Saturday, September 18, 2010

Continued from yesterday:  another thing about judgment that fascinates me is how insidious it is and how subtly our judgments form.  This week I've been listening to the book Body Surf by Anita Shreve.  It's a fine book - nothing special, but nice to listen to while driving around doing errands, etc.  In it she is describing what a woman is wearing - I won't get the quote just right, but Shreve writes something like, "She was wearing a very unfortunate choice for a 60-year-old - a sleeveless white top which lets her arms show."  What do I get from that?  The fear that when I'm 60 I shouldn't wear a sleeveless white top which shows my arms or else someone will judge me.

And then what?

What happens to the judgments?

Do they harm me?  Even if I don't know about them?  Or do they harm the person having them?

What happens to them?  Are they in the ether?

What do they say about the judge?  Why do we judge others? 

I'm really thankful that I didn't grow up with all sorts of strictures about what I was supposed to or not supposed to wear.  I guess I knew you're not supposed to wear white pants after Labor Day - or perhaps I learned that after I left home.  But I'm left wondering why not?  Is there a white pants police?  What will happen if I do?  Why does it matter?  Who really cares?  And WHY?

I know judgement hurts when it lands on me.  I don't like it when someone I care about judges me or something I've done or a choice I've made.  I try very hard to be thoughtful and careful in my choices, so when someone judges them, it sometimes challenges me.  I usually feel sad or wrong or bad.  It takes a while to rebound and to remember that my choice was thoughtfully made, and I feel sorry that the other person doesn't like it.  It usually causes a rift between me and the judge.

Likewise when I judge someone else.  There is then a rift between us because I'm holding my judgment between us, whether I've been indiscrete enough to share it or not.  I'm still thinking it and wanting  him/her to be different than he/she is.

What I often find if I take the time to reflect, is that something the other person has done has triggered something in me that I'm uncomfortable with.  For example, if I judge someone for being overweight - I don't have to look very far to find the cause of that - I'm afraid of being overweight. 

What are your thoughts about judgment?  Do you catch yourself being judgmental sometimes? Any thoughts you'd be willing to share about it?

I'm looking for some good books to read about this topic and would be grateful for suggestions if you have any.  Thanks!

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