Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Experiment in the Judgment-Free Zone

At a recent social gathering I said that happiness was unreasonable but that unhappiness (in all of its forms like anger, fear, guilt) always has at least one reason attached. I offered up Marilyn Monroe, Heath Ledger, Whitney Houston as dead proof that you cannot be beautiful enough to be happy. No amount of fame, talent or success will do it. Someone explained it all from her perspective, "They're just losers" she proclaimed.

I stifled a gasp and said, "I don't like to judge them." To my surprise, she responded, "I'm sorry. That was harsh. I didn't mean to be that harsh. She continued to explain how she had worked for everything she had and did not understand how they could be so stupid.

I sighed and slipped into observation mode.

For many years a good exchange of judgments took the lion's share of my conversations -- the harsher, the better. Harsh and funny topped them all. It is kind of like tossing a slightly toxic ball around. Feels great to catch it when it heads your way. What fun to toss it back with a fresh spin of meanness. What a good way to learn about what your friends and acquaintances like without having to reveal anything personal or challenge anybody.

Some of the poison rubs off though, with each toss and catch. After awhile your heart closes up. Your creative juices flow through one shallow ditch. As I relished the anger and contempt we expressed during the those judgment days, I did not see the connection between my mode of communication and the isolation I felt. It's hard to feel connected to your fellow beings when you use them for stealth target practice.

As I began to break out from the prison of my own unconscious, robot-like way of life, those conversations lost their appeal, little by little. Now when I end up in the middle of one, I feel a little sick and a little trapped. Sometimes I cannot find a true place to stand. I know it's not up to me to tell other people how to live. I don't even know if I am right or wrong. I  don't think it matters. I simply prefer to wish people well. I like to see courage. I wonder with compassion what makes outright cruelty seem like a good idea to so many of us.

If you are familiar with my work, you know that acceptance (not to be confused with resignation) is the foundation of all of it. I have pondered this issue for decades. The courage and discoveries so many people have shared with me convince me that we all do the best we can with what we know and what we believe at every moment. How exciting that it can change profoundly in the flash of a second with new insight.

I would so like to encourage everyone to break out from the prison of perpetual judgment! I am not selling  rose colored glasses here. Just looking for some fellow seekers of truth in a judgment-free zone.

Would you like to join me in an experiment? Take a One Day Break from Judgment. For one day, simply remove judgment from your thoughts and conversation. That includes judging yourself if you slip. If you notice contempt or disdain creeping in, let it go and think of something else. Catch yourself scoffing? Turn your focus to what you want in life or send out blessings instead.

I would love to know how it goes. Posting a comment here is a wonderful way to share your discoveries and insights. It inspires the rest of us.

Can't wait to hear from you!

Please share and spread the word.



Much more info at http://mandyevans.com/


  1. Thanks Mandy. I have a similar history with judgement, however in my young New York days I thought I was "oh so clever" with the snappy comebacks. With my work on discovering happy as a way of living that stuff has fallen to the side of the path (for the most part). You put is so beautifully - thanks..CECE

  2. I love this post! I have been struggling with these issues within my family. I highly recommend the book Conscious Loving. (http://www.amazon.com/Conscious-Loving-Journey-Co-Committment-ebook/dp/B002SXIF40/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1) my husband and I are reading it together and I am seeing remarkable results!

  3. Thank you for this incredible reminder! Up until two years ago, I lived in the judgement zone. Then, an incredible book called "The Gentle Art of Blessing" by Pierre Pradervant came into my life. I shifted the energy I used for judgement into blessing and it was life changing! What I have found to be true for me is that when I judge others, it acts as a toxin and keeps my stuck in a negative space and blocks all that is good from entering my life. When I judge others, it is oftentimes a reflection of something I am rejecting in my life. One of the points in the book is that it is impossible to judge and bless at the same time. There are many beautiful videos on "The Gentle Art of Blessing" on Youtube. Enjoy and allow the transformative power of blessing enter your life.

  4. During my Morning Contemplation today I heard, "Just Love them, don't judge them."
    And my heart just broke wide open...

    "I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you."

    Let us forgive others and let us forgive ourselves for our judging and criticism, whether accurate or misjudgment. Whatever we experience is a perception anyway and far too often a misperception at best.

    We only hurt ourselves and make ourselves look small when we judge or take things personally.

    Wai Ali'i,

    Jimmy Piver

  5. Thanks for your insights and recommendations. I love seeing different perspectives here.


Your thoughts, insights, news, and questions are welcome!