Lately, I have been telling my husband that I am frustrated with being judgmental. It is a trait that I don’t admire in others, and yet I find myself judging things quite often. It makes me feel bad when I do it, and if I could wave a magic wand and make one of my behaviors disappear, I would definitely choose my ability to be judgmental.
I’ve been reading a book called Mind Calm, by Sandy C. Newbigging. I started reading it because I wanted to incorporate meditation into my life on a larger scale, and this book offers a meditation technique that gives your mind some peace. But I am finding that this book is doing more than just teaching me the traditional meditation I was picturing. It is helping my mind to calm down and stopping thinking so many thoughts all the time.
I am not done the book. I am at the chapter where the Mind Calm Meditation Technique is discussed. But I wanted to talk about one of the previous chapters that discusses the hidden causes of a busy mind. It includes a section on judgement, and I think this is a powerful point (the book is full of these) that can help everyone calm their mind a little.
My (Latest) Experience With Being Judgmental
When I judge someone or something, my mind gets very, VERY busy.
My latest bit of being judgmental, which caused my mind to become chaotic and my mood to become down, happened this past week.
My neighbor has bushes that are separating her yard from ours, and technically they are her bushes (she has made this very clear to us).
Because she is a neighbor that complains if your leaf falls in her yard (truth), and because she likes to do mean things (judgement), she has stressed me out many times throughout the years with her behavior (truth). From these past experiences with her, I judge her actions, and the meanings behind them, as soon as she does anything out of her home. And those judgements are always negative.
- She is standing outside to monitor me.
- She is getting ready to take off our fence again.
- She is going to throw crap in our yard.
- She is going to harm our dogs in some way.
On and on it goes.
Any time I see her doing ANYTHING I instantly judge it as bad for me. (The problem is that the majority of times she is doing nothing directly to us, and all I have done is made myself feel bad for no reason – which makes me feel even worse!)
Amywase, this past week she cut the top of the bushes – but she only cut half of them and left ‘our’ half a mess. Then, she went out to the street every day and made sure we saw her look at the bushes and how uneven they were on top and how unruly they were on our side.
Here’s the thing: We do cut our side of the bushes. It is something we have done since we were on good terms with her; however, in the start of summer she made a point of cutting the entire bush so that our side was cut too. We knew because the stems and leaves were all over our lawn.
So, I judged her to be doing this ‘half-cut’ as a sign of control. She is telling us, through her actions, that she controls what we do and when we do. It may or may not be true, but that is how I judged it.
How do you think I felt when I made that judgement? I’ll tell you. I remembered every little thing she has done to us over the years. My mind got busy, my stress level went up, and as my chaotic mind ramblings increased, I wanted to jump over the bushes and knock her out.
Essentially, she just cut her side of the bushes, but I judged the intent behind that to be negative, which led me to think about other negative experiences and try to come up with a host of solutions to fix the issue (like knock her out…or cut our half).
In short, being judgmental, in regards to my neighbor, took up my mind’s thoughts for a lot of the day. Okay…a few days.
That’s a lot of wasted thoughts!
That’s a lot of wasted time on something so negative!
Seeing Things In A Different Light
I’m glad that she did this before I read the part of Mind Calm that discusses being judgmental. It was a great example to work from!
Essentially, he says that if you can let go of viewing things as a problem (judging those things to be negative), then you will find that your mind has very little to do and becomes much calmer.
On Sunday, I thought about this as I listened to my neighbor working in her yard (a noise that often stresses me out). I thought about being at my parent’s house and how little I noticed the bushes – or even the neighbor’s yard. I thought about how little I noticed the neighbor’s noise there too. Moreover, I thought about how when I did notice the noise, I didn’t judge it as a bad thing. It was simply a noise that was being made by a neighbor.
So, I took a sip of wine and then I tried to stop labeling the noise from across the fence as something bad. I didn’t judge the noise as ‘my neighbor doing something to irritate us or provoke us’ but, instead, I just heard it is regular neighbor noise.
Guess what? I felt better! I was able to sit and talk to my husband in the backyard and relax! That it is something that I have never done when she is outside (wine or no wine!)
Since then, I have been noticing when I’m judging something and, more importantly, I have been removing the judgement and the desire to label that something as a negative thing. I am amazed at how much less I have to think about simply by doing this!
Try Not To Judge Your Next Experience Today
I highly recommend doing this. See a situation and don’t judge it as negative, which requires you to solve the problem in order to feel better; instead, view it as something that ‘just is’.
As he says in the book, “With no problem needing to be solved, the mind very quickly and naturally becomes still.”
Yes, your mind may fight against what you are trying to do and say, “Hey, you have every right to judge this as negative because (fill in this spot with all your normal reasons),” but you will find that the awareness of your judgement will help you see that you are simply labeling the experience as negative, and that doesn’t actually mean that the experience is negative. It is merely your perception…or judgement.
Also, if you really want to read something that helps you calm your mind, I suggest this book big time! You can read more about it on Amazon here: Mind Calm: The Modern-Day Meditation Technique that Proves the Secret to Success is Stillness