Sooooo, I just came from a meeting about judgement. What a topic! I try, really try not to judge to the extent of altering my behaviors and treatment of others, but I’m human. As great as it would be to claim to be completely void of judgement it’s a fairly lofty aspiration. I think it is important to acknowledge when it is happening and realize where it’s stemming from. Equally important is to not operate from the judgment.
In the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, (loose summation) he opens talking about how life is everyone’s own personal journey. I think he may have used ‘dream’ as the analogy. But how we are shaped by our teachers from birth, teachers being parents (superiors), surroundings, laws, etc. As we grow from childhood to adulthood we have a standard of normal/strange, right/wrong, good/bad shaped by these teachings. Everyone doesn’t have the same upbringing so this is where we are trained to see differences and judge them accordingly. Those standards then create the value system by which we measure our existence...and in turn others.
I was raised in a very religious household. I mean like church Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and twice on Sunday. As a child I remember clearly believing that anyone not Pentecostal, gay, smoked/drank, or cursed (insert anything at all on earth that was not directly church related) were going to hell. I wasn’t specifically instructed to believe I was any better than anyone but I was taught that our criteria for living was right and anything outside of such was wrong...with penalty of eternal damnation in a "lake of fire."
When I got old enough to start having friends in school or in the neighborhood, that made me question the validity of my value system. I played with these kids on a regular basis and met their families via lunch, dinner, birthday parties, and sleepovers and I saw that these people were good, and kind people. Different races and religions, smokers and cussers alike, still good people. Add to the fact, some of these families were financially better off than us at the time so, they were living a comfortable life and were still good people, this was intriguing.
By middle school where kids are vocally mean and judgy, I would be picked on for the things I wasn’t allowed to do like school dances and how incredibly fashionably inept I was (that damn purple wind suit). So where I was already questioning what I’d been taught, I was now grossly in the minority of socially acceptable behaviors and attire. Early indoctrinated judgement drew a line in the sand that I could only be on one side of. So when social pressures popped up contradicting a value system that I too was questioning, I had zero tools to access that said it’s okay to be different. A choice had to be made and it was either in(crowd) or out(cast) and as an adolescent this was a no-brainer.
I actually wrote out the rest of this as a full on blog but I wasn’t feeling it so here’s the rest more as a Thursday Thought (shortened and more direct):
My original judgement, ‘who I am versus who everyone else is’, spawned a series of thoughts, actions, and beliefs that nurtured a divisive existence. Maybe divisive is a bit extreme, but how I qualified acceptance was through a lense of either/or rather than both/and.
I’ve been really fortunate to be able to connect with people from all walks of life. This was a great thing socially because I could literally party anywhere with anyone. This was an even better thing in sobriety because I could connect with anyone (willing) and be of service. Holy shit!
Ok, so all that stuff about how I was perceived being the driver of my interactions and behaviors...it’s still a fucking issue! I was going to get to this point but it’s coming together right now. I’m getting on the bus and this dude I know very well from the treatment facility I was in calls out my name and says hi. I’ve had many extended conversations with this guy, I mean like heartfelt growth talks and I really liked him and his soul. I had earbuds in (as I always do) so I gave this uninvested, detached hello and found a seat, away from him. I immediately felt my bullshit. He looked pretty rough and I wasn’t able to control the perception of this interaction. Because I couldn’t control the narrative I avoided it. That’s soooo much ego and at the very root of it was a judgement of him as it pertained to a standard. Even more crazy is this is what I do, like, I help motherfuckers ALL of them. But when I do this stuff on the low and cloak it in humility it really may be that I want to be of as much service as possible on my own terms.
And while I’m writing a post (Where I Am) all in my feels about how I’m not really fucking with anyone on a regular basis and how it brings into question feelings of lower value; I DID THAT SHIT directly to someone who probably could’ve used love, light, or just the smallest show of give a fuck. Holy cow this is what all this is. I don’t need anybody reaching out on all the regular friend shit. I needed validation. I actually need to be submerging myself MORE in the realm of giving and doing for others and getting the hell out of myself. All the work I do with and for others on the phone, in my home, in the coffee shops, is great and I think that is an authentic desire to help. But the bullshit I pulled on that bus the other day negates all altruism and nobility.
I’m in a battle that I didn’t necessarily realize I was in. I’m always at combat with the ego but I have a very clear opportunity to change a behavior that will strike a huge blow to it, freeing up space for growth and providing more experience to share.
Everything is a piece in a puzzle. Every experience, the emotions stemming from said experience, and the response/reaction to it all. I’m lucky, because my heart’s desire is truly to be a good human, God/the universe will give me opportunities to step into that. But neither God nor the Universe can take the step for me.
Though I’m not in tattered apparel and looking distraught, the exact reason I walked by that man is my fear of being viewed the exact same way.
It’s simple. Judgments are founded in insecurities (fears). Either because we identify with something that we don’t want to OR we don’t identify with something that we want to. Actual self love, with a criteria of nothing more than trying to be better today than yesterday can start that process. Apparently I still got still got work to do.
Thanks for reading.