Judgment is a Curious Thing

by Wendy Bright-Fallon

Judgment is a Curious Thing

by Wendy Bright-Fallon

The battle goes on in our head all the time – the constant, relentless, ceaseless chatter of judgment. About you, me, her, him and them.

Destructive.

Judgment is not a comfy bedfellow. It sneaks up on us – the not measuring up, not feeling good-enough, the scale that’s off, the new size clothes, the constant ‘no,’ feeling under appreciated. All wrapped up in comparison.

Judgment comes screaming into the picture when we think we are right and someone else is wrong. It happens often with our view of politics, religion or food choices. It starts wars.

Let’s talk specifically about food judgment.

As integrative health and nutrition counselors, we often coach about the importance of being REAL and letting go of perfectionism and doing things ‘right’ all the time. With this in mind, I posted on social media some time ago about my dinner comprising of cheese, crackers and wine. I titled it, Confessions of a Health Coach. For the record, I was not cheating on a detox. Nope, not depressed, sick or sad. I was enjoying a night of choosing not to cook and I was happy and content–I was in gratitude and people took offense to my personal choices. Why? Because of labels. Because of their story. I could see the thought bubbles: I can’t believe you are eating that! How could she even consider that good for her? How can she tell others what to eat if she’s making choices like this?

We are all a work in progress.

Perhaps the recovering alcoholic sees my post as self destructive behavior and the vegan sees my cheese entree as a destructive vehicle to global warming and animal abuse. I get it. I understand these views. We are all on our own journey. We see the world through our own personal experiences and I am not immune to this dialogue. (If you’d like to dive into this idea a bit more, I highly recommend the commencement speech from David Foster Wallace called This is Water. In it, he talks about each of us walking around being the center of the universe. It is brilliant and humbling.)

Letting go of the reckless and relentless judgment is so much of THE WORK we all practice every single day. It’s not easy.

Gratefully, the more we recognize it, the more we can let it go.

At Nourish, it’s different. It’s a judgment-free zone. How nice is that!? I get to practice this every single day and create a safe place to let it go. As health counselors, it is our calling to hold space for non-judgment. We are good at it. It’s not possible to move on to a better place when judgment hangs heavy in the air. So, if you are looking for a safe space to be free with your thoughts, emotions, habits and challenges with your health–schedule a time with us. We are also launching a Nourish community group called Magna Vita which might be a good fit.

Ways to work with judgment:

  • Pause. Our DNA is wired for judgment. We wouldn’t survive if we didn’t judge people’s character. However, this can go sour to easily. So pause and breath before you feel the sting or sting someone else.
  • Become curious. As you become aware of judgement (either of self or of others), you’ll find you have a choice to break the habit. Curiosity can lead you to reframe your thoughts and be more gentle with yourself and others.
  • Let it go. As Don Miguel Ruiz talks about in his book The Four Agreements, “Don’t take things personally.” Criticism is not all about you, it is about the person’s story.
  • Seek to understand. We are more alike than different. We all want love, happiness, safety and to eliminate suffering. The Dalai Lama says: “People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.”
  • Practice being kind…start with yourself. Too often, we are more judgmental with ourselves – which cascades easily to judgment of others (enter our ego). When we practice compassion and kindness with ourselves, judgment just doesn’t stick around.

for more reading: What would happen if you….changed?

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