Judgment is a constant evaluation of things: right or wrong, bad or good,… Whether you are aware of it or not, the judgment makes most of our days. But judgment often serves to prevent us from authentic connections with others, as well as being open to the creative energy from the universe. How to free ourselves from judgments? Does mindfulness help? And if yes, what are the non-judgemental mindfulness activities or mindset that you should have today? Explore.
We live in constant evaluation of things
Can you tell me honestly, what happens to your mind when you see a black or a white, a rich or a poor? What about a young or old, an Asian or a European person…? Similarly to people, we don’t hesitate to judge things that happen to us too. When it rains, or when it’s sunny? A crowded metro wagon you saw on holiday? Feel bad because you think you are not well dressed?
We live in a constant evaluation of things. Our minds automatically trigger a bunch of past experiences and information. And they do not come only from our own experiences. But also, from those of our parents, our society, and our past generations! And believe me, we judge, not only with regards to others but most importantly, ourselves! Below are a few examples. Do you find yourself sometimes?
- Have an emotion (e.g. falling in love with someone) and judge it as good or bad? This judgment leads even to more emotions!
- Don’t stop repeating to yourself that you “shouldn’t have had that thought”? Of course, you’ll have more negative emotions.
- Ever judge your body in comparison to others and feel that you are not attractive? Many do!
Does judgement serve?
You will tell this, and I admit it. That through human history, the evaluation of others, of the situation, and of ourselves has helped us in our survival.
Therefore, it can be very challenging, even terrifying to release judgment. Because this way of thinking has been so deep in our unconsciousness. Until today, even when it’s not still needed, we still think judgment brings us security. It’s considered a way to deal and escape from (real or perceived) danger.
But believe me, 90% of our judgments do not serve. On the contrary, they do harm. When you are perpetually occupied to evaluate, class, label, or analyze, you create big turbulence in your internal dialogue.
Why is it so? When we judge, we have thoughts, emotions, and deeds that can create self-imposed suffering. Come with judgment are fear and anxiety, anger, uncertainty, and other negative emotions. They prevent the energy flow to circulate freely.
“Judgment often serves to prevent us from authentic connections with others, and our genuine self… Judgment acts as a barrier that disconnects us from the richness, beauty, and nuance inherent within the universe”.Mindfulnessmuse
If we can free ourselves from judgments, we are open to a greater expression of love towards ourselves and others. We have deeper and more meaningful connections. It helps us discover the true beauty of the world around us.
Find below my 5 non-judgemental mindfulness activities and practices to start today.
Non-judgmental mindfulness activities – Try these 5
1. Observing our judgment
Mindfulness involves an attitude of radical acceptance and detached observation of the present moment. When we have a thought, an emotion, we can learn to observe them. We first identify the fact that our minds automatically label them as “good” or “bad”.
When we observe a thought or a judgment, we are not only aware of these. But we are also aware of ourselves, as an observer of the thought or judgment. At this moment, a new dimension goes in. That of a more profound ‘you’, behind the scene. By this simple fact, the thought or judgment loses its effect on you, because you do not totally identify yourself with the judgment, or thought. You are a separate observer. Additionally, mindfully observing our judgments helps us see deeply in them their true nature.
This observation is achieved by greater awareness, open-mindedness, and mindfulness of the present moment.
One thing I do want to stress though. Non-judgment does not mean that you “approve” everything, even those that go against your values. But we can learn to move into a place of emotional stillness and peace of mind. This will allow us to connect with the creative energy, that finally help change the world in a way that is meaningful to you.
Time for practice: Observation of our judgments
- Take a moment to sit calmly today for 10 minutes and remind yourself of a moment of strong negative emotion. You can do this at the moment when you have a strong emotion. Stop all and sit down. Simply observe your feeling, without trying to fix them or ruminate over them. There’s a space that opens up for yourself when you don’t react.
- For example, if you just felt horribly embarrassed. Observe it simply. Know that you felt embarrassed because you thought it was not good to react that way. Don’t react to your feeling of regret and shame. Just finding some room to know to return to yourself, and accept that you had that judgment. Remind that you are an observer of yourself and your judgment at the moment.
2. Understand deeply the roots of our judgment
In addition to observing our judgments, to be in a non-judgment state, we need to mindfully understand deeply why we have them.
As a fact, much more than we imagine, we are conditioned by our environment. For example, opinions and thinking of our family, our friends, and the society since our birth. But not only. Deeply in each of our cells, we inherited fear, anxiety, the suffering of our grand-parents, and all human, animal, plant, and mineral ancestors.
Accordingly, although we are infinitely free, most of us have become the prisoners of the conditioned reflexes and predictable reactions. Our reactions to our environment are repetitive and automatic.
Practicing mindfulness, we learn to be mindful of our emotions, thoughts, and reactions. Thanks to this, we can remind ourselves that our reactions are always our free choices if we allow them. Come back a moment, and observe the ideas, opinions, and reactions you have on anything. You can immediately see that these are decisions that we take.
Had a strong emotion over the fact that your colleague is promoted, not you? This emotion comes from judgment. That is “promotion is good”. Do society, friends, family always tell you to value job promotion, corporate ladder, and power? Is it what you really need, or what brings you happiness? Looking deeply into this helps you free from those influences and know what is truly meaningful to your life.
The above example showed that many of our judgments come from fear or insecurity inherited from our conditioned environment. Since they are most of the time unfounded, we can release them. And the important thing to know is this. By releasing your judgment, you pave the way for the best things in your life, that you care dearly.
Time for practice: Understanding the influence in your judgment
- Sit in a calm place, ideally after a meditation. Imagine the image of your mother, father, or someone who strongly influenced your life.
- Write down a list of his or her beliefs, opinions, strengths, and weaknesses. Then meditate on how these beliefs and ways of being have influenced the ways you see the world today. Anything you have copied from her or his fear, insecurity, beliefs, even unconsciously?
- Write down an example of judgment, you have on yourself, or others, that comes from this influence.
3. Recognize the value of diversity
When we understand the true value of diversity, we release ourselves from judgment. It is because the “good” or “bad” notion loses its meaning. We know that everything has a reason to exist, even bad things that happen to us.
Another contribution of mindful practices to non-judgment is the understanding of our inter-being. There is no reason to see the world with the eyes of “good” or “bad” judgment. Because we understand that there is no separateness. We recognize that all others are the same Self, the same Mind, in different appearances. We are all in one, we inter-are. Comes with this understanding, the true appreciation of diversity. And accordingly, no judgment.
Yesterday night, I read a tale to my children. Someone captured “Death” in a bag. As a result, nothing worked anymore, and it was a disaster everywhere. There is no such “good”, or “bad” thing. Yes, all that exists has a role, including the most terrifying and redoubtable “Death”!
Lastly, Esther Hicks once gave an argument regarding diversity that helped me a lot in letting go of my judgments. She said: The diversity of things, including bad things, help us know our personal preferences. How do we know what we do like if we don’t know what we don’t like? The diversity helps us identify what we desire. And knowing our desire is the first step in allowing what we want. Therefore, we don’t judge. We observe things as they are, and see the positive impacts they bring in our process of creation.
Time for practice: Recognize the value of diversity through observing nature
- Take some time to observe mindfully nature today during your mindful walk. Notice all plants, animals, insects that you see.
- Make a list of normal beliefs that they are good or bad. For example, the weed is considered bad. Wild plants need to be cleared out. Raven has a bad image… Release yourself from these beliefs, knowing that all is beautiful. See the infinite intelligence created everything for a reason. Thich Nhat Hanh once said, “There can be no lotus flower without the mud”. And that is true. The dirty mud has its role to play in natural cycles, to create this beautiful lotus, like any other thing.
- Bring a final thought on people, and things that you don’t like, and how you have been judging them.
4. Mindfully move from the ‘reference to object’ to ‘reference to self’
In the above section, we analyzed the fact that our judgment is conditioned. It comes from human life’s long-lasting fear and insecurity, as a response to a real or perceived danger.
How to move away from this fear, and eventually, free ourselves from judgment? There is a way: Move from the ‘reference to object’ to the ‘reference of self’. Not sure about what you hear? Let me explain.
With a ‘reference to object’, we base ourselves, our security, our satisfaction, and our entire existence, on the external world. For example, situations, circumstances, or people. We are pushed to search for approbation from others. We also have a tendency to approve or disapprove others. Going this way, we are always fearful. We also have an intense need to control the external world (which is forever temporary, illusionary, or simply impossible).
If we can move our experience from the objects of our experiences to our own mind, we have a ‘reference of self’. For example, if you are in love with someone, you see this person as an object. You seek to have his or her approbation. You can be anxious because she or he might find that you are not attractive. This is a clear judgment of yourself, caused by your “reference to object”.
But if you understand that this person who you love, is simply the reflection of the beauty of your own mind, you’ve come to a ‘reference of self’. Whether he or she loves you, or approve you, your love still exists. And you don’t need approbation, nor feel anxious about your attractiveness. Because you see that this love reflects your mind’s beauty. You will attract a beautiful person in your life, because of your love, not because of this specific person.
Therefore, this real “self”, your mind, your consciousness, is free of these channels of judgment. It is free from critics, of itself, and of others. Our self has no fear of any challenge. It does not feel inferior to anybody. Despite this, it is humble and does not judge, because it doesn’t consider itself superior to anybody or anything.
Time for practice: Reference to self
- Choose one person or object to whom you are emotionally attached, and observe your need for control, approbation, and power over them. Take time to practice the silence, mindfully connect with nature, and feel the infinite intelligence that creates this world, within you.
- Write down 3 times this affirmation in a notebook: Today, I stop seeing this person as an object. I don’t judge myself or my emotions. I’m not fearful nor having the need to control him/ her. All that I desire is within me.
5. Practice love and compassion
Love and compassion to yourself and others help release judgments. We don’t judge the emotions of ourselves and of others. Instead, we try to understand where do they come from.
Practicing mindfulness, we cultivate love and compassion. Thich Nhat Hanh once compared our heart with a river. If we put a handful of salt in a glass, it becomes undrinkable. But if we pour the same salt in a river, water is still pure. If our heart is as big as a river, we have the capacity to receive, embrace, and transform. There would be no place for judgment because we understand and compassionate with others. We know where their reactions, anger, or sufferings come from. As a consequence, we don’t judge.
When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sendingThich Nhat Hanh
This applies to ourselves too. We don’t judge ourselves, because we treat ourselves with the same care we would give a loved one or a good friend. Remind ourselves that we are imperfect humans, we stop judging. Did something wrong and spent a few days blaming yourself? Feel ashamed because you did not succeed? All these are judgments, that we can let go, once we learn to love ourselves.
Time for practice: Self-love meditation to release judgment
- Sit comfortably and bring your mind to stillness. Think about something you don’t like that much about yourself, or that you wish you didn’t have. Choose something uncomfortable, but not overwhelming. Notice what arises. It might be a sense of physical discomfort, or an emotion, or anxious thought. Give attention to all of it.
- Take time for self-compassion. On each in-breath, be aware that this is a challenge for you right now, and all people have challenges. Remind yourself that you are an imperfect human. And you are a wonder of the universe. On each out-breath, wish yourself the same happiness and wellness that you’d wish for your best friend.
Overall practice: “Today, I will not judge anything that comes”.
It’s a good idea to start your day with this intention. When you surprise yourself that you are judging, remind yourself of this engagement. If it is too difficult for you to observe this rule during the whole day, you can simply say: “During the next hours, I will stop judging”. Or “During one hour, I’ll experience the non-judgment”. You can lengthen the duration of this exercise gradually.
We live in a constant evaluation of things: right or wrong, bad or good… These are judgments. They prevent us from authentic connections with others, as well as being open to the creative energy from the universe. However, it can be very challenging, even terrifying to release judgment. Because this way of thinking has been so deep in our unconsciousness.
Practice today, five non-judgemental mindfulness activities, to release yourself from judgments.
- Create a habit to observe mindfully your judgments
- Understand the deep roots of your judgments, and acknowledge that they are conditioned by the environment, but also in each of your cells from generations
- In any occasion, remind yourself of the value of diversity. There is no such “good” or “bad” thing. Observe nature and find great examples.
- Mindfully move from the ‘reference to object’ to ‘reference to self’. Take time to practice the silence, mindfully connect with nature, and feel the infinite intelligence that creates this world, within you.
- And finally, practice love and compassion. We know where they come from, the reactions, anger, or sufferings of ourselves and of others. As a consequence, we don’t judge.
Will you practice with me? Say “Yes”!