“If her past were your past, her pain your pain, her level of consciousness your level of consciousness, you would think and act exactly as she does. With this realization comes forgiveness, compassion, peace.”—Eckert Tolle
Judgmental people wish their beliefs, their habits, their way of life on others. They look down their nose at people who don’t live up to their potential. But, your way feels right, you say. Well, your way feels right to you because of who you are, and it IS right for you. But, it is arrogant to think that others should act, be, and make the same choices that you do. For all of our differences, as long as we aren’t out there raping, killing and molesting, we deserve love, respect and acceptance.
During our personal-growth travels, we’ll inevitably find things we don’t like about ourselves. Many of us will learn that we are judgmental of others. We will realize that if not conquered it will erode our pathway to enlightenment. But, how does one change from being a judgmental person to being a person who accepts others for who they are?
To start, re-read the preceding quotation. Once you realize its truths, you’ll accept others without judging them. Secondly, just in case this is your first venture into self-improvement, don’t be hard on yourself. It’s only when you realize your short-comings and do nothing about them that you should feel guilt or remorse about not putting forth the effort to learn how to be a better person.
Keeping the quotation in mind, say you see someone in line at the post office. She wears faded-gray sweat pants, a ratty T-shirt, and dirty tennis shoes. In your judgmental days, you’d be aghast that she could leave home looking like that. You’ve judged her to be uncaring of her appearance, or you’ve judged her to be poor, or you’ve judged her in some other way. But, now that you are a student of personal growth and are trying to get rid of this unfavorable side of yourself, you see that there could be a myriad of reasons why she chooses to present herself that way. Perhaps she’s a beauty and she’s tired of all the leering. Perhaps she’s in deep grief from a personal loss and so she does not care about her appearance. Perhaps she was doing some gardening when the post office called about a package she was eager to get. It could be any reason. The point is that she is who she is and you are who you are. How one presents themselves in public is none of your business, nor is it up to you to dictate how another person runs her life. Your way is right for you. Her way is right for her.
Another example: Someone speeds up to your bumper and rides there until it is barely safe to pass. Your prior self would have judged her. You might say to yourself or your passengers, “She is one disorganized person. She should have left home earlier.” Your new self realizes that she could be rushing to help her elderly father who just called to tell her he fell and thinks his hip is broken. It could be anything other than your perception that she is just not as organized as you are. Even if she IS a disorganized mess, who says she needs to be more organized? You? You are a stranger to this driver. You haven’t lived her life; you cannot know what shaped her into who she now is. All you can do is empathize. When you’re empathetic, you have no reason to feel bad thoughts about others.
Now that you know how to not be judgmental, when the urge to be judgmental rears it ugly head, just think of all the reasons this person might have for doing what you deem to be the “wrong” thing. Soon, you’ll have a new habit of going around with compassion in your soul for the people in which we share this world.
As a student of personal growth, your payoff is huge, and when you become non-judgmental you will indeed gain “forgiveness, compassion and peace.” It’s a wonderful feeling to be unsaddled from thinking ill of others. This is not to say that others will quit judging you just because you aren’t judging of others. After all, they may not yet know that there is such a thing as being non-judgmental or of becoming a better person! It’s sad, but they may never know. You just continue on your journey. Remember, it’s none of your business whether they are on a path of enlightenment or not; your business is with building a better you. Keep it up.