Judgement

Stop seeking validation.

Stop fearing others’ opinions of you.

When people have done something they’re not proud of, or they’re about to, they’ll often say:

“Don’t judge me.”

They’ll make out like they’re all casual about it, they’re just joking, but they’re not.

But the sad truth is it’s already too late.

You’re constantly judging people, and they you, so deal with it.

When two people interact every little action causes an instant reassessment of the connection between the two.

It’s not even like you can control it, because most of the time it’s pre-conscious.

Plenty of studies now show for example that white people subconsciously judge black people negatively, even if they don’t think they do.

(Don’t believe me? Want to find out how racist you are, take the test. It’s called the Implicit Association Test. Google it. Do the Harvard one, NOT the buzzfeed one FFS.)

The implications of this are huge, think of your own associations if someone talks about a “terrorist.”

Point in case is the joke:

“what do you call a Muslim that flies an aeroplane?”

“A pilot, you racist bastard!”

But this is not the conversation I’m driving at here.

The fact is the human brain has evolved to use stereotypes to make sense of the world.

So when our brains attempt to work out whether new situation is “good” or “bad” they use short cuts.

When it comes to people this decision-process categorises people as safe, not safe, in my tribe, or outsider…

And our cultural stereotypes, built upon pure circumstance of where, when, and to whom we are born, and the choices we make from that moment forwards, combine to do the rest.

So, the only honest answer to “don’t judge me” is “too late, I already have.”

THE MORE INSIDIOUS JUDGEMENT IS THAT YOU’VE ALREADY JUDGED YOURSELF.

You are judge, jury, and executioner.

And if you haven’t already done the thing, then you’re saying “don’t judge me” in the full knowledge that you’re about to the thing that’s going to make you feel bad.

So in this instance, you’ve judged yourself negatively, assigned blame and guilt, and layered it on top of an already negative self-image.

And only then have you proceeded to do the ‘bad’ thing.

WHAT KIND OF MADNESS IS THIS?

It’s why meditation is such a powerful tool.

You can’t control your pre-conscious, or subconscious reactions, but you can give them a nudge in the right direction.

While cultural, situational, and cognitive biases make up a large part of what and who we are, both the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ whatever that means, those elements of our self can be manipulated.

So what’s the answer? Some zen-like acceptance?

Ultimately, I suppose it is. But what about the rest of us?

Well, while you can’t ever fully control you subconscious, you can lay some ground work so that it has better assumptions and biases to work from.

For example, going back to the studies that show that (some) white people are subconsciously pre-disposed to view (some) black people as a threat.

You can change this programming a few ways:

By questioning your own assumptions.

By exposing yourself the world outside of your echo-chamber, breaking down stereotypes, and creating new associations more in line with who you want to be.

And by practicing mindfulness which can help catch reactions as they happen, and give you the opportunity to moderate them, discard them, or accept them based on the situation at hand.

Ultimately, the goal is to create a situation where your instinctive judgments are more aligned with your higher self.

And this applies equally to everyday interactions, whether is around race, or class, or family, or money, or work, or yourself…

Yes you can and will judge people.

Yes you can and will judge yourself.

But if you get your ground work right, those judgements will come from a good place, and reflect positively on those your cast you judgement upon.

Rather than don’t judge me, you want your reaction to be:

“judge me, or don’t – it doesn’t matter! Your judgement and validation good or bad mean nothing to me. I know who I am, and I know my own mind”

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