The Man In The Arena

For the past 40 days, I have been focusing on the issue of judgment. Specifically, to see how and when and perhaps why I tend to judge myself and others.

As I have been engaging with this practice, its become clear to me that I tend to judge and criticize others because I seem to hold and operate from a series of internalized rules of how things are or are not “supposed” to happen.

These – mostly unspoken and unwritten – rules of how things are supposed to be often is the source of a lot of my seemingly self-righteous anger. In short, because I have been operating under the premise that because these rules have been unconsciously (or consciously) governing how I think I should behave, think, or act – I believe others should also follow the same rules as though they were holding the same series of conscious and unconscious beliefs.

Where this belief has been the most impactful in my life has been in the area of work. Specifically, because these rules tie into my own feelings of worth and value.

In working with judgement, I have noticed that I become “angry/judgmental” about the professional actions of others because my internalized rules about how things “should” be done are directly tied to worth. If I do the thing that I “should” do, and am rewarded for that action, that demonstrates that I have worth and value. If I don’t do that thing, or don’t succeed doing that thing than I have no worth or value. These beliefs in turn shaped how it was that I show up in various situations, but also what situations and opportunities I feel open to exploring.

But because I wasn’t aware of this – i.e. that I had a series of beliefs that were keeping me limited – I would often react NEGATIVELY to the actions of another person who was doing something they wanted to be doing.

PLEASE NOTE: I also wanted to be doing some of these things that others were doing and felt I could’t be doing because of this unwritten, unspoken, and previously unconscious belief about how things should be done.

So instead of being able to see that someone else was engaged in acts that allowed them to define how they valued themselves and what opportunities were worth their time and effort, I often see another’s activities as being in direct conflict with something that I also wanted. Without being aware that I was the only one standing in my way.

So the questions I have for you, the same questions I am working to answer for myself, are: When you find yourself in judgment, what can you do to take a moment to pause and question the validity of your anger/resentment? What things might enable you to create enough space between an external stimulus and your inner reactions in order to see if perhaps some unspoken and unwritten rule might be at play? As you inquire, can you notice what connection, if any, do these rules may have with your sense of value and worth?

As you ask yourself these questions, I would like to encourage that you be as kind and non-judgmental with yourself and whatever you may find. After all, by being kind, non-judgmental, and non-reactive with whatever you may find, you are creating space for inspiration and change to take form.