge)…..currently at this stage I can now recognize this negative “energy” within myself.. and i’ve discovered a space developing within me wherein i can ‘step back’,so to speak,and observe how i am about to respond, thus defining a clear CHOICE as to the ‘energy’ of my comment/response and not merely Reacting negatively to something i perceive (judge?) as disagreeable in some respect……..God help me..

    • This is a true conundrum for me. Where I stand now, my sense is it is the energybehind the words often, and not the words themselves that make it a judgment. It is a struggle, and it appears I am not the only one working my way through this one. Thanks for sharing your point of view. And I agree: it IS about choice in the end. And our ability to respond from that place of non-attachment (and therefore) non-judgment. Methinks judgment energy originates from our ego-place. Now, I’ve gone and opened a whole NEW can of worms, haven’t I?

  3. This post is just so relevant to me right now. Not to be “all about me” but… I have read and reread this several times. I am smarting from an observation I made to someone and they took it as a judgement and actually it WAS a judgement and I feel justified for various reasons for having said what I did. But was it worth it? I had the power to hold back but this person kept prodding and I can only just be so good and polite. I had been polite in keeping my thoughts about this situation to myself for 7 years and a straw finally broke the camel’s back. But was it worth it? I know slightly off topic but reading this post makes me realize how much we all struggle with our words.

    “I made my statement from a place of having observed the situation in question for years, on many occasions. The response came so quickly, there was no time for reflection or deliberation. It came from a place of presumption, maybe, or assumption, perhaps.”

    “The other person was someone who does not have a clue about how hard I work every day to transcend my human frailties. I am constantly, earnestly, laboring to understand those layers beneath the surface; to discern where the Truth of Who I AM resides, and to bring that forward in Service as much as possible.”
    I so feel what you are saying here. Thank you for this post.

    • All we can do is continue to be honest in our introspection. I appreciate you taking the time to share this story here. I, too, can feel when I am in judgment, and usually I regret whatever it is I say in those moments of being totally human. You are most welcome. This was not an easy one for me, either.

  4. Hello Juliemarie
    I have also looked at this question over the years and make a point of checking myself when an observation becomes a judgement. Sometimes when I see young women who are scantily dressed….observation….I have to catch myself because my next thought would be ….they are asking for trouble…. judgement. It’s not always easy to be aware of our thoughts all the time and I also feel many people take on the role of victim and see all negative comments as judgements. Ah now is that observation or judgement?
    Love Sandie

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