I am reading the book ‘Loving what is; four questions that can change your life’ by Byron Katie with Stephen Mitchell. I’m familiar with Byron’s work and I love the described sessions with clients. In one of those sessions I came across a statement of hers that really made me think. The session is about a misunderstood, idealistic teenage boy. He’s angry and confused and saddened by his family judging him. He wants his family to be who they are and not limit their love and attention according to their perception and idea of his progress. He wants them to accept him as he learns his own truth in this life and love him for having found parts of his own truth and foundation.
Here’s what Byron Katie states: “… And not only is it the job of a parent, but it’s the job of everyone in this world to judge. That’s our job. What else is there? Everything’s a judgement. Give me a thought that’s not a judgement. “It’s a sky” – that’s a judgement. That’s what we do. “Parents shouldn’t judge their children” – is that true? What’s the reality of it? Do they?
… Yes, that’s their job. How do you react when you think the thought “My parents aren’t supposed to judge me”? … How do you react when you think that thought? It weakens you. What else? … How do you treat your parents when you believe the thought “I want you to stop judging me,” and they keep judging you?
… This is an insane belief. People should stop judging people? What planet do you think you’re on? Make yourself at home here. When you come to planet Earth, you judge us and we judge you. That’s it. It’s a nice planet to live on, once you get the ground rules straight. But this theory of yours is in direct opposition to what’s really happening. It’s crazy! Who would you be without the thought? Who would you be if you didn’t have the ability to think such a crazy thought, “I want my parents to stop judging me”?
[Client answers: I would have inner peace.] Yes. It’s called playing with a full deck. This is the end of the war inside you. I’m a lover of reality. How do I know I’m better off with what is? It’s what is. Parents do judge, that’s it. You’ve had a lifetime of proof to know that this is true. So honey, turn it around. Let’s see what’s possible. Let’s see what does work.
[Client: I’m confused and saddened by me because I judge myself. I’m confused and saddened by me because I judge my parents and my family.] When you stop doing what you want them to stop doing, then you can talk to them. It may take a while. …
[Client: Well, they limit their love and attention according to…] Yes, that’s their job too. They are your family and they limit and they judge. Sweetheart, this philosophy of yours is very stressful. Give me one stress-free reason to keep this philosophy that is so off the wall. I mean, we’re talking ‘nuts’. … Who would you be in the presence of your family without this thought? Who would you be without the ability to think this thought that opposes reality? …
It’s an interesting statement, don’t you think? That it’s reality that everyone in this world judges. If I think about it, it’s true. I do it and you do it too. I read someone online stated: “Judgement keeps us all in line with societal standards – and helps us challenge standards that need to change. Keep it in long enough and you might do something crazy, like sharing your judgement passive aggressively. Embrace your judgements. Assume everyone else judges everyone else (because they do). Then share. Share your observations and opinions with their object. Listen as they explain their behaviour – or confess to oblivion. Ask others to share their judgements of you. Listen with an open heart and mind. It might hurt, but that is part of the process. This exercise will liberate your shame for thinking poorly of other people who you may care about. Sharing also brings you closer to the other person – because you are revealing the truth. Truth opens up space for vulnerability and forgiveness – of each other and yourself. Everyone is liberated. And all of this creates space for empathy.”
Also an interesting statement. What feeling does a judgement about someone else give you in your body? A knot in your stomach, pain in your tummy or a tense feeling in your upper body? That’s not pleasant to walk around with. And if you can’t find a stress-free reason to continue the judgement thought that is causing this feeling, why would you keep the thought? It’s only you that can drop the thought or change it into something that makes you feel happier, more joyful and with inner peace. And that’s what we’re all looking for, right?
So, you can choose to drop the judgemental thought or share your thought with the person you’re judging. I think it would be a great world if we share our opinions in a respectful way, so without emotions as anger. Stay with yourself when you say it out loud. Maybe it helps you to say it as a fact, business like. It will help you to unknot your stomach, to release your tenseness or the aching tummy feeling. It helps you and the other person, because you are revealing the truth. And truth opens up space for vulnerability and forgiveness — of each other and yourself. Everyone is liberated. And all of this creates space for empathy and love.
If you judge people, you have no time to love them.