When We Accept Others, We Accept Ourselves
“I used to think that, if I forgave people, they would be of some cosmic hook, never to be called to account for their actions. Later I learned that if I didn’t forgive, I was the one hooked, while others went their merry way.” Science of Mind Melody Beattie said in, Journey to the Heart, “ I used to spend a lot of time judging other people. I used to think the world was divided into right and wrong; I thought judging others would help me stay clear on the difference; I thought judging was my job. Now I’ve learned something new about judgments and about myself. Judging others is what I do when I fell afraid, insecure, and limited.
Judging others is something I do when I am afraid to love, when I can’t accept love because I can’t accept myself. And most important, I’ve learned that judging others is not my job. When I judge others, I judge myself. Judgments come from the head. Freedom and love come from the heart. Transcending judgments will set you free. Learn to look at yourself in love – who you are, where you are, where you’ve been. Learn to look at others with love, too. When we accept others with freedom and love, we accept ourselves. Transcend your judgments & you’ll be free.”
Last year I attended an Alternatives to Violence Program weekend workshop. There were 16 people in attendance. On Friday one of the facilitators laid out some parameters for the weekend. Don’t interrupt whoever is speaking, raise your hand to be called on, if some one says something you believe is really helpful, raise your hands above your head and wave your fingers, and if some one says something you believe to be hurtful, say “ouch.”
All went well until mid morning on Sunday. We were discussing being understanding of others and I started to tell them my experience with “Allowing” rather than judging. My example was that one day I turned on TV and there was Jerry Springer advertising his show. My reaction was strong and negative. Then I remembered to “allow.” I thought: Jerry Springer is doing what he wants to do, the people on his show are there because they want to be, the audience and people at home are watching it and enjoying it and Jerry is making heaps of money…
Just then the woman sitting next to me stood up and screamed, “OUCH!” She started screaming at me that Jerry Springer exploits people and he shouldn’t be allowed to make millions of dollars exploiting people. She went on and on for a couple of minutes. She was judge and jury for Jerry Springer.
I was perfectly calm and present while she was screaming. Not only had I allowed Jerry to be who he was, I allowed this angry woman to be who she was too. After she finally calmed down, the facilitator brought us back to the discussion. I finished what I had started to say, that if I judged Jerry Springer as bad, it wouldn’t make one bit of difference in his life or the lives of his participants and viewers. My judgment and anger would only hurt me. I could “not agree” with him and decide to do something constructive about changing what he does, if I wanted to, but anger and upset wouldn’t be an effective way to do that.
After lunch the woman who screamed at me asked me if we could talk. We stepped into a room where it was quiet. I started to hug her but she jumped back and said, she wasn’t ready for that. She said, “I want to do that thing you said yesterday, where you look into each other’s eyes.” (I told them about the first time I had realized I was as loveable as everybody else on the planet. It was an exercise we did at the Option Institute. We walked slowly around the room with soft music playing. Then the facilitator had us stop in front of some one and look them in the eyes and love them. Then we went on to another person and did this four or five times, with different partners.
So she took my hands in hers and we just gazed into each other’s eyes. I stood loved her and loved her. After a few minutes she was done and we went on back to class. She didn’t say anything about how she felt so I didn’t know.
At the end of the day, we each had a large sheet of paper with out name on it and each class member wrote us a personal note on our paper. This woman’s note said, “WOW, what an amazingly surprising gift you gave me today. I could feel the light in your eyes and the warmth in your heart.” All because I loved her instead of judging her.
Being non-judgmental is powerful, not passive. Judgments are beliefs of good, bad, right, and wrong that we use to place value on ourselves, others and events around us. We don’t have to use judgments in order to have preferences and go for what we want in our lives. We can still want the electricity to come back on when the power goes out, or our children to keep themselves safe. Letting go of judgments makes us far more effective in clearly understanding, reinforcing and communicating our wants. No matter how upset we get, the power will come back on whenever it does. Our anger just makes us and those around us uncomfortable.
The woman’s judgment in the AVP Workshop was about her, not about me or Jerry Springer. Just about her beliefs. We are the belief makers!
When we judge others we are in essence putting them in charge of our happiness. We don’t “not judge” to be more moral. We do it because it works better!
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Life Options Coach, Counselor, Teacher
Jackie helps individuals take control of their lives. She is the author of Kathy Said, You’re Not Lost to Me, a self-help book for people struggling with anxiety and depression. With a new powerful approach to our lifelong beliefs, plus a modality called Life Options Dialogues, she helps people uncover the beliefs that are keeping them stuck in unwanted feelings and behaviors, like stress, anxiety, and depression.