By Leo Gura - May 1, 2014 | 16 Comments
How judgment is destroying your ability to be happy and how you can stop it.
Hey, this is Leo from Actualized.org, and in this video we’re going to talk about the topic of judgement.
Let’s talk about this topic of judgement. Very critical topic for doing deep levels of personal development. I’m very excited to break into this one and crack it wide open. What is judgement, and why should we care about it? Why is it good? Why is it bad? What can we do about being overly judgemental? Let’s talk about that for a second.
What Is Judgement?
Ultimately, let’s get an understanding of what judgement is. Judgment, when you judge someone or something, or some situation, or yourself, ultimately what’s going on there is that your mind is bifurcating the world. It’s splitting it apart. It’s putting arbitrary divisions into a reality that is undivided.
You’re seeing something in reality that you either like or dislike, and you start to label it. Usually the labels are good and bad. You look at things in the world, and you judge them, you evaluate them. It could be a person. It could be that person’s appearance. It could be that person’s behaviour. It could be that person’s philosophy or politics or religion. It could be what that person does in his life, the lifestyle they choose to live.
It could be a thing. You could look at a car and judge it as being pretty or ugly. Or you could look at a building. Or you could look at your computer. Or you could look at any number of inanimate objects, or even animate objects for that matter — animals.
The next thing you could judge is situations, circumstances of life. Maybe situations you find yourself in, things that are really gripping and troubling you and problematic. Maybe it’s a legal case you have. Maybe it’s some problem with the IRS. Maybe it’s the bill collectors that are after you.
Maybe it’s a nice situation you’re having. Maybe it’s the nice relationship you’re in, or the marriage that is going to go forward, or a graduation, or some sort of ceremony. Those are situations you could be judging.
The most important thing you judge is yourself. So many of us go through life judging ourselves constantly. Every little thing we’re doing — obviously, the big things we’re doing, but even the little micro things that you are doing in your life, you’re judging yourself for those. You’re telling yourself “This is good. This is bad.” You’re making these kinds of evaluations.
What’s going on here? Why is this happening? What’s happening is that you are using your mind for its survival mode. Your mind has evolved to help you survive in this world. It’s not really interested in your happiness. It’s more interested in your survival and reproduction.
Your mind is always on the lookout, putting valuations on things, situations and people, to make sure they’re in line with your survival. You’re trying to maximize your fitness. You’re always looking around and judging things. You’re looking and stuff and saying “Is that useful to me? Or is that thing more useful to me? What’s the relative usefulness of these things?”
Maybe you see something and it’s completely useless to you, so you disregard it. Or you label it as bad. Or you label it as good. What is good and bad? Good and bad don’t exist out in reality. Reality just is. It’s neutral. It’s completely neutral. You might think that good and bad exist, you might think there’s someone out there who’s really, truly bad, and there might be certain things that are truly good.
That’s not the case. That’s your mind. Those are thoughts that are creating this division within a reality that’s ultimately undivided. The problem with judgement is that if you go around judging things constantly, all the time — people, situations, things and yourself — then you’re going to be living a very miserable type of existence.
You probably know someone like this in your life — maybe a parent, may be a close or distant friend, maybe somebody at work. You know that guy or that girl who is always looking at situations and always criticizing them, always finding fault with something. There’s always something wrong. Something is not quite as they want it. It’s not as it ought to be.
You know those types of people, right? They’re critics, they’re cynics. The problem with that kind of way of living life is that you simply can’t be happy with that. Judgement and happiness, they really cannot coexist. Happiness is just being content in the moment and being satisfied with how things are. Judgement is the opposite of that.
It’s making divisions and telling yourself that things ought to be different. When things always ought to be different, then what that means is that puts you in a certain struggle and resistance with life. That means you have to change stuff. That means things are not perfect, things are not right.
You have to go out there and work, and fix things. People have to fix things for you in order to suit you. Living your life like this it’s a really losing game. It’s a game that’s rigged against you. You might think “But Leo, what’s wrong with judging things good and bad? Clearly some things are bad for me, bad for my life. It’s appropriate to judge those as bad things.
And certain things are great for my life, and it’s appropriate to judge those as good things. For example, a nice relationship, I would judge that as good. Something like someone coming and burgling my house while I’m out on vacation, we would call that bad. Isn’t that pretty obvious, common sense kind of stuff?”
Here’s the problem. You take it from that and then you keep going. It’s where it leads you. It’s like the slippery slope. What’s happening is that you’re thinking that you’re always going to be able to get the good. The problem is that when you’re making these divisions of good versus bad, not only are you not being true to reality, let’s even forget that argument for a second, but you’re always on the lookout for what’s better.
If one car is pretty and another car is ugly, you’re not going to want the ugly car, you’re going to want a pretty car. If this car is pretty, then the other car you see tomorrow might be even prettier, might be even nicer, so it’s even better. Now relative to these two new cars, the old one you had is bad. This new one is good.
Then the next day you might see and even better car, a car you like even more. It’s got even more features, it’s got better gas mileage, or whatever it is you look for in a car, better performance, looks more beautiful, can seat more people. Now you have an even better car.
Now this car you thought was the best suddenly is a bad car. There’s an even better car. Now you see where this is going. It’s going into a neverending cycle of looking for something better. What this leads to is endless action. No real end, no satisfaction. You are that hamster that’s chasing a piece of cheese in a wheel.
A Vicious Cycle
You’re just running around in that wheel your whole life. When you become very critical, when you become very judgemental, and you’re judging things all the time as good and bad — people, things, situations, yourself — then you’re never going to be satisfied. It’s a big game. You trick yourself.
You tell yourself “Well, if only I get a little bit of this good stuff, and I get rid of all this bad stuff then I’ll be happy.” Honestly, it’s the mindset that you’re coming at it from. If you train up that kind of mindset, then even if we give you all the best stuff in the world, what are you going to do?
You’re going to wake up the next morning and start using that diversionary mind you’ve developed over the years to again, within all the good stuff, you’re going to start finding faults. You’re going to start to nitpick stuff. It just becomes a huge trap.
One thing you’ve got to do is notice how much you’re judging things. This is a very unconscious activity that’s going on. You might see someone walking down the street as you’re driving on your way to work, or you’re driving back home, and you might see someone with some weird haircut, or some weird shirt, and you just spontaneously judge that person, make some sort of judgement.
“His shirt is ugly. That car is awful. That person said something rude. He’s a bad person. That idea is a stupid idea.” You’re alway going through and doing that. When you do this, what happens is you become very dissatisfied internally. It becomes very toxic. You might know these types of people.
These types of people become very toxic, and then it’s very hard to be in a relationship with them. It’s very hard to have them as a friend. Literally, their toxicity will infect you. These types of people will tend to attract other types of toxic people, and they’ll form these toxic bubbles. You do not want to get trapped in that, nor do you want to be one of these toxic people.
What do we do about this? First of all, recognize the ideal situation. The ideal situation is to be with reality as it is. Reality is neutral, and you want to treat it as such. Treat it as neutral. Stop assigning all these labels. These labels are something your mind is creating. These are thoughts.
You’re sticking labels on stuff. You see an object, you stick a label on it. You see a person, you slap a label on them. All of a sudden, your reality is filled with these labels, and you think these labels are real. They will then start to influence your behaviour, your thought patterns, and then your feelings and mood.
Do Away With Judgement
You want zero judgement in your life. You’ve got to become very conscious of how much judgement you’re doing, and then you have to start to retrain yourself slowly to unhook from that, to stop all the judging.
The next point I wanted to make is about self-actualization and judgement. If you’ve watched my self-actualization video, which you should, it’s titled Self-Actualization, I go to a deep definition, Abraham Maslow’s definition of what a self-actualized human being is.
This is basically the greatest potential you can unleash within yourself. A self-actualized person, one of the features — there are many characteristics, but one of them is that that self-actualized person is not judging things all the time. He’s not coming at reality with a valuation mindset.
A valuation mindset is when you look at an object or a thing or a situation or a person and your relationship to it is distorted because you look at it through a selfish set of lenses. I want you to notice this. This is a bit of a freaky experience when you go out and start to notice yourself doing this. It happens unconsciously.
Notice that when you’re in a relationship with an object, or a person, or a situation, a lot of times you’re coming at it from what’s in it for me. What’s in it for me? You might be typing on your keyboard, and all of a sudden you get mad at your keyboard because it malfunctions, and your computer’s malfunctioning.
You get upset and you look at the keyboard not as an object in the world, not as part of reality, not as a marvel of human engineering or anything like that. You look at it as purely a means to accomplish something for yourself. That keyboard is the means to search something online, or to watch some video, or to write an email, or do something else.
You’re not really treating that object in its entirety. This creates a very subtle but also significant dysfunction in your life, when you start to treat objects and people just in a relationship where it’s just “What can you do for me? What is this object doing for me? What is this situation doing for me? Is it doing what I want it to do? Is it advancing my survivability? Is it advancing my happiness?”
If you come at life like this, you’re never going to be happy. You’re always going to be able to find stuff that is not doing what you want it to be doing. You’re constantly going to be dissatisfied. In fact, there’s a really deep pleasure you can get when you drop all that, when you drop all the thoughts and all the judgements and the criticism, and you just be.
You be with the object. You be with the situation, without needing anything from it. Maybe your computer is malfunctioning — take a second and just be with it, without expecting anything from it. See how that changes that situation. It can be a pretty powerful thing.
This is something you have to work towards, as you’re becoming more self-actualized, because self-actualized people are very good at this. This is where they’re driving a lot of their strength and happiness from, just being with reality, letting it be.
I want you to really start to notice that, as you’re going through life, you’re making a lot of micro judgements. Up to this point, we’ve really been talking about macro judgements. These are obvious judgements you make of people — someone cuts you off, you think he’s an asshole. Obviously you want to cut that out.
Or someone says something at work that you don’t quite like, and you judge him for it. Those are obvious things. Less obvious are the judgements you make of situations and objects. This is happening on a subconscious level almost every second of your life. Here’s an example.
You might go and decide you want to cook some dinner. You go and pull out a plate, and maybe some utensils and some silverware. Then you open your fridge, and as you’re going through that process, you’re making little judgements. You’re not just being, and you’re not just doing, but you’re analyzing and criticizing.
Maybe you pull out that plate, and you look at it and see it as something, as a utility to you. “This plate? This is too small. Let me grab that bigger plate. This plate is no good. I need a bigger plate because I’m making a big salad.” So you grab a big plate.
Now you’ve got a big plate, now you think “I need to put some stuff on this plate.” You open the fridge, and you’re looking through the fridge and you’re analyzing and judging. You might be criticizing and saying “Oh, that tomato is no good. I’m not interested in tomato right now. Damn it, I wish I’d bought some lemons. I don’t have any lemons. That’s not going to work.”
You just go through, and maybe you spot something you like. You spot some spinach, so you grab that and tell yourself “Oh, spinach, good. That’s healthy.” So you pull it out. As you’re going through doing that, you’re not really being in reality. You’re being in your own mind, your own head, going through all these thoughts and bullshit.
If you live your life like this, then you become very neurotic. You rob yourself of a lot of power. You can never be satisfied. I want you to start to notice these little judgements that you’re making.
A Moment Of Clarity
A great example of this is — have you ever been out in nature? Maybe hiking, seeing a beautiful sunset or sunrise? You were just out in nature, maybe some picturesque view, and you see the sun setting through the clouds. The sunbeams are shining through the clouds, and it’s just beautiful, it’s orange and purple.
You’re just standing there and you’re transfixed by it. You take it in and it just feels beautiful. It feels nice. It feels very peaceful and calm. You feel like you’re one with the world. You’re one with reality.
The reason that’s actually happening, and the reason that’s making you very fulfilled and content is because you’re dropping all those judgements. You might think that “Well, it’s a beautiful scene, that’s why, because of the beauty of the scene. That’s something very majestic that I rarely get to see.”
That’s not actually why you’re enjoying it so much. That makes it a little bit easier for you to drop the judgements. The reasons you’re really enjoying that situation is because the beauty of that lets you drop the needing of anything.
When you’re standing there in relationship to that sunset, you’re not trying to gauge that sunset’s value to you. You’re not trying to get anything from the sunset. You’re just there and you’re experiencing it. That experience is an end in itself. It just is, and you just are. That’s a beautiful thing, and that makes you joyful inside.
That’s what you’ve got to start to cultivate more in your day to day life. It doesn’t require a sunset or some beautiful scenery or traveling overseas to experience that. You can start to experience that right here, right now, with more mundane parts of your life. The take-home here, the exercise I’m going to give you is an exercise on mindfulness.
I actually have a video that talks about how to do proper mindfulness, it’s called Mindfulness. You might want to search for that. It’ll be a nice companion here. Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to be very mindful over the next few days, of how you’re making both big, macro judgements, and little, micro judgements.
I want you to be mindful, just conscious of it. Don’t judge yourself. Don’t try to stop yourself from making these judgements. Just notice. Notice yourself judging. What do you judge? Cars? People? Situations? Things? Yourself? What you’re doing with yourself? Start to notice that.
Examine The Relationships
Start to notice how you’re in relationship with objects, things and people, expecting something, expecting utility, putting valuations on different things, saying this is good, this is a little bit better, this is worse. Notice yourself doing that, and notice how it’s affecting you. Notice how it’s affecting the quality of your day-to-day experience.
Just notice. Don’t try to stop it. Don’t try to control it. If you do this and you stay conscious for the next few days, and you try this out, you’re going to have some realizations. You might even have an epiphany or two, as you notice yourself putting all these labels on reality. You’re going to notice just how artificial that is.
That’s not natural. That’s artificial to your neurotic mind. That’s going to be a powerful exercise which i’ll start to get you more aware of how much you’re judging things, and start to turn things around for you. Then feel free to continue using that in the future. The more mindful you are of how much you’re judging, the less are you going to be judging. That’s a really good way to start to tackle and turn this things around.
This is Leo, I’m going to be signing off. This is what I had to say about judgement. Go ahead and post me your comments down below. Leave me some feedback. Go ahead and like this, share this. Click the like button right now if you would, if you like this.
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