worried manI felt restless yesterday. I paced around, my mind jumped around, I expended a lot of energy being busy but not being focused. It was not until this morning that I sat still long enough to pay attention. I had judged those thoughts and feelings yesterday as “bad.” I paced around thinking I should do something to stop feeling that way. Of course, that’s like lying in bed saying “Sleep, dammit, sleep!” Totally useless.

I have spent a few days thinking and writing about letting go of judgments, labels, and the ways we categorize people and experience. This was an example of that. I judge things and people all the time, sometimes obviously, sometimes subtly. “This is a good pie” is a judgment. “I like this pie” is a statement of preference. “He’s a jerk” is a judgment.   “I don’t enjoy being around him” is a personal preference. “I have to stop having this restless feeling” is a judgment. “Hmm, look at that. I wonder what this restlessness is about” would have been helpful.

Two things occur to me. Making those kinds of judgments have a huge impact. Such judgments close off possibilities for seeing something new or learning the lesson I need to learn. Think of how a judgment shuts down a child’s enthusiasm. As a kid, my fear of being judged negatively kept me from ever attempting some things I wanted to do. If I did pursue something I liked, it often took only one negative judgment to keep me from going further.

Judgments also say far more about me than they do about the person or thing I am judging. The judgments represent my perceptions, my fears, my biases that are coming out. They may or may not have anything to do with the other person.

More about that tomorrow.