Relinquishing judgement


Recently I’ve added a short addition to my daily invocation to the Universe and intention setting spiel – also known as prayer – which is something I say at the beginning of every day, to round off my morning meditation or morning writing.

It usually goes a little something like this: “Today please help me to choose love over fear, kindness over harshness and please continue to lead me to my highest good and highest potential. Thank you!”

My new addition is: Please help me to transform judgement in to loving compassion.

Compassion, compassion, compassion. Defined as: understanding and empathy for the suffering and unique situation of others. I’ve put it in place because I’ve become dead-set serious about relinquishing and releasing the judge from within me.


An old friend of mine lambasted me a while back for being really judgemental. I recall the accusation most vividly in relation to a mutual friend of ours who was blatantly cheating on her boyfriend – unbeknownst to him (they weren’t in an open relationship). I was all-consumed and indignant: “How could she do this? So awful, selfish, I can’t believe it!”. I was probably standing on a chair, hands curled in rage. You get the picture. You’d think I was the one being cheated on, the way I reacted. My judgement came up with a vengeance.

Little did I know at the time that my reaction was in relation to an old emotional wound that I had – and really had very little to do with our friend who was doing the cheating teaching (okay, something freaky happened while I was typing just then, I meant to type ‘cheating’ but instead I typed ‘teaching’ without realising, until I reread the sentence. I’m going to leave it there because it’s PERFECT).

Because it was teaching me. The judgement coming out of me was a teacher – I just didn’t want to listen. The painful tug inside me which had me mouthing off vitriol was trying to teach me about something in need of healing within me – and standing in judgement wasn’t going to help. But here I am, years later, realising the lesson.

But whither the compulsion to judge? At the time my friend accused me of being too judgemental, I was offended and also confused. Don’t we all need a little judgement in our lives? The answer is, actually, no. I think sometimes for ease of processing we tend to try and compartmentalise people, events and situations in to ‘good’ and ‘bad’ – but if we dig deeper this is largely for our own protection. The judgement mechanism ‘helpfully’ constructs itself to prevent any potential future wounding from occurring. It’s our reptilian brains taking care of us.

But there comes a time in our spiritual evolution where we don’t really need that kind of protection any more.

Judgement separates us from the person we have judged. When in reality we are all connected.

Where I made the mistake was conflating judgement with discernment. But they’re different. Quite different. Judgement comes from an unresolved emotional wound within us, needing to define something as either good or bad. Whereas discernment goes beyond surface level judgment. With discernment we can assess the situation/person/event as it presents itself and create preferences for ourselves, but without the loaded backpack of pain and emotion employed when we pass a judgement – and labelling in accordance with our often limited views.

So using the example of my friend cheating, I could replace judgement with discernment that she’s on her own path, with her own lessons to learn, and leave my condemnation at the door. And then (crucially) feel in to what triggered me to judge in the first place.

The fact is that none of us, least of all me, ever knows the whole picture of a situation, the nuances of someone’s actions, the path they’re walking and the fire they may need to walk through to learn their lessons.

It’s not right or wrong. It just is.

And also, ultimately, entertaining judgements of other people also ensures that, yep, you guessed it – I’m judging myself just as harshly. Which I just don’t want to do anymore! So enough is enough, I’m bringing it to the conscious surface and I will be as vigilant as I can when it rears itself in my presence. By no means am I expecting this judgemental behaviour to go away entirely (I am human after all), but I’m turning it in to my teacher –  it won’t just be something unconscious that occurs with frequency on a daily basis, as it used to be.

Now when I feel a rush or compulsion to judge, I know that it’s stemming from an emotional wound I need to pay more attention to.

It’s the universe holding up a mirror, giving me a gentle nudge and saying, ‘honey, maybe this is something you need to take a closer look at’.

How do you go with judgement? Have you explored the difference between judgement and discernment before? Got any tips to share?


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