Judment needs to be confronted mindfully
At times, we will be put in situations where we have to face someone who judge's us based on something we've said, something we've done, how we look, who we love, or something else . This judgment can be expressed in how they treat you, react to you, or through gossip and whispers.
When confronted with judgment, the first reactions normally are to fight it, to brush it off, or to deny it. The reality is that judgment elicits an emotional response. We can say we brush it off and don't feel anything, but that is not the entirely true. Judgment brings out emotions that some of us would rather leave alone.
Emotions are not better left alone. In our mindful practice, we have learned that emotions are best resolved when confronted and acted on, rather than dismissed and ignored.
In our emotional state, it may seem the best reaction would be to confront the person who judges and try to defend your position. Upon reflection, however, that action will usually be futile, as the person judging you is not likely to change the perspective around the situation, no matter what you say. In our mindful practice, we have to let go of the ego's defensive position and embrace the reality of our emotions.
In a mindful way, we can then acknowledge the emotion, but not let it diminish our sense of worth, or cause us to doubt our own position or convictions. Emotional responses are like thoughts, they come and they go. They are fed by denial and the more we fight them the stronger they dig in to our mind. In our mindful practice the most difficult, but important thing to do, is open our minds to the emotions.
There are Monks who have been practicing mindful meditation for decades who still have difficulty embracing negative emotions. It takes practice and skill and even then, it's hard. Our emotional responses come from somewhere deep within. To fight them only makes them worse, and to hide from them only makes them linger. The only solution is to open up to them in a peaceful, mindful way, letting of the ego that tells you to fight.
When we are confronted with judgement an anger builds within, an anxiety that is difficult to recognize, but you can feel it in your nerves, in your heart rate, and in the way your body tenses up. These physical responses are unpleasant, but they aren't permanent. They last as long as we allow them to. Always remember, the mind controls the body. Thought and breath can ease the tension.
This is where we bring our practice of meditation to work for us. The way the body tenses can be resolved by focusing on the breath and letting go of the tension. When we focus our thoughts on the emotions and acknowledge them, one by one, we breathe through and let them run through our mind. Then we focus on releasing them on the exhale and clear space in our mind for more positive thoughts.
Then we have to release ourselves from the judgement we have for ourselves for allowing these emotions appear. We have to be sure not to judge ourselves for these emotional responses. If we judge ourselves then we are putting ourselves at odds with our emotions. Instead of acknowledging them, we are judging them, and they cannot be resolved without acknowledgement. To not judge ourselves again, we focus on our breathing. We quiet the mind, and think about how our body is reacting. Then we begin to release the tension on the exhales.
Once we get our own judgment under control, we look at the reality of the one doing the judging. When we think about where the judgment comes from, we realize that the judgment says more about the person doing the judging than it does about us. If they judge our intelligence perhaps they have an insecurity about their own intelligence. If they judge our appearance, it is probably a reflection of their own insecurities. If they judge our life, perhaps they are not happy in their own life.
When we start to think this way, we will start to feel empathy for that person. Empathy doesn't mean we condone their action, it just opens us up to see things from a different perspective. We don't know what they are going through, or what filter they are judging us through, But if we are secure with ourselves, that shouldn't matter. By focusing on empathy, we take the control back. Regardless of what the other person is saying or doing, we don't let them hijack our emotions. Their opinion is just that, their opinion.
If we allow ourselves to focus on their narrow opinion of us, then we get stuck in a negative emotional place. By releasing that, and seeing it from a different perspective, we allow ourselves to stand tall to the criticism. Then we can move forward and be proud of who we are and what we do and release that judgment from our minds. We embrace our own truth. No one can take away our authentic truth, no matter what. They may not like it but that doesn't matter.
Every day we are reminded of things we should let go of. Every day we have to practice letting go of the negatives in our lives. At times, that may even mean letting go of a person, and that's okay. If we cling to these judgmental people we run the risk of having to confront that judgment over and over. When we let go we can focus on forgiveness, embrace the positive in our lives, and move on.
Forgiveness comes from the heart and it releases us from the burden of hanging on to the negative. We can forgive without being asked for forgiveness. We can forgive without having to say it out loud to anyone. Forgiveness starts in our hearts, and when we focus our meditation on forgiveness, it heals the part of the heart that may have been broken or injured during the judgement.
We are filled with an endless capacity for compassion, empathy, and forgiveness. When we choose to focus on those things, rather than the judgement. we allow ourselves to be free, to embrace a peaceful life, and to bring more love into the world.
The point of our mindful practice and meditation is to embrace our emotions and resolve them positively. This is how we free ourselves from judgment, and this is how we open the world to more love!
No Judgment here!