By Suma Varughese
Dropping judgements enables you to receive the other wholly, says Suma Varughese
Although I would not call myself unduly judgemental, the judging mind has always passed a commentary on everyone and everything, dividing people and events into either what pleased me or what displeased me.It is an absolute exercise in humility to watch yourself evaluate, dismiss or endorse as if you yourself were a paragon of perfection. Though, of course, as therapists tell us, those we dismiss are only our mirror, showing us what we reject in ourselves. Thus, the less perfect we imagine ourselves to be, the more picky and judgemental we become of others.I was uncomfortable around people who violated certain value codes I held dear. I never could figure out how to accept them without at the same time endorsing their values.One of the values that I hold dear is fidelity in marriage. And I am uncomfortable around those who break this trust. Recently though, a young woman showed up for a healing session. This is not something I do often, only sometimes at the request of a friend. Her problem, I discovered, was adultery. She had twice had longstanding relationships while being married.
“I found it hard to be myself around people I experienced as boastful, aggressive or pretentious”
The second of them had just collapsed and she was completely distraught. At first, I could feel myself constrict at the mention of her extra marital relationships. But a wonderful thought broke through and released me of it. How on earth is this person going to heal if I cannot accept her? I thought to myself.Instantly, I was freed of the constriction, and was able to interact freely and compassionately with the woman.Recently, the same logic came to my help in dealing with people I had always labelled difficult. I found it hard to be myself around people I experienced as boastful, aggressive or pretentious. I would experience a loss of energy around them, and feel constrained and restrained. Recently, I found myself spending time with some of them. As usual the judgements came up but this time, I used the same reasoning as I had with my client. If I did not accept them, how would they ever heal ? The judgements dropped and I was able to be entirely myself with them. Even though they might never be my best friends because of their very different nature, it was possible for me to be affable and friendly and enjoy myself with them, without feeling either hypocritical or resistant. That is when I realised that my loss of energy was because of my judgements, not because of who they were.Quite recently, we had a family lunch. One of my relatives was acting a little testy, forbidding me from doing anything in her kitchen because she was afraid I would mess it up. I would normally have reacted to such an attitude with hurt and anger. I would have felt judged and I would have picked a fight. This time, though, there was no anger, no hurt. I kept myself out of her way and finally asked her non-reactively why she was being so hyper. She admitted she was irritated about something, and the moment passed.These recent experiences are enabling me to feel that the barriers between myself and the other are becoming more transparent, more flexible, and easier to set aside. At long last, the possibility of being on the same page as the other consistently, instead of only when they pleased me, is dawning. And with it the capacity to receive the whole person, including the flaws, without flinching.
About the author : Suma Varughese is a thinker, writer, and Editor-in-Chief of Life Positive. She also holds writer’s workshops. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org”
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