[Excerpt from TT: 2008-05-14]
[Question] How do we let go of judging others? I try so hard not to have those “He is so…” “She is such a …” thoughts, but they pop in uninvited, like little snarky gremlins. I know that I am doing it and breathe and release the thoughts, but it is like my mind pops back and again says, “Yes, but she IS a …”
[Michael Entity] One cannot “let go” of judging others. It is a natural part of Being. This is why we describe one of the Chief Negative Features as being “fear of judgment.” It is not judgment that is the issue or obstacle, but the fear of it. However, one can learn to manage judgment to be a tool and not just a form of entertainment or defense. Judgment is an important part of any sentient being’s form of navigation through life. This is one way to help with the problem of judging unnecessarily: to ask if it is helping you to navigate, or if it’s just entertaining you or defending you. We use the word “entertain” specifically here, because however uncomfortable or negative one would like to think of those “snarky gremlins,” they are often purely for entertainment, much in the same way a cat will hone its hunting skills by swatting at anything moving.
Judgment is a SKILL. It requires practice. Most of you practice by entertaining yourselves through judgments of others and of things, but those judgments are not a form of navigation anymore than the swatting cat is actually hunting. Seeing those judgments for what they are can help you to use the skill more effectively when applied as a form of navigation.
You are taught that it is wrong to judge and that it is unhealthy, bad, etc, but as with many natural, beneficial elements of life, the problem lies more in the misunderstanding and misuses than in the element, itself. Fighting judgment as if it is bad only complicates the problem of developing the skill to be of benefit to you and others. For most, you are taught that it is wrong to judge because it is not your right, and if you develop the skill of judgment, then your skills of discernment and validation are benefited, and most institutions and religions can do quite fine without your fine-tuned skills of discernment. In addition to this complication of misjudgment, we have yet to see a person be able to “stop judging” without actually using judgment to judge the process.
What we would suggest for those who wish to develop the skill of judgment is to simply clarify where that judgment falls in terms of its usefulness: Navigation, Entertainment, or Defense. Making a mental check mark next to the judgment against the mismatched colors of a woman entering the coffee shop as being entertaining can be helpful.
Making a mental check mark alongside the judgments against a person that are voiced with intent to hurt as being a form of defense can be helpful. Making a mental check mark next to the judgments that allow you to maneuver your way out of difficult situations as a form of navigation can be quite helpful. Using your judgments to help refine and define your judgments will help you to build it as a skill, but using judgment as a way to suppress your judgments will only enforce the wriggling “gremlins” that do not disappear simply because you judge yourself.