Do you ever find yourself knee-deep in a shit show of regret after being overly judgmental with someone? Each day we subconsciously make small critical judgements that can have some very big effects on our overall happiness and our relationships with others. We scrutinize Instagram clothing choices or lack thereof-, the car they drive, how quickly they accomplish a job, their intellect and whether or not they’re worthy of dating.
Even though we genuinely want to respond graciously, personal opinions can quickly veer into the territory of exploding brain matter, boiling blood and hurling slurs. This could permanently damage a relationship. The ego is conditioned to fight with word daggers since it keeps us safe, but it also prevents us from connecting. It prevents us growing.
Below are some ways you could be blocking healthy communication.
- Looking down on a friend for their choices in (fill in the blank)
- Criticizing your partner for not perfectly placing the dishes in the dishwasher
- Second guessing a close friendship due to political differences
These reactions all come from impulses (responding without thought of consequences) rather than responsiveness. Vince Gowmon author of Let the Fire Burn, has a brilliant way of looking at it: “Instead of trying to stop ourselves from thinking judgmental thoughts, an easier way is to look through the eyes of wisdom and compassion”.
It only takes a nano-second pause for awareness to be acknowledged
Leo Babauta in his simple 4-step method to avoid being judgmental, uses DUAL
(and no, that doesn’t mean hand your sparring partner a sword):
- Don’t pass judgment. We can’t assume what’s best for anyone but ourselves (and maybe our children–and even that’s debatable, just ask a teenager)
- Understand. What’s their backstory? We can never know what unseen trauma someone has endured.
- Accept (try to). We’re all doing the best we can. Yes, even your self-centered little brother and or emotionally numb mother
- Love them…and yourself. This is not a “love is blind” type of thing where you stuff it down with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Loving someone despite the differences changes lives. It diffuses turmoil and leads to a brighter existence without unnecessary frustration. We’re all here to evolve our way back to our true nature–Love.
Here are some common impulsive reactions we’ve all been guilty of, and some response substitutions that are much more helpful:
❌ You aren’t doing this right
✔️This is different from what I expected
❌ If only you would stop…
✔️ It seems as though __X__ might be getting in our way
❌ Why did you do that?
✔️ What motivated you to do that?
❌ You’re wrong
✔️ My experience has been…
✔️ I see this differently…
❌ You’re lying. I don’t believe that.
✔️ I’m confused about…
❌ That’s ridiculous
✔️ I hadn’t considered that. How will that work for both of us?
❌ You make me mad
❌ You’re making me feel…
✔️ I get upset when…
✔️ I feel…
It takes effort to build a communication bridge between two humans especially when we haven’t dug deep enough to find commonality. The antidote is curiosity about the other person and where they’re coming from.
I challenge you
👉🏻👉🏽👉🏿 Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to observe your thoughts and triggers today. Notice when you want to spontaneously punch someone (call them names, push them into traffic) you catch my drift. Then…you have a very small window between your desired reaction and your actual one. PAUSE and take two deep breaths. Only then give yourself permission to respond with compassion or tell them you need to excuse yourself and take a ten-minute break. Release the constriction in your body so you can return to the conversation with poise.
Have a wonderful Thursday!
Im very interested in your thoughts and any ideas on new topics 🙂
You can always reach me on Instagram