I don't like it, but to stop being judgmental is sort off like trying to quit a two-pack-a-day cigarette habit.
If only there was a patch to get me through those moments when I just have to make a judgment.
I can't stop myself. Just one more judgment, my ego insists. It can't hurt. Quit tomorrow. Just one more. Then I light up.
At least at those times, I'm making a choice. Most of the time, I just blow through judgments without thinking, force of habit.
I've actually stopped for a few days at a time, but then i get in rush hour traffic, or argue with a loved one and I just have to have a judgment. Next thing, I'm stopping at a 24-hour convenience store to pick up some more.
I've tried "judgment lights," softening my judgments of myself and others. But that doesn't work either, because there is no order of judgment. A small one has just as much impact as a big one, spiritually speaking. Filters are useless. I've event tried the "natural" judgments, the ones without harmful additives like "consequences." But the act of judging is still us telling our Expanded Selves that what we've created is not good enough, instead of recognizing it for the miracle it is.
I just have to stop, period.
Like many others, I got hooked in my formative years. I wasn't even legally old enough to have judgment, but I could always get someone to sell it to me. I thought it was cool to be judgmental. In high school, I used to hang out with the other judges, judging those less talented and fortunate and cool. We'd sneak a judgment at lunch and then after school in the parking lot.
It continued through college, where I was introduced to many other types of judgment, including some that were mind altering. By the time I'd graduated, I could judge others in many more ways, through science, politics and even literature. I think we called it being intelligent and discriminating back then. Nice euphemisms. But by whatever name, it was addictive.
I eventually went into the newspaper business, a high pressure job that had me drinking coffee and making judgments all day just to get by. We weren't officially allowed to make judgments in the newsroom, that was against our code of ethics, but it happened anyway. In fact, some editors secretly rewarded judgmental reporters and the editorial writers simply flaunted their judgment. It was a weird double standard.
Although the health risks of judging had been known for a long time, just knowing that judgments were turning my soul black was not enough for me, and millions of others, to quit. This was something that was beyond reason. You could have stamped the warning on the side of every self-help book I ever read, and it wouldn't have made a difference.
But now in my 50s, I've begun to see the damage it's done to me. I suffer from shortness of patience. My clothes, home and car all smell like judgment. Long airplane flights just kill me. Potential girlfriends can smell the judgment on my breath. I've even found that judgment can be harmful to pregnant thoughts or actions, damaging or destroying them before they could even form. But worst of all, I've done all that judging, and I've still gained weight.
Now that my circle of friends has changed and I'm creating more and more spiritually attuned people to come into my life, I'm embarrassed to judge in front of them, so I sometimes have to step outside on the patio to have a judgment. I feel alienated. But maybe that's the first step toward recovery.
Those in the know insist that the harmful effects of judging can be reversed, but I have to stop judging. I'm sure there is a 12-step program out there somewhere. Perhaps Robert Scheinfeld is at this very moment creating a Busting Loose from The Judgment Game program. I hope so.
In the meantime, I'm doing everything I can to change my consciousness about judgment.
But if you know where I can get some spiritual help, please let me know.
In other words, anybody got a light?