Sunday, November 8, 2015


I'm not sure how to begin this but I think it's a mental avenue worth trying to explain. As I go through my daily life I try to practice thoughtfulness and being non-judgmental. It's not an easy exercise, and I don't always succeed, but I make a conscious effort to try.

I want to start by drawing a correlation between two things that may seem completely separate. Most of us have embraced the notion that people should be allowed to live their lives as they choose. We support marriage equality, religious freedom, gender diversity, and alternative lifestyles.

These are all great things, even possibly a sign of an enlightened shift in our social consciousness. What concerns me though, is that we've overlooked the everyday judgements that we assign, as if those assessments are any different than the judgements that were once placed on those who fit into the above mentioned categories.

I'll use a simple example here to try make some sense of this. You're driving in your car and someone cuts you off. You have to slam on your breaks or swerve to avoid an accident. Either in your head, or possibly out loud you say something like "look at that idiot! They need to learn how to drive!"

In a matter of seconds you've accomplished a few things. You've assigned a judgement. You've made an assumption. You've created negativity for yourself, and most importantly, you've allowed your emotion to govern your thinking.

Keep in mind, I'm not saying emotions are bad. I'm not saying you should numb yourself to life, or agree with whatever another person does. The important part here is being "reactionary" instead of thoughtful.

I don't think there's anything wrong with feeling angry, but if we allow emotion to guide our reasoning, it tends to corrupt the data. Too, this whole process of feeling, thinking and acting leads to situations where rational decisions are forsaken due to the emotional overbalance.

You may be saying to yourself at this point, "There's nothing wrong with me. I'm a good person. I would never hurt someone else. Just because I get mad, or call someone stupid, that doesn't mean I'm a bad person."

I'm not here to debate good or bad. This isn't about morals or ethics. I'm just trying to illustrate how useful introspection and awareness can be. Further, I'm not ashamed to admit that societies acceptance of judgment and emotional based thinking makes me fearful for what our future might hold.

Public acts of violence have become an ever increasing trend. I'm not convinced that weapons and "violence on tv" are the only causes for such tragedies. All I can say, is that practicing being nonjudgmental has changed my life in more ways than I can count.

Since I started this journey, I've become a more compassionate person. Instead of viewing people who disagree with me, or live differently than I choose to as enemies, I am constantly reminded that they are struggling just like I am. I changed from being a nihilistic person who'd given up on things ever getting any better, and became someone who is passionate about trying to help others in whatever way I can.

The problem's that we're facing in this world are daunting. Together, we as a species might have some hope of surviving, adapting, and evolving, but being in a functional collective means letting go of our separateness and judgment.

If we as individuals, try to make a genuine effort to foster love and understanding, as opposed to judgment and cruelty, we might be able to make a small change in the microcosm. While one small change may not mean very much, thousands of small changes can be significant.

I encourage anyone who took the time to read this to challenge yourself and try to practice being nonjudgmental for a month. At the very least, test the theory and see what changes if any occur in the way you view yourself and the world.

You may find that nothing happens. you might decide that these words are nothing but the misguided ramblings of an old fool, but if you invest the effort, at least you tried. You made a decision to do something small in the hopes of making a difference.

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