How to Handle Judgement Mindfully

The experience of getting judged, whether directly or indirectly, can feel like a heavy blow. Someone else is saying we are less than, we aren’t good enough, we have failed, we are on the wrong path, or we are a disappointment.

Even the strongest of us have a human reaction to judgement. We all long for acceptance, connection, and unconditional love.

Perhaps the most common topics we experience feeling judged about are our views on religion or politics. The palpable sense that, If you’re not doing it my way, you’re doing it the wrong way.

I recently experienced the weight of judgement from someone very close to me. My initial reaction was to feel hurt and hopeless. I could foresee this same judgement continuing to be leveled at me for years to come. It felt like a heavy weight that would not budge.

In an effort to walk my talk, I didn’t try to run away from the feeling. I tried to observe the feelings I had and why I had them. The more I sat with this dynamic feeling, the more it began to shift. While it was true the person judging me will probably continue to do so, when I turned the mirror on myself, I started to see places I could clean up my own attitudes and judgements.

As much as we’d like to think people will change, the reality is the only person we can change is ourselves. My experience of being judged inspired me to get soft and sensitive to other people whose decisions, beliefs, or lifestyles I might not subscribe to myself. As open-minded as I like to think I am, I saw places I was being inflexible, whether through my words or my actions.

I literally felt a softening happen in my heart as I owned up to this chink in my own character.

I once went to a yoga class where, for the last five minutes before savasana the teacher instructed the class to practice whatever poses they chose. As bodies began to move freely and uniquely, the instructor commented, “Notice how it’s possible for us to all move differently in the same space.”

Her words sunk in deep as I moved honoring my own pace, needs, and breath. The entire room seemed to be a moving metaphor for our world.

We all inhabit the same space of this earth. It is entirely possible for us to honor our own truth and the truth of others. We can’t change other people, but we can choose to “be the change we wish to see” by opening our hearts a little wider and softening our insistence that our way is the only way. When we judge others we slap a label on them that blocks us from seeing their deeper beauty, our universal connection, and our common humanity.

May we all march to the beat of our own drum, but sing the same song of love.