“Would you like another?” my server asked. As my eyes raised, I caught a shiny glimpse of something which had the unfortunate result of triggering a reaction in yours truly. “Yes, thank you” were the words I heard coming from my mouth, but the real Mary would have said something different altogether if I didn’t have a strong filter. My server was adorned in… let’s just say no small amount of body glitter. And before you go asking yourselves why I was in a place that involved both servers and glitter, I can assure you that it was not what you may think. Ha!
I was instantly annoyed. “What kind of person does that to attract attention to themselves?” I was neck deep in judging the appearance of someone else. Before long, I launched into venting my unhealthy judgment with my friend and, in mid sentence, my dear friend Nick replies, “What is it that you don’t like in yourself that is causing this strong judgement towards a stranger?” Damn! I got caught in judgment.
With this bold question, we began a journey together that helped me land on a precious lesson in dealing with judgment and how to cultivate a healthier response when it creeps up. So let’s break this down a little further.
Ok, I’ll admit I was a little confused by the question. What the heck does body glitter have anything to do with the way I feel about myself? Well as it turns out, quite a bit actually. So let’s take a look at the 1st step towards processing judgements.
I CALL THIS STEP, LOVING RECOGNITION.
Basically, something happens in your world that causes you to assign meaning to or interpret a set of circumstances. Your interpretation is, naturally, framed by your own beliefs and experiences—particularly the experiences you’ve had which have shaped your beliefs about yourself and others. Basically you get triggered in the present about some old emotional wounds from your past. For example, this waitress is wearing body glitter, I’m now annoyed and sarcastically wondering why anyone would do that at work. She must really be wanting attention. She must be insecure. That’s it. There’s your interpretation… and can you see where this is going?
Once you recognize you’re judging it’s time for some great compassion on yourself. Give yourself permission to be human. Allow yourself to open yourself up to the possibility that this is one of life’s beautiful lessons that is giving you the opportunity to grow and become a healthier person.
THIS STEP IS CALLED RADICAL COMPASSION.
Whenever we judge, it is because we are actually judging ourselves. We our projecting our self judgments onto someone else. So I encourage you to meet this with some sweet self love.
Your next question should be to ask yourself, “What about my collective experience, even my past, makes me react this way?” Is it because you have done or currently do the same thing? Maybe not. Search yourself. Judgment is a mirror to look and feel for past wounds. Something about this experience may have brushed up against a past hurt, regardless of whether it was inflicted by yourself or by someone else. More often than not, the way this event played out revealed something about yourself that you don’t like.
So back to the glitter, I found that I was frustrated by how I have in the past changed myself in an inauthentic way to get attention and to feel loved. I was annoyed because I have felt the need to posture myself in order to be accepted. Wow. Triggered for sure!
Ok but don’t stop there. You’re almost done!
You’ve done all this great work to become aware of yourself and your heart.
NOW, LOVINGLY EMBRACE THE THIRD STEP OF SELF FORGIVENESS.
Healing happens when you verbalize forgiveness to yourself and even those past experiences which still linger with us. For example, “I forgive myself for the times I felt the need to posture” or “I forgive myself for judging myself as..” or “I forgive myself for buying into the misbelief that I am…” and then tell yourself the truth. The truth is I am loved. The truth is I am enough. The truth is I am loveable as I am right now.
This powerful process of becoming present to learn and process our judgments opens the door for deep healing and in return so much more love and compassion that flows to other people.